Best Bow Mount Saltwater Trolling Motors (2020 Reviews)

You are here because you have a boat with available space on your bow to mount a trolling motor. The boat is for saltwater use and you want ultimate control to reach the best spots for angling or other uses. But trying to pick the best bow mount saltwater trolling motors can be overwhelming. Due to the amount of models, sizes, thrust ratings plus high-tech features.

How-To Pick A Saltwater Bow Mount Trolling Motor

Beyond bow mounted and choosing either hand steer or electric steer you have some choices to help pick a trolling motor for saltwater. Below are 4 factors to decide which bow mount trolling motor will match your boat.

  • Thrust – Measured in pounds of thrust. This is the power the motor uses to propel a boat through the water. The amount needed depends on the weight and length of your boat. 
  • Shaft Length – Measured from the top of the bow to the waterline plus 18 inches for rough waters.
  • Battery Power – Either 12, 24 or 36 volts systems via deep-cycle batteries wired in series. 12 volts for small boats and short running times. 24 or 36 volts for medium/large boats wanting long-running times.
  • Corrosion Resistant – Look for materials that are marine-grade, rust-proof, like stainless steel, aluminum, or zinc made to high standards.

To make your reading easy, I wrote this article in two sections. First, there is a tabbed section of comparison tables of all the models covered. Second are single detailed reviews of each trolling motor. Plus, you can click to a specific product or section via the table of contents. Or read the entire article to get a complete idea about which saltwater trolling motor is best for you.

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Table of Contents

Comparison Chart

Preview
Editor's Choice
MotorGuide 941700170 Xi5-105SW 72-Inch Wireless Trolling Motor - Saltwater, GPS, 105-Pound Peak Thrust, 72-Inch Shaft, White
Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra Saltwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motor with 72-Inch Shaft and i-Pilot GPS (36-Volt, 112-Pound)
Budget Friendly
Newport Vessels Pontoon-Series 86lb Thrust Saltwater Electric Pontoon Trolling Motor with Deck Mount Bracket & 55" Shaft
Product Name
Motor Guide Xi5 (72) SW
Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra
Newport Vessels Pontoon Series
Verdict
Best Bow Mount For Large V-Hulls Using Lowrance/Simrad Electronics
Popular Pick For Big Bass Boats With Hummingbird Electronics
Low Cost, Capable Motor For Pontoon Boats
Peak Thrust (Pounds)
105 lbs
112 lbs
86 lbs
Shaft Length (Inches)
72
60
55
Motor Voltage
36V
36V
24V
Maximum Amperage Draw
41 Amps
56A
48A
Shaft Material
Composite
Composite
Fiberglass Composite
Propeller Type
3 Blade Machete III Glass-Filled
Weedless Wedge™ 2 Blade Prop
Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon 3 Blade Prop
Variable Or Fixed Speed
Variable Speed
Variable Speed
Fixed Speed
Steering Control Type(s)
Wireless Handheld
i-Pilot® Handheld Remote
Tilting & Extendable Handheld Tiller
Weight (Pounds)
48.5
67.70 lbs
27 lbs
Dimensions L x W x H (Inches)
64 x 19 x 11
74 x 14 x 10
71 x 21.8 x 6
Battery Cable Lengths (Inches)
60
60
66
Pivot & Fold
GPS Included
Warranty
2 Years
2 Years
2 Years Limited
Editor's Choice
Preview
MotorGuide 941700170 Xi5-105SW 72-Inch Wireless Trolling Motor - Saltwater, GPS, 105-Pound Peak Thrust, 72-Inch Shaft, White
Product Name
Motor Guide Xi5 (72) SW
Verdict
Best Bow Mount For Large V-Hulls Using Lowrance/Simrad Electronics
Peak Thrust (Pounds)
105 lbs
Shaft Length (Inches)
72
Motor Voltage
36V
Maximum Amperage Draw
41 Amps
Shaft Material
Composite
Propeller Type
3 Blade Machete III Glass-Filled
Variable Or Fixed Speed
Variable Speed
Steering Control Type(s)
Wireless Handheld
Weight (Pounds)
48.5
Dimensions L x W x H (Inches)
64 x 19 x 11
Battery Cable Lengths (Inches)
60
Pivot & Fold
GPS Included
Warranty
2 Years
Preview
Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra Saltwater Bow-Mount Trolling Motor with 72-Inch Shaft and i-Pilot GPS (36-Volt, 112-Pound)
Product Name
Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra
Verdict
Popular Pick For Big Bass Boats With Hummingbird Electronics
Peak Thrust (Pounds)
112 lbs
Shaft Length (Inches)
60
Motor Voltage
36V
Maximum Amperage Draw
56A
Shaft Material
Composite
Propeller Type
Weedless Wedge™ 2 Blade Prop
Variable Or Fixed Speed
Variable Speed
Steering Control Type(s)
i-Pilot® Handheld Remote
Weight (Pounds)
67.70 lbs
Dimensions L x W x H (Inches)
74 x 14 x 10
Battery Cable Lengths (Inches)
60
Pivot & Fold
GPS Included
Warranty
2 Years
Budget Friendly
Preview
Newport Vessels Pontoon-Series 86lb Thrust Saltwater Electric Pontoon Trolling Motor with Deck Mount Bracket & 55" Shaft
Product Name
Newport Vessels Pontoon Series
Verdict
Low Cost, Capable Motor For Pontoon Boats
Peak Thrust (Pounds)
86 lbs
Shaft Length (Inches)
55
Motor Voltage
24V
Maximum Amperage Draw
48A
Shaft Material
Fiberglass Composite
Propeller Type
Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon 3 Blade Prop
Variable Or Fixed Speed
Fixed Speed
Steering Control Type(s)
Tilting & Extendable Handheld Tiller
Weight (Pounds)
27 lbs
Dimensions L x W x H (Inches)
71 x 21.8 x 6
Battery Cable Lengths (Inches)
66
Pivot & Fold
GPS Included
Warranty
2 Years Limited

Preview
White Haswing 12V 55LBS 54inch Shaft Bow Mount Electric Trolling Motor Portable,Variable Speed,with Foot Control/Quick Release Bracket for Bass Fishing Boat Freshwater and Saltwater Use,Energy Saving
Top Marks
MotorGuide 941700110 Xi5 Wireless Saltwater Bow Mount Trolling Motor — 48-inch Shaft, 80-Pound Peak Thrust — GPS, White
Minn Kota Riptide 72" Shaft Length 80 lbs Thrust 24 Volts Terrova 80 Trolling Motor with Bluetoth
Product Name
Haswing Cayman B
MotorGuide Xi5 (48) SW
Minn Kota Riptide Terrova (72)
Verdict
Basic & Cheap Motor For Jon Boats Under 17 Feet
Best Bow Mount For Fish & Ski Boats (17-21ft)
Excellent Manual Deployed Motor For Flat Fishing (sub-19 ft)
Peak Thrust (Pounds)
55 lbs
80 lbs
80 lbs
Shaft Length (Inches)
48
48
72
Motor Voltage
12V
24V
24V
Maximum Amperage Draw
55A
56A
56A
Shaft Material
Stainless Steel
Composite
Composite
Propeller Type & Size
3 Blade Prop / 9 Inch Diameter
3 Blade Machete III Glass-Filled Prop
Weedless Wedge™ 2 Blade Prop
Variable Or Fixed Speed
Variable Speed
Variable Speed
Variable Speed
Steering Control Type(s)
Wireless Handheld Remote & Wired Foot Control
Wireless Handheld Remote
i-Pilot® Handheld Remote
Weight (Pounds)
34 lbs
50 lbs
65
Dimensions L x W x H (Inches)
57.9 x 16 x 12.2
63 x 18 x 11
60 x 12 x 6
Battery Cables Lengths (Inches)
59
60
60
Pivot & Fold
GPS Included
Warranty
2 Years (Motor) 3 Months (Remote)
2 Years
2 Years
Preview
White Haswing 12V 55LBS 54inch Shaft Bow Mount Electric Trolling Motor Portable,Variable Speed,with Foot Control/Quick Release Bracket for Bass Fishing Boat Freshwater and Saltwater Use,Energy Saving
Product Name
Haswing Cayman B
Verdict
Basic & Cheap Motor For Jon Boats Under 17 Feet
Peak Thrust (Pounds)
55 lbs
Shaft Length (Inches)
48
Motor Voltage
12V
Maximum Amperage Draw
55A
Shaft Material
Stainless Steel
Propeller Type & Size
3 Blade Prop / 9 Inch Diameter
Variable Or Fixed Speed
Variable Speed
Steering Control Type(s)
Wireless Handheld Remote & Wired Foot Control
Weight (Pounds)
34 lbs
Dimensions L x W x H (Inches)
57.9 x 16 x 12.2
Battery Cables Lengths (Inches)
59
Pivot & Fold
GPS Included
Warranty
2 Years (Motor) 3 Months (Remote)
Top Marks
Preview
MotorGuide 941700110 Xi5 Wireless Saltwater Bow Mount Trolling Motor — 48-inch Shaft, 80-Pound Peak Thrust — GPS, White
Product Name
MotorGuide Xi5 (48) SW
Verdict
Best Bow Mount For Fish & Ski Boats (17-21ft)
Peak Thrust (Pounds)
80 lbs
Shaft Length (Inches)
48
Motor Voltage
24V
Maximum Amperage Draw
56A
Shaft Material
Composite
Propeller Type & Size
3 Blade Machete III Glass-Filled Prop
Variable Or Fixed Speed
Variable Speed
Steering Control Type(s)
Wireless Handheld Remote
Weight (Pounds)
50 lbs
Dimensions L x W x H (Inches)
63 x 18 x 11
Battery Cables Lengths (Inches)
60
Pivot & Fold
GPS Included
Warranty
2 Years
Preview
Minn Kota Riptide 72" Shaft Length 80 lbs Thrust 24 Volts Terrova 80 Trolling Motor with Bluetoth
Product Name
Minn Kota Riptide Terrova (72)
Verdict
Excellent Manual Deployed Motor For Flat Fishing (sub-19 ft)
Peak Thrust (Pounds)
80 lbs
Shaft Length (Inches)
72
Motor Voltage
24V
Maximum Amperage Draw
56A
Shaft Material
Composite
Propeller Type & Size
Weedless Wedge™ 2 Blade Prop
Variable Or Fixed Speed
Variable Speed
Steering Control Type(s)
i-Pilot® Handheld Remote
Weight (Pounds)
65
Dimensions L x W x H (Inches)
60 x 12 x 6
Battery Cables Lengths (Inches)
60
Pivot & Fold
GPS Included
Warranty
2 Years

Best Offshore Bow Mount Saltwater Trolling Motors For V-Hulls Over 24 Feet

Purple label with gold anchor stating Editor's choice
Motor Guide Xi5 105 Pounds/72 Inch
  • Peak Thrust (Pounds): 105
  • Shaft Length (Inches): 72
  • Motor Voltage: 36V
  • Maximum Amperage Draw: 41 Amps
  • Propeller Type: 3 Blade Machete III Glass-Filled
  • Steering Control Type(s): Wireless Handheld
  • GPS: Pinpoint GPS Featuring Anchoring, Jog, Heading Lock and Cruise Control
  • Special Features: Built-In 83/200 kHz 2d Sonar, Compatible For Lowrance, Simrad and Mercury Vessel View.
  • Weight: 48.5
  • Package Includes:Trolling Motor, Lanyard, Wireless Handheld Remote (Foot Control Sold Separately)
  • Warranty: 2 Years
What We Like
  • Ultimate Trolling Motor For Offshore Use
  • Powerful Thrust Rating
  • Exceptional Steering Control
  • Great Anchor & Jog Modes
  • Top System For Lowrance/Simrad Electronics
  • Super Smooth & Whisper Quiet
  • Low-Profile Mount
  • Durable Composite Shaft
What We Do Not Like
  • Seperate Foot Pedal Drains Batteries When Trolling Motor Disconnected
  • Can Be Problematic In Certain Inshore Applications
  • Loses Connectivity To GPS Satellites Under Heavy Foliage

MotorGuide Xi5 105 lbs/72" Review

In 2020 the MotorGuide Xi5 is my pick of the best bow mount saltwater trolling motors. It’s the gold standard for trolling motors used by serious open water anglers.

The particular model for this review has a 72-inch shaft with 105 pounds of thrust. Which is ideal for v-hull boats over 24 feet long that want precision steering control. But works great for 20 foot and over center consoles too. It’s a versatile size of trolling motor that can control vessels weighing up to 5,500 lbs.

This model has the revered Pinpoint GPS, which is MotorGuide’s answer to Minn Kota’s i-Pilot. Delivering anchor mode, route recording and autopilot/cruise control. For open water use these features provide a mind-blowing amount of convenience.

Food for thought: This model can hold anchor in 20 knots of wind with a ripping tide!

First Impressions

Out of the box the Xi5 is an attractive white and lightweight at 48.5 pounds. The mounting section of the motor is low-profile, sleek and install is a breeze. The shaft is a corrosion resistant composite that feels strong yet flexible. I like that MotorGuide guarantees their composite shafts for life. For power, it needs 3, 12 volt deep cycle batteries.

With the saltwater model you get a wireless handheld remote standard. Or if you prefer a foot control you will need to buy one separately. Either type is great because they allow you to control the motor anywhere on the boat. Using it out in deeper rough waters the Xi5 delivers smooth, quiet, and reliable steering.

Overview Of Pinpoint GPS

Like I mentioned before this model comes with Pinpoint GPS. For anglers and pleasure boaters alike, it has many helpful features including:

  • Virtual Anchor Mode. Using a GPS satellite, two digital compasses, and an algorithm for precise anchoring. Holds the boat in place fighting the winds and currents. This feature is accurate within 5 feet of a fixed coordinate.
  • Jog Mode. For use while in anchor mode. You can press any direction on the controller which tells the motor to jog/move boat in 5 feet increments.
  • Auto Pilot/Cruise Control. Maintain boat speed in either the “heading lock” or “route record” modes. It will compensate for any winds, tides or currents which try to alter a boats speed.
  • Heading Lock. This feature allows a user to select a desired compass heading. The GPS will set course and move the boat in a straight line to this way point. While compensating for wind, tide or currents that can push you off course.
  • Route Record. Enables you to record and playback up to 8 routes ranging up to 4 miles each. Engage anchor during recording and when ready to move again resume recording a route.

Perfect For Lowrance & Simrad Users

The other great feature of the Xi5 motor is the perfect fit with popular electronic brands. Boater who use Lowrance, Simrad and Mercury Vessel View won’t find a better match.

Another added bonus for this model is the addition of a built-in sonar transducer. MotorGuide uses Universal Sonar 2 (US2) a dual beam sonar technology (83 and 200 kHz). This will give you an accurate view of activity beneath the surface.

Downsides To The Best Bow Mount Saltwater Trolling Motor?

Older pre 2017 models of the MotorGuide Xi5 are prone to battery drain issues via the foot control. Although, in late 2017 a major software update happened to rectify this.

For problems with current models some users recorded GPS loss under trees. The other complaint was about of poor performance in shallow calm waters if using anchor mode. While annoying, this is an offshore beast, not an inshore model.

Verdict:

Are a serious offshore angler? Own a large v-hull, center console or boat over 24 feet? The MotorGuide Xi5 105 lbs/72″ model is the electric steer trolling motor for you. Built tough with whisper quiet steering, it’s the best of the best bow mount saltwater trolling motors.

Terrific Choice For Large Bass Boats Using Humminbird Electronics

Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra 112 Pounds/60 Inch
  • Peak Thrust (Pounds): 112
  • Shaft Length (Inches): 60
  • Motor Voltage: 36V
  • Maximum Amperage Draw: 56 Amps
  • Propeller Type: Weedless Wedge™ 2 Blade Prop
  • Steering Control Type(s): i-Pilot® Handheld Remote Or Foot Pedal (Sold Separately)
  • GPS: i-Pilot® (Can Upgrade To Link™) GPS Featuring Spot Lock, Auto Pilot, iTracks Record/Playback Routes, Cruise Control & More
  • Special Features: Variable Speed To Extend Battery Life, Auto Stow/Deploy, Power Trim, Link™ Compatible For Humminbird Electronics, Bluetooth, One-Boat App Compatibility, Push To Test Battery MeterWeight: 67.70 lbs
  • Package Includes:Riptide Ulterra 112 lb. 60" motor, i-Pilot Remote, Lanyard, Heading Sensor (bluetooth), MKP-38 Prop and Mounting Hardware
  • Warranty: 2 Years
What We Like
  • Huge Peak Thrust Ratings
  • Convenient Auto Stow/Deploy For Solo Fishing
  • The Best Match For Humminbird Electronics
  • Propeller Doesn't Get Stuck In Weeds
  • Easy To Use i-Pilot Wireless Steering
  • Great Corrosion Proof Materials For Saltwater
What We Do Not Like
  • Stow/Deploy System Is Problematic
  • Heavier Than Others
  • Remote Can Be Finicky
  • Power Needs To be Clean & Maintained

Minn Kota Riptide Ulterra 112 lbs/60" Review

For anglers who run large bass boats a Minn Kota Ulterra is one of the greatest wireless bow mount saltwater trolling motors. The Riptide Ulterra comes in two thrust options either 80 lbs or 112 lbs.

  1. 80 lbs thrust motor works with boats up to 4000 pounds.
  2. 112 lbs thrust motor is good for boats up to 5,500 pounds.

For hands-free steering, you get either i-Pilot GPS or upgraded i-Pilot Link. Both are compatible with popular electronics. Although, to control steering via a Humminbird fish finder you need i-Pilot Link.

In this review I have the 60″ shaft 112 lbs thrust model with i-Pilot Link installed on a 21-foot Ranger. For batteries, it’s a 36 volt system so it lasts much longer than smaller 24v or 12v systems. Beyond the motor it includes a lanyard, heading sensor (for blue-tooth), prop and the mounting hardware.

First Look

The white and black exterior is modern and clean. Its a bit heavier than the MotorGuide Xi5 but I attribute that to the extra equipment for stow/deploy. Install is easy for a seasoned boater, although if you are a new boater ask a local shop to do it for you. It’s more complicated than other Minn Kota models due to the amount of features Minn Kota packs into it.

For corrosion resistance the motor unit is grit-blasted aluminum that’s gets powder coated. While the shaft is a tough composite with a 2 blade prop at the bottom. This prop is the great weedless wedge, which obliterates underwater vegetation.

Stow/Deploy & Power Trim Features

Inside is the innovative “Auto Stow/Deploy and Power Trim” systems to make for an effortless day on the boat. These are automation systems to power lift the motor. The power lift system uses top-notch materials like a Kevlar belt and brass gearing.

Press a button on the i-Pilot remote, foot control or Humminbird fish finder to deploy the motor. It will lift and pivot into the water ready for your next direction, so no more lugging the motor off/on the boat. Keep in mind though, this system is problematic if you don’t give it clean power, more on this later.

To change the depth of the shaft a boater uses the power trim mode. Pressing a button on the i-Pilot remote you can lift or lower the height. With the Link upgrade and Humminbird it will also auto adjust for depth contours. I tried it out near the shore line and the system is flawless.

i-Pilot GPS System Features

Redesigned after 2017 the Ulterra comes with two GPS systems to control steering. The i-Pilot is standard and provides the following controls in the palm of your hand:

  • Spot-Lock with Jog. Minn Kota’s anchor mode, that keeps you in place. If the boat shifts more than 5 feet the motor kicks in to bring the boat back into place. Jog mode lets you move your spot five feet forward, backwards, left or right on press of a button.
  • iTrack Record/Playback Route. Lets you trace a route, save it, and follow again. It stores up to 16 iTracks, each up to 2 miles long.
  • Autopilot With CoPilot. Set a way point and the system will maintain the heading for you preventing drifting off course. CoPliot adds handheld control of speed, steering, prop on/off and a high-speed bypass.
  • Cruise Control. Maintains boat speed on the remote screen to entice fish with an ideal lure presentation. Plus make adjustments in 0.1 mile-per-hour increments.

Since I upgraded to Link, it allows the Ulterra and my Humminbird to communicate with each other. Plus offer circle mode, offset mode for iTrack, and more.

Any Problems With the Riptide Ulterra Trolling Motor?

The big issue that comes up is with the “stow/deploy” system. With most micro-computers, failures happen and this one is no different. It’s affected by dust, so be extra careful if you trailer your boat on dirt roads. Also, it must have “clean power” to operate, which means correct wire size and clean terminals. Do yourself a favor and upgrade the battery connections and keep up with maintenance. Or expect headaches out on the water.

Verdict:

If you own a larger bass boat, center console or a flats boat over 20 feet in length, get this trolling motor. Especially if you fish alone and want the convenience of auto stow and deploy. Technology rich bow mount saltwater trolling motors make angling a breeze, but this one has caveats.

Best Low-Cost Bow Mount Saltwater Trolling Motors For Pontoon Boats

green budget friendly label
Newport Vessels Pontoon Series
  • Peak Thrust (Pounds): 86
  • Shaft Length (Inches): 55
  • Motor Voltage: 24V
  • Maximum Amperage Draw: 48 Amps
  • Propeller Type: Fiberglass Reinforced Nylon 3 Blade Prop
  • Steering Control Type(s): Tilting & Extendable Handheld Tiller
  • Special Features: 10 point LED Battery Meter, Special Latch Door To Easily Remove Motor From MountWeight: 27 lbs
  • Package Includes: 50 Amp Circuit Breaker, Propeller, Mount Bracket, Installation Hardware
  • Warranty: 2 Years Limited
What We Like
  • Inexpensive Basic Trolling Motor
  • Does A Good Job Controlling Pontoon Boats
  • Super Tough Mount Bracket Materials
  • Fluid Tiller Movement
  • Easy To Read 10 Level Battery Meter
What We Do Not Like
  • Tiller Isn't Waterproof?!
  • Unit Doesn't Pivot For Storage
  • Fixed 8 Speed Motor

Newport Vessels Pontoon Series Review

To increase handling for ungraceful pontoon boats bow mount trolling motors are the best. For 2020 my pick is the basic but tough Newport Vessel Pontoon Series.

Never heard of Newport Vessels? They are a marine brand out of California that’s been around since 2008. The brand is notable for their inflatable boats and to a lesser extent trolling motors.

For this review I found a rental pontoon boat of 19 feet with this model on it to try out the performance. Myself and Darren who writes some of our fishing articles co-tested this motor. The motor in question has a 55 inch shaft at 86 pounds of thrust, at 24 volts. More than enough power to control most pontoon or flat deck boats up to 21 feet long.

Inspecting The Trolling Motor

The first thing I notice with this trolling motor is the beefed up bracket bolted to the deck. On the shaft near the bracket are two graspable wing nuts, that some strength to use. One on top to adjust shaft depth, the other behind to remove the motor from the bracket for storage. I repeat, this motor can’t pivot out of the water.

For materials, it’s built with corrosion resistant materials. Newport says it uses stainless steel which I guess is the tiller. It moves 30 degrees and has a handle that’s 6 inches in length. The motor includes a 10 point LED battery meter with 5 forward speeds and 3 reverse speeds. A fixed speed motor isn’t as efficient as a variable motor but for pontoon use it’s fine.

While the shaft is a fiberglass composite material that is 1.5 inches in diameter. At the bottom lower motor, it has a sacrificial anode. With a 3 blade propeller measuring around 9 inches. It’s a simple build with little moving parts, which means fewer parts to break.

On The Water

The motor starts up fast with noticeable torque. In fact, you need to pay attention when you use it as the sudden torque is a bit jarring. In use its somewhat smooth and I could maneuver the boat fine. For pleasure use of slow steady cruising or parking at a dock this trolling motor is a great basic option.

What Are The Downsides?

The main downside of the Newport Vessels Pontoon Series is the fixed position. To store the motor you have to pull the motor up and out of the water. While it weighs a mere 25 pounds, it’s a nuisance and difficult for older boaters. Another issue is using a fixed speed motor. While you might get used to the startup torque, it can drain your batteries faster. Plus the tiller head isn’t waterproof?! This means if you get caught out on the water in a down pour the motor can fail.

Verdict:

If you prefer a low-cost, basic hand-held trolling motor for a pontoon or flat deck boat this is a decent pick. It’s durable and powerful for vessels up to 21 feet long. But it’s best for boaters in dry climates that don’t mind a motor that isn’t the most energy efficient.

Affordable Pick For Jon Boats Under 17 Feet

Haswing Cayman B
  • Peak Thrust (Pounds): 55
  • Shaft Length (Inches): 48
  • Motor Voltage: 12V
  • Maximum Amperage Draw: 55 Amps
  • Propeller Type: 3 Blade Prop / 9 Inch Diameter
  • Steering Control Type(s): Wireless Handheld Remote & Wired Foot Control
  • Special Features: Quick Release Bracket, LED Battery Meter, Stow/Deploy Pedal, Lifting HandleWeight: 34 lbs
  • Package Includes: Trolling Motor, Wireless Remote, Wired Foot Control, Quick Release Mount, Mounting Hardware
  • Warranty: 2 Years (Motor) 3 Months (Remote)
What We Like
  • Amazing Price For Electric Steering
  • Quick-Release Bracket Included
  • Comes With Remote & Foot Control
  • Fairly Quiet Motor Operation
  • Lightweight Unit
What We Do Not Like
  • Customer Service Complaints
  • Remote Has Intermittent Issues
  • Poor Performance In Rough Waters
  • Material Quality Not The Best
  • Remote Chime Is Loud

Haswing Cayman B Trolling Motor Review

Most small Jon boat owners I know love a good bargain but adding a trolling motor is expensive. One solution is to pick cheap bow mount saltwater trolling motors from Haswing. This particular model is an electric steer 48 inch shaft, 55 pounds of thrust, 12 volt model. I will admit, this trolling motor is a leap of faith as it’s from a pretty unknown brand.

If you want to take a gamble on a sub $500 trolling motor the Haswing Cayman is a good choice. For this review I installed it onto a friend of mines 16’ Alumacraft with a custom bracket to make install easy. We did install the quick-release bracket on top of the custom bracket and then the motor.

This is a super value pick especially since you can control it with either a hand-held remote or foot pedal. Which is great for anglers who like to drift and drag some baits in calm waters. Speaking of calm waters, this motor isn’t great for rough open waters.

Build and Features

Don’t expect all the features you get with a Minn Kota or MotorGuide, to be blunt this motor is for basic trolling use only. It doesn’t have GPS, anchor or jog mode. The remote controls direction and the speed of a variable motor. For battery monitoring it does have simple LED indicator lights.

Material for the Haswing Cayman are as follows:

  • 48 inch cast aluminum alloy shaft with a hand operated depth collar. Not as great as high-end motors but fine for small Jon boats.
  • Fiberglass or plastic with rust- resistant coating to encapsulate the motor housing.
  • Plastic stow/deploy foot pedal to pivot the motor in and out of the water.
  • Black ergonomic lifting handle to help you lift motor off of quick-release mounting bracket.
  • A sacrificial anode in the lower motor for interior metal component protection.
  • Shock-resistant plastic 3 blade propeller.
  • Nylon quick-release mounting bracket with stainless steel nuts and bolts.
  • Plastic Remote control and foot control pedal with 14.7 feet of power cable.

First Use Of the Cayman B:

Deploying the motor is simple and powering up is quiet. I first tried using the hand-held remote, each speed is responsive. In total there are ten speed setting that ramp up in a smooth motion but the remote beeps each time. I wish I could turn it off, but for the price I might get used to it.

Next I tried the foot control, holy smokes this thing has a huge foot print. If your boat has limited deck space this is a hindrance. In use, the foot control isn’t as quick to respond and feels cheap. I would worry it would cease to work if I left it uncovered on the boat.

Disadvantages of the Haswing Cayman B?

The first problem is if you expect this to be a competitor to MotorGuide or Minn Kota, it’s not. This is a basic remote control motor of simple trolling. It doesn’t have any of the bells and whistles you expect in the GPS trolling motors. The motor isn’t precise enough for bass fishing around docks or bank fishing.

In second is the internal electronics will disconnect from the remote. This means you have to buy the version of the motor with the foot pedal to have a connected control.

Third is material use, while Haswing claims durability, boaters complain of bent shafts and discoloration of the unit. I didn’t experience this but it does bring into question the long term life expectancy of these motor.

The fourth issue is the lack of customer service, this is the big problem with buying from unknown brands. If things go wrong or you need to replace a specific part, your risk out weighs your reward. Something to think about.

Verdict:

Buy the Haswing Cayman B if you have a small Jon boat and don’t want or care about GPS. For simple trolling in calm waters at a decent price this is a capable and quiet trolling motor. Bear in mind though, buying from an unknown brand is risky.

Top Pick For Fish & Ski Boats Under 21 Feet

MotorGuide Xi5 80 Pounds/48 Inch
  • Peak Thrust (Pounds): 80
  • Shaft Length (Inches): 48
  • Motor Voltage: 24V
  • Maximum Amperage Draw: 56 Amps
  • Propeller Type: 3 Blade Machete III Glass-Filled Prop
  • Steering Control Type(s): Wireless Handheld Remote
  • GPS: Pinpoint GPS Featuring Anchoring, Jog, Heading Lock and Cruise Control
  • Special Features: Built-In 83/200 kHz 2d Sonar Compatible For Lowrance, Simrad and Mercury Vessel ViewWeight: 50 lbs
  • Package Includes: Trolling Motor, Wireless Remote, Power leads, Mounting Hardware, Owners Manual
  • Warranty: 2 Years
What We Like
  • Precision Steering Control
  • Ultra Fast, Almost Silent Movements
  • Variable Speed Motor = Long Run Times
  • Simple Pivot To Deploy & Stow
  • Matches Lowrance & Simrad Electronics
  • Universal Sonar 2 (83 and 200 kHz)
  • Compatible With Wireless Foot Control (Sold Seperately)
What We Do Not Like
  • GPS Issues Under Foliage
  • No Screen On Remote
  • Battery Indicator Lights Hard To See In Sunlight

MotorGuide Xi5 80 lbs/48" Review

My runner-up pick for the best bow mount saltwater trolling motors is the MotorGuide Xi5 (80) SW. This is the shorter shaft model of my top pick at 48 inches with 80 pounds of thrust. Which is a perfect size for most “fish & ski” boats from 17 to 21 feet in length. An 80 pound thrust trolling motor is capable of controlling boats weighing up to 4,000 pounds.

For this review I tested this motor on my father in-laws’ Lowe 22 Bay. The motor runs off a pair of Odyssey 34M trolling motor batteries. This specific model is 24 Volts and needs a 60 amp circuit breaker. It has a durable composite shaft and 3 blade propellor that thrashes through the weeds.

While the Xi5 (48) has 8 different mounting positions, for this boat he added a quick release mount. It’s much more convenient to remove the trolling motor for hauling your boat to and from home.

Like it’s big brother, this model has Pinpoint GPS and a handheld remote. MotorGuides’ GPS is a perfect match with Lowrance and Simrad electronics. Plus for saltwater models you can buy an optional wireless foot pedal controller. The tested model was with a remote only.

The PinPoint GPS delivers anchor mode, route recording and autopilot/cruise control. Having precision wireless control while bay fishing is crucial for a successful day.

Out On The Water

Deploying the motor is a breeze by depressing the foot pedal and hand pivoting it into the water. For depth control it uses a simple collar on the shaft you can preset. Next you wait for the LED display lights on the to illuminate showing the motor is ready for use.

My first impression of using the hand-held remote is the speed of operation. Remote buttons emits chimes, but each are a bit different, to help the user remember each mode. The trolling motor responds ultra-fast to input from the control. In fact the motor will turn 360 degrees in about 4 seconds. It’s also whisper quiet and smooth, due to the friction reducing ball bearings. This is vital for those of us who need quiet for finesse fishing techniques.

After 3 hours out on the water the battery level light showed no change! This is due to the digital, variable speed control. Which increases the running time and delivers spectacular low-speed trolling capability. I love this for presenting lures or flies.

Next, let’s discuss the anchor mode; it keeps the boat in absolute place against wind and tides. I had no significant movement while using this mode.

Standard Pinpoint GPS Features

Below are the many helpful features of the Pinpoint GPS System:

  • Anchor Mode. Relying on satellites, two digital compasses, and a special algorithm for pinpoint anchoring. Keeps the boat in place against winds, currents and tides. Accurate within 5 feet of your fixed coordinate.
  • Jog Mode. Mode to use in conjunction with anchor mode. Press any direction on the controller to tell the motor to jog/move boat in 5 feet increments in any direction.
  • Cruise Control. Maintains a preset trolling motor speed in either the “heading lock” or “route record” modes. Ensuring to compensate for any winds, tides or currents that can alter your speed.
  • Heading Lock. Allows a user to select a desired compass heading. The GPS sets course and moves the boat in a straight line to the way point. Again compensating for wind, tide or currents that can push a boat off course.
  • Route Record. Enables you to record and playback up to 8 routes ranging up to 4 miles each. Allows for stop-and-go like engaging anchor mode during recording.

Own Lowrance Or Simrad Electronics?

If you do the MotorGuide has the best compatibility with these popular electronics. An added bonus for this model is the addition of a built-in sonar transducer. The Xi5 SW uses Universal Sonar 2 (US2) which is a dual beam sonar technology (83 and 200 kHz). As a result, you get super accurate views of activity beneath the surface.

Any Problems With This Trolling Motor?

Like the bigger version of this motor, this models does lose GPS signals under trees. Some anglers hate that the remote doesn’t have visual screen, I don’t mind it though. I find the battery indicator lights that change color (green – yellow- red) hard to read in direct sunlight. I would prefer them you use separate lights for each but this is a personal gripe.

Verdict:

If you own a small to medium-sized fish and ski boat and want a powerful silent trolling motor buy this one. You get accurate wireless control inside a corrosion resistant housing. It has ultra-fast steering and will run at 50% for over 4 hours. Plus it’s easy to deploy and stow what more can you ask for?

Excellent Manual Deployed Motor For Bass Boats Up To 19 Feet Under 3500 Pounds

top marks label in blue with yellow check mark
Minn Kota Riptide Terrova 80 pounds/60 Inch
  • Listed As: "One Size"
  • Peak Thrust (Pounds): 80
  • Shaft Length (Inches): 60
  • Motor Voltage: 24V
  • Maximum Amperage Draw: 56 Amps
  • Propeller Type: Weedless Wedge™ 2 Blade Prop
  • Steering Control Type(s): i-Pilot® Handheld Remote
  • GPS: i-Pilot® GPS Featuring Spot Lock, Auto Pilot, Record Paths, Cruise Control & More
  • Special Features: Lift-Assist Mechanism, Stow/Deploy Lever, Built-In 2d Sonar Compatible For Humminbird Electronics, One-Boat App Compatibilty, Push To Test Battery MeterWeight: 65 lbs
  • Package Includes: Trolling Motor, Lanyard, i-pilot Handheld Remote, Mounting Hardware & Heading Sensor
  • Warranty: 2 Years
What We Like
  • Bass Fishermen Favorite Trolling Motor
  • Trusted Minn Kota Lift Assist System
  • Redesigned i-Pilot Technology
  • Composite Shaft With Lifetime Guarantee
  • Reliable Variable Speed Motor
  • Easy To Read State-Of-Charge Lights
  • Compatible With Wired Foot Control (Sold Separately)
What We Do Not Like
  • Spot Lock Issues In Direct Wind
  • Remote Blank Screen Problems
  • Not As Silent As Others

Minn Kota Riptide Terrova 80 lbs/60" Review:

If you love the Minn Kota brand but don’t want or need auto stow/deploy this is the bow mount trolling motor for you. Particularly for owners of bass boats less than 19 feet in length and under 3500 pounds. This is the Minn Kota Riptide Terrova electric steering saltwater trolling motor.

This model comes in two shaft lengths either 54 inches or 60 inches. But I prefer the longer shaft for possible rough water. With the 54 inch shaft it can pop out of the water in 2 foot swells.

Another point to think about is if you plan for any offshore boating. If you do, you may want to look at the Terrova 112 pound thrust model with a 72 inch shaft.

Initial Impressions

For this review, I test the model with 80 pounds of peak thrust with a 60 inch shaft. Powered via 24 volt battery system with the 2 blade Weedless Wedge propeller. While it lacks the Ulterras’ auto stow and deploy it does the “Lift/Assist” mechanism. This is a pedal system that hold the weight of the motor for single hand lift or lowering. While not included, you can add a wired foot pedal for steering control. In fact, you can use it at the same time as the remote.

Power it up by press of a button on the unit. Plus you have a “push-to-test battery meter button to get an instant “stage of charge” reading.

To help provide the most run time possible Minn Kota provides the Digital Maximizer™.” As a result, it uses a variable speed motor to deliver an exact amount of power to conserve the batteries. Moreover I was able to use it at 20% power for over 6 hours of use.

Installation wise the motor mounts either right on the boat and takes up 13.94 inches length by 8.52 inches in width. Although for ease of long term storage it’s better to buy a separate quick-release mount.

I appreciate the attention to corrosion resistance. Due to the motor unit sing grit-blasted aluminum with a powder coated finish. Attached to this lower motor is a Weedless Wedge 2 blade propeller. The shaft is composite which means its durable but if you do damage it Minn Kota has a lifetime guarantee on it. In total its appearance looks and feels powerful and modern.

Steering System

Coming standard with the i-Pilot® GPS remote and blue-tooth heading sensor. The Terrova 80 has everything you need to control your boat. However, if you use Humminbird electronics I recommend upgrading to the i-Pilot® Link™. The Link system is what enables you to match your fish finder to the trolling motor.

Features of the i-Pilot System include:

  • Spot-Lock. This is Minn Kota’s anchor mode. If the boat shifts more than 5 feet the motor kicks in to bring the boat back into place.
  • iTrack Record/Playback Route. With it, you can trace a route, save it, and follow it again. Storing up to 16 iTracks, each up to 2 miles long.
  • Go-To. Choose any Spot-Lock or iTrack that you want to go to. It will activate your motor to take you back there.
  • Autopilot With CoPilot. Choose a heading and this mode will stay on it without lifting a finger. It holds the boat in a straight line without going off course. The CoPliot adds speed and steering control, turns prop on/off and a high-speed bypass.
  • Cruise Control. Manages boat speed on the remote screen to entice fish as you troll in 0.1 mile-per-hour increments.

Downsides To The Riptide Terrova 80 Trolling Motor?

A new issue with the Terrova is the with Lift Assist system for some boaters. This applies to situations in conditions of 10 plus knots, facing into the wind and swell. In this instance the motor and shaft may not have the weight to keep the shaft locked in place. This results in the motor shaft bobbing up and down which cuts off the spot-lock feature. As of writing this article a solution from Minn Kota isn’t available.

The other issue I noticed it the i-Pilot remote can show a blank screen some times. Inside the remote the wires can make intermittent contact with the terminals. Most owner smack the back of it to fix the problem. Or it might need a battery replacement.

Verdict:

Anglers who own a medium-sized, around 19 foot bass boats will love this easy to use trolling motor. Its less expensive than the Ulterra model and less reliant on technology. As result, you get a durable trolling motor that is less likely to go hay-wire out on the water.

Finishing Up:

All things considered, you can now make an informed choice for the which bow mount saltwater trolling motors are best for you. Ensure you consider what size motor the boat manufacturer recommends. Next, focus on thrust, shaft length, battery power and high-quality materials. Bear in mind, manufacturers base their thrust and shaft length charts on ideal conditions. If you are using it offshore in high winds, currents and tides its best to buy the largest motor your wallet can afford.

Whichever model you choose, thanks for letting Outdoors Informed help with your research. We enjoy doing it, so you can spend more time on the water.

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Last update on 2020-09-21

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