Brand new for 2020 this is my runner-up pick for best bow mount freshwater trolling motors. It was one of ICAST 2019’s most anticipated products from Lowrance, it’s the Ghost. If you use their chartplotters you will love this trolling motor. The Ghost pairs with both HDS12 or HDS Live units from Lowrance. I was lucky enough that before the pandemic I got to try this insane trolling motor on a buddy’s Phoenix 921 Pro XP.
For ultimate versatility, the Lowrance Ghost introduces a hybrid battery power setup. It’s uses a selectable toggle on the foot pedal to switch from 24 volt to 36 volt power supply. This is such a great feature for boat owners who plan to upgrade from a 19 foot to 21+ foot boat. No longer do you need to buy a bigger trolling motor, the Ghost is future proof.
The thrust ratings the Ghost are equally impressive. Delivering 97 pounds of thrust at 24 volts and 120 pounds of thrust at 36 volts. It tops every other trolling motor in this article at 36 volts, too bad it only comes in a 47 inch shaft length.
This motor is already installed, so I can’t speak to the installation process. I’m told it was a breeze as the entire unit only weighs 65 pounds. Plus it has double drilled mounting holes which fit the same bolt pattern as the Xi5, Fortrex or Ultrex.
Let’s move on to the actual trolling motor, it’s a built to beast-like standards. Down at the bottom is a typical 2 blade propeller with slight curved tips attached to the lower motor unit. It’s inside the motor unit, where Lowrance gains a big advantage over Minn Kota and MotorGuide. Inside is a brush-less motor and it’s one of the first trolling motors to receive this technology.
Lowrance Brushless DC Motor
I’m not going to explain the difference of brushed vs brushless motors, as it’s a complicated topic. What’s important to understand is this type of motor is a big step up from a traditional brushed motor. Brushless provides more efficiency, more thrust with less maintenance and less degrading parts.
On the water this trolling motor is simply silent, you can hear a pin drop when its running. In fact, it’s 7 decibels quieter than brush motors. When running it on the “5” setting for speed there is no discernible water noise or motor noise. Which is a spectacular for using it in shallow water ways. Next, I got the boat (loaded with gear plus two people) up to 3.7 miles per hour at full speed (10 on the dial). That’s pretty impressive as at full power its 40% more efficient than competitors.
To power the motor, you can us lead acid, AGM, or Lithium deep cycle marine batteries. I like to think of this type of motor like a smart battery charger. If the motor senses excess volt readings, it will shut down, preventing overheating.
At the other end of the lower motor unit is the nose cone. Inside is a built-in “HDI” transducer. Which provides 2D Lowrance CHIRP sonar and DownScan Imaging. Combining brushless with this transducer eliminates sonar interference and gives super clear imaging. I also appreciate that the nose cone is replaceable via simple Allen keys and grease. Meaning no more having to send the motor to a shop if the transducer gets damaged!
Shaft & Above The Water
Moving on to the shaft, its composite but as of now you only get a 47 inch shaft length option. The best part of the shaft is it rotates in the middle section, so actual steering is under the water surface. Plus it has a mechanical 360 degree breakaway “knuckle” to take the brunt of hits from structures. Bass fishermen no longer have to worry about breaking the shaft. Another small feature I like is the shaft depth tension knob, it’s large and easy to grip. Other motors use small knobs that are a pain to twist when your hands are wet.
With the upper head unit not rotating, it further reduces noise above the water. The only time it moves is when you lift it out of the water, to allow the head to auto right itself for stowing. To show directions there is a magnetic LED arrow indicator on top. Inside the head is a stepper motor that controls the steering of the shaft.
The full aluminum mount unit is flat which is nice if you like to step to the edge of the bow for bed fishing. Inside the mount is a heavy-duty gas assist spring with built in stabilizer bar. This assists you on lift for stow and slows the pivot action for deploy. Which ensures smooth entry into the water, helping to avoid spooking any nearby fish.
Digital Steering Control
Another nuisance reducing feature is the cable management. The Ghost controls steering by a fly-by-wire control system via a single NMEA cable. This makes a hug difference as it eliminates the typical cables that bundle around the head unit.
Tethered to the fly-by-wire system is the foot control pedal, which is the only control for now. As the pedal moves so do the buttons, which means no more accidental slips of the foot off the side hitting buttons. Tension feels like a cable steer which I know anglers will love. For buttons there are 3 programmable Bluetooth buttons and an anchor lock. On the right side there is a large speed rotary speed dial from 0-10.
Then up top is a cool feature, the on/off switch is flippable! So if you prefer to tab the right side of the pedal instead of left, unscrew a tab and flip the button.
Why Not Top Choice For Bow Mount Freshwater Trolling Motors?
I can’t give the Lowrance top spot due to the lack of models on the market. It’s too new, and we all know new products need time to work out the “kinks”. The only slight problems I had is unlike cable steer the foot pedal is super responsive. The obvious solution is that I need more time to get use to it.
Also, the propeller that’s included is a flimsy and the blade surface is small. Instead, I’d replace it with a weedless wedge from Minn Kota. Last but certainly not least, the cost, it’s about 3 thousand dollars! But for the cost you get a beast of a trolling motor.
Bottom line, if you own Lowrance electronics, are serious about bass fishing and willing to pay a cost; buy a Ghost. Just do yourself a favor, replace the propeller. Finally, be ready for a bit of a learning curve with the foot pedal.