Advice for adding a motor to a pontoon?

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by ral, Nov 20, 2007.

  1. I am planning to add an electric motor to my pontoon boat. Adapting the boat to accept the motor seems straightforward enough. I read the previous posts on the subject but I know a lot of you have done this already. Does anyone have any good advice / bad experience they would like to share?
  2. I put one on my pontoon boat, but I had problems steering it because it sits directly behind me and too close. I ended up just locking it into a straight line and then used my right paddle like a rutter to steer. That made it work pretty well. If I was going to do more motor use I would move my seat a bit off center and extend the motor mount back a bit to make it more comfortable. Plus like a short trailer behind a short wheel base vehicle it is very touchy and difficult to make go straight. Good luck.
  3. definitely a swivel seat. works great. You can buy the swivel cheap and add pretty easy.
  4. Typically I use my motor in reverse and use flippers to steer. The motor mount on my toon is offset so I can reach it and steer with little to no effort.
  5. Does the offset motor mount require you to be always steering to keep the boat from turnign in a circle? I have heard that steering with the flippers is easy once you get used to it.
  6. I've got this boat which has a mount in the center. Picture shows guy obviously with a swivel seat because mine won't face this way. It's like a little fold up chair with webbing. He looks like he's in the Seafair race.
  7. steering with an oar as craig described is a great method. you can also go in reverse and easily steer with fins. i usually do this at very slow speeds when i'm actually fishing instead of just traveling. when trying to use the motor itself to steer it is very hard to go in a straight line but very easy with the oar method. just takes a few minutes practice. some motor mounts for pontoons require a long shaft motor. on my larger toon even with the shaft fully extended the prop is only 3 inches or so under the water (good thing i'm fat) check your toon and then check out the shaft length of the motor you are considering.
  8. For me the offset makes it easier to reach and steer using the motor. I also agree with Tony, if I'm moving I'm fishing.
  9. I appreciate the advice. I intend to keep it slow - no wake. My knees are starting to complain and I want to keep fishing. It is hard to row and fish at the same time. You miss too many strikes.
  10. I was watching a science program tonight about robot building in Japan. I wondered why it is that kids over there can master switches, servos and sensors to make robots do incredible things. And here we can't get a simple primitive electric motor to operate plus or minus in the X axis only while controlling the speed and direction of rotation. A remote motor rather than one on a stalk that is built for a boat transom seems the most logical with a simple pulley and cable system to turn the motor. Hell, the Wright Brothers mastered such a setup a hundred years ago.

    It seems that a good mechanical engineer working on a CAD system and a EE for the electrical part could knock out a decent design in about a week and cobble up a prototype within a month. In their spare time. Didn't they design, build and fly the P-51 in just a matter of months in WWII? Using pencils.

    At any rate their has to be a better way to power a pontoon boat than a trolling motor built for a hard boat. I think it might be time for a new pontoon concept. In much the same way as the engine becomes the primary structural component in the modern motorcycle perhaps pontoon frames should be built to incorporate a simple drive motor with controls built into the frame. If the boat was designed from the first stroke to be powered rather than have a clumsy motor added later the design could be integrated resulting in a smooth product. Once manufacturers figure out that they can sell a ton of $2000 pontoon boats to aging boomers this will all happen quite quickly.

    Remember-you heard it here first. Ive
  11. The basics of the design you want are really quite simple. All you need is a sealed electric trolling motor head and as you say a few pulleys for a rudder mounted begin the motor. The difficulty is getting the sealed motor cheaply enough to make it viable. If Minn Kota or some other motor company realized the market was there, they might just do it. Meanwhile i willfind a way to mount a reguar trolling motor.
  12. i fished near two old guys in BC a few years back. they both had the motor locked in a straight forward position and steered with an oar. Both had kill switches mounted on the pontoon frame so they could stop and start the motor without turning around. They were discussing, though I could not hear all they said, figuring out how to change speeds. however I never saw them change speeds except when it was time to pack it in and they wanted to speed up. Does not seem like it would be too hard to remove the controls from the shaft and extend the wires so the controls could be mounted whereever you wanted. Steering is really a non issue once you try using the oar.
    Moving in reverse is really much more conducive to actual fishing and you can use the fins to steer and to slow down even more.

    ral, when you are rowing make sure your rod tip is pointed straight back and as close to the water as possible. tighten the drag a bit and you will miss very few strikes. you want very little give in the rod/line if you want a fish to hook itself. i just hook the reel under the stripping apron or in a gear bag so the rod can't be pulled out toward the fish and can't fall out the other way because of the line being out in the water.
  13. IMHO the best advice is to not add a trolling motor at all !! My guess is you will find it a pain in rear and not worth the effort to pack and mount for what you get. Steering seems to be a major issue and the extra weight. Arm power and exercise is my mode. If you choose to add the motor, hopefully it works out and you enjoy it !!!
  14. For someone interested in adding an electric motor, I have a custom made mount and battery holder, will accept 7'x5" battery. Well made and powder coated, new condition with mounting brackets. Will retrofit to most 'toons, offered for cost of postage or pick up if convenient. Nice looking unit which probably cost $50. or more. I aquired it with another pontoon, never been used. If interested drop an e-mail for photo.
  15. really depends on where you're fishing as far as whether the weight is worth it. I don't use mine all the time by any means, but it definitely opens up lakes and areas of lakes i would not row to, just like rowing opens up places i would never kick to in a float tube. I use my motor almost exclusively for traveling, not fishing. and, like i said, once you try steering with an oar it's a piece of cake. one of my toons has a standing platform and the weight of the battery in the rear really makes it much more balanced and comfortable to fish from, heck sometimes i throw on the battery even without the motor just for that reason (cooler works good too). I've found an endura 28 to be pretty good for my 9' pontoon, goes fast enough and has plenty of reverse and forward speeds.
  16. I've been fishing with a Minn Kota on my 9' boat for a couple years now. I usually leave the oars at home. Here's the best thing to do, IMO:
    -- swivel the motor 180 degrees from the controls, so that "forward" makes you actually go in reverse. You get a lot more power this way while utilizing less battery juice.
    -- my motor mount is offset (not in the center), which is fine. Yes I have to turn around here and there but it's not big deal. I just turn it on and drag a foot (with fin) to steer. Really easy to get used to.
    -- keeping my right hand on my rod handle and my left hand on the line allows me to feel every little nibble and quickly set the hook. When I catch a fish, often I'll reach around real quick and turn off the motor but that's not really necessary.

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