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Capt. Gus: Trolling motors are good tools

An electric trolling motor is a ěmust haveî item for bass, striper and crappie anglers who cast to shorelines or slow troll live baits in area lakes.
In recent years, trolling motors have also gained popularity with saltwater anglers who previously stalked the shallow marshes for reds and trout with push poles.
For optimum maneuverability, the electric motor on bass and striper boats is mounted on the bow. Stern mounts are typically used on small aluminum boats.
The foot operated motor is popular with bass fishermen since it frees both hands for casting, retrieving and fighting the fish. Striper fishermen use a bow mounted motor, but prefer a handheld digital controller.
Before buying a new trolling motor, consider the following options:
Bow or stern mount ó Trolling motors maneuver best when pulling, not pushing. Therefore, bow mounts are the most popular.
Manual, foot or remote control ó Manual motors are less expensive, but foot or digital controlled operation makes fishing easier. Anglers who spend most of the time casting to docks, rocks and other above water obstructions prefer foot controls. Those who slow troll live baits prefer the digital remote controllers.
Shaft length ó Motor shafts range in lengths from 36 inches to 60 inches. For a proper fit, measure the distance from the deck mount to the waterís surface and add 24 inches. This measurement determines the depth the propeller should be below the surface. A 42-inch or 48-inch shaft is adequate for most applications. When in doubt, longer is better.
12 or 24 volt ó Higher voltage means more power (thrust). A twelve-volt (one battery) motor performs best on boats up to 18í in length, while twenty-four and thirty-six volt (two or three batteries), provide the power needed to propel a vessel up to 25í in length.
Thrust ó Electric motors are rated by pounds of thrust. An electric motor rated for 75 pounds of thrust is the equivalent to a one-horsepower gas operated outboard engine. Twelve-volt motors can provide thrusts to 55 pounds, while the more powerful 24 and 36 volt units can produce upwards of 115 pounds of thrust.
Gadgets ó Todayís state of the art remote controlled motors have the ability to run compass or pre-determined GPS courses at a set speed regardless of wind or current conditions.
Probably the most popular feature for deep-water anglers is the motorís ability to stay within five feet of a predetermined spot. When the anchor feature is deployed, the angler is free to fish or move about the boat without having to tend to the motor.
This feature is an advantage when fishing over humps, brush piles, schools of fish or just wanting to hold the boat into the wind or current.
Pricing ó Trolling motors range in price from less than $100 to well over $1,000, depending on quality, size and features.
Upcoming Events:
Free seminar ó ěHow to Safely Navigate Lake Norman Using Sonar and GPS.î
Join me at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 19 at North Point Watersports, 112 Doolie Road, Mooresville, and learn the ěBasics of Sonar and GPS.î Bring your questions and instruction books to this new and informative ninety minute boating safety session. Call 704-799-1994 for more information
Free seminar ó ěHow to Catch Fish Using Sonar and GPS.î
Jake Bussolini and I will conduct this all new Sonar/GPS seminar at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 27 at Gander Mountain, Exit 36, in Mooresville. Bring your questions and instruction books to the 90-minute seminar. For additional information, call 704 658 0822.
The Hot Spots of the week: Watch for stripers under diving birds up river and in Stumpy and Reed Creeks. Limits of spotted bass are being caught off deep brush, near boat docks and along the edges of major creek channels. Bank fishermen are catching surface feeding bass and stripers in the hot holes. The surface water temperature is in the 40s and the lake level is about 3.1 feet below full pond.
Captain Gus Gustafson is licensed by the US Coast Guard, a member of the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association and is a Professional Sport Fishing Guide on Lake Norman, NC. Visit his website at http://www.fishingwithgus.com, e-mail him at Gus@lakenorman.com or call 704-617-6812.

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