Minn Kota Power Drive V2 55lb Thrust i-Pilot
Bow Mount Motor
This 55lb thrust electric motor is the biggest bow mount motor you can get while still only using 12 volts to run it. It has proved to be invaluable and a real game changer.
There are a lot of words that come to mind when I try to describe the Minn Kota Power Drive v2 55lb thrust with i-pilot. Words like: invaluable. Game changing.
This beauty will run you around $2000, which seems like a lot of money to spend on an electric trolling motor. But I'm here to tell you that it's worth every penny.
I have dreamed about this motor for months and kept thinking about the motor's ability to drive itself every time I lost a fish because I was too busy keeping the boat straight in the wind. After scouring several websites and making many phone calls, I found the best deal at Dockside Marine Centre in Kelowna and drove out to pick it up.
uses 12 volts
literally drives itself
ability to anchor
easy to use
doesn't come with a quick release mounting bracket
doesn't come with the required circuit breaker
I'm going to be honest: my first impression as I pulled it out of the box was that for this price point, it should come with a quick release mounting plate and the required wiring for installation. It comes with only the necessary nuts, bolts and washers to mount the unit, but no mounting plate for easy removal, and no plug, receptacle and circuit breaker for the wiring installation.
Don't get me wrong- it's use-able as is, but the motor would be permanently mounted to the front of your boat. I don't think this is ideal for a few reasons, including issues like theft if your boat is parked outside or issues with fitting the tarp over the boat to protect it from rain. I also had hopes of using it on more than one boat. So I was off to Amazon to purchase a quick release bracket for about $100 to make the unit portable.
Once I acquired all of the pieces to mount and wire the motor, the install on my 18' Legend took about three hours. It took another two hours to wire up and mount another quick-release plate on my 10 foot aluminum. I found the installation process to be fairly self-explanatory, and if you're pretty handy with tools you probably won't run into any challenges. You could also get it professionally installed, but I haven't priced that out.
Finally, I was able to test it out.
Out on the water I found the unit very easy to deploy and stow away. The motor is very quiet and smooth. Everything is controlled by an easy to use remote, so you can sit back in your chair and relax. I was also extremely impressed at the motor's ability to self-steer and stay on whatever speed I chose. You can adjust the speed in 0.1 mph increments which lets you stay dialed in on the perfect trolling speed, automatically. Now I can focus my attention on my rods and downrigger depths without worrying about the boat blowing sideways.
My favourite feature is anchor mode, which is also called spot lock. With the push of a button the boat will remain almost stationary thanks to the Minn Kota's self-correcting movements to stay on a GPS coordinate. The first time I tested this out I was shocked at how well it works. The spot lock really does keep the bow of the boat zeroed in where you want to be, although your boat might pivot around it somewhat, especially in winds or currents.
This motor also has the ability to record and retrace the course you want to take. The i-Pilot system can store up to 16 "iTracks", each up to 2 miles long. This lets you chart your favourite course out on the water and make the same trip every time.
One reason I decided on this particular motor is because it's the biggest you can get while still running off 12 volts. Any bigger and you go to 24 or 36 volts which would require two or three 12 volt deep cycle batteries running in series. Most days the 55lb thrust bow mount is powerful enough to keep my 18' Legend trolling along at 1.3 mph running at about 2/3 throttle. However I have found that I need a little help from my gas kicker when I'm trolling against the wind at 1.3 mph and the wind gets up to around 20 km/h. The right option for my boat would have probably been 80lbs thrust or better at a cost of $4000+, and then I would have lost space in my boat due to the additional deep cycle batteries. That being said, the 55lb thrust still works quite good and I'm happy with my decision, and I no longer feel as bad about having to pay more to get the extra parts I needed for the installation. It still would have been nice if the parts came with it even if it cost a little more.
The motor also comes with a two year warranty.
For more reviews on fishing gear and accessories check out Chrome Catchers product reviews.