Installing a Bow Mount Trolling Motor on a Catfish Boat

Discussion in 'Catfishing Library' started by dademoss, Sep 1, 2005.

  1. dademoss

    dademoss Member

    [font=Verdana,Arial,Helvetica]Installing a Bow Mount Trolling Motor

    My “big water” boat is an aluminum 14 foot V hull, and needs some additions for the kinds of fishing I plan to do.

    My first article detailed adding the lights and bilge pump, this article will detail the installation of the bow mounted trolling motor. One of the criteria for the trolling motor was a method of controlling the motor from any position in the boat. The boat doesn’t have a casting deck, so the fishing will be done from the floor of the boat. The maximum cable length on most of the bow mount cable steer systems was around 60 inches, great for the deck of a big B@$$ boat, but not long enough for what I have in mind. Studying the manufacturers websites, I picked out a 40lb thrust, 48 inch shaft Minnkota Powerdrive, this model has a “drive by wire” foot control system that comes with 18 feet of cable, long enough to control the boat from any position I choose.

    Now, I will need to add a “deck” for the trolling motor to mount to. I used ¾ inch pressure treated plywood, the deck has to support the motor and transfer the motor thrust to the boat, I don’t want the deck disintegrating when I am maneuvering with the trolling motor.

    I laid the plywood on top of the rub rail on the boat, and traced an outline onto the plywood. Then, I used the jigsaw to cut out the platform, and sanded the splinters off. The platform was checked for fit. Once the fit was good, holes were drilled through the plywood platform, and continued through the top rail of the boat. This will give a very secure connection, and won’t come loose under the stress of trolling. 1/4 –20 galvanized bolts secure the platform to the boat, with oversize washers and lock-nuts to keep everything in place.

    Now, to mount the trolling motor to the platform. The directions supplied with the motor were very nice and complete, so it was an easy task. The motor is first placed in the “deployed” position, this assures that the shaft will lock into position and not hit the rail or side of the boat. I did that, and marked the location on the deck. Next, I placed the motor in the “stowed” position, I wanted to position the head of the motor inside the perimeter of the boat, to make sure it didn’t hit things when docking and to make it easier to cover and store. Once I was satisfied with the position of the motor, both in the deployed and stowed positions, it was time to start drilling. The holes were drilled through the deck and the supplied bolts and nuts secured the motor to the platform.


    The next step is the wiring for the motor. I have a bow mounted battery, so it was an easy matter to get the motor wires to the battery. I had already used a circuit breaker of the proper size, 40 amps, for the auxiliary lights and pumps installed in the boat, so all that was need was to connect the wires to the negative battery terminal and the output side of the circuit breaker.

    Now, for a trolling motor shaft stabilizer. The supplied mount holds the motor very securely in the stowed position, but the head of the motor is free to bounce on the end of the shaft, and I hate things bouncing around the boat when under power.

    I will use some 1 inch PVC pipe and fittings to make a stabilizer. A PVC cap, tee, a short section of pipe, fender washers and a bolt will be used to fabricate the stabilizer. The cap screws to the platform directly under the motor shaft. The “long” section of the T is cut in half lengthwise, this creates the shaft support.


    A section of pipe is then cut to the needed length to join the two fittings, and support the shaft of the trolling motor. Assemble the pieces without glue first and check to make sure the sizes are right. If something needs trimming, now is the time to do it, before it’s glued together. Drill a hole in the center of the cap, this is for the fastening bolt. Now, fasten the cap to the platform with a bolt and locknut. Apply PVC cement following the instructions on the can. Insert the short pipe section. Now, glue the modified “Tee” to the pipe, making sure the tee is aligned with the motor shaft. That’s all there is too it, in the stowed position, the trolling motor shaft rests in the T on the pipe, I use a bungee cord to hold the motor firmly in place, along with a couple of velco straps around the stabilizer.