Based on our study and years on the water, the best Prowler trolling motor is the Bass Pro Shops Prowler model.
Whether you prefer the bow-mounted or transom-mounted version of the electric Prowler trolling motor, you can rely on this well-built motor to get you where you're going whether fishing recreationally or commercially.
Both Bass Pro trolling motor versions are powered by 12-volt batteries, which is one of the reasons experienced anglers tend to choose them over other options. With this battery, you can use these trolling motors to navigate shorelines slowly or adjust your drift in the current and you’ll rarely run long enough or rough enough to fully drain the battery.
In This Guide
- Bass Pro Shops Prowler TSW55/36B Saltwater Trolling Motor, Transom Mount
- Bass Pro Shops Prowler SWB55/50B Trolling Motor, Bow Mount
- How Do You Use a Trolling Motor?
- Tips for Using a Trolling Motor
- Types of Trolling Motors
- How to Choose the Right Trolling Motor for Your Boat
Bass Pro Shops Prowler 55/36 trolling motors are very powerful and manage to crank out 55 pounds of thrust. Along with power, they are quite portable, functional, and they come with a 36′′ long shaft.
The Bass Pro Shops Prowler TSW55/36B Saltwater Trolling Motor is powered by a 12-volt motor. You can mount it on a 14′ Alumacraft Jon boat for river fishing charters for bass, trout, crappie, and any freshwater species or saltwater species you want to target. The battery should last as long as you need it.
You might also mount one of these convenient trolling motors to the transom of heavier boats like a 20′ Key West Bay Reef. The engine is strong enough and moves the boat well – as heavy as it is. In strong winds and decent currents, the motor can stop you from drifting around.
With a reliable trolling motor like this, you can take your boat in the shallows for tarpon, reds, permit, or even bonefish fishing. This small motor moves the boat around quite well and has a voltmeter, a convenient feature for any electric motor.
This motor has many nice features. The motor has 55 lb. of thrust paired with a 36" steel shaft and a 3-blade propeller designed to power boats in any situation. With 5 forward and 3 reverse speeds, you can be sure the engine is being efficiently run. The tiller handle is large and soft, a welcome addition for long hours on the flats. The LED battery meter lets you know exactly how much charge you have left. Run this motor in saltwater or freshwater.
There are some negative points to this motor, but there is no perfect one - is there? Some customers have said the bolts securing the motor/shaft connection are not solid enough. With long exposure to saltwater, and presumably a lack of rinsing off, some of the metal hardware may begin to rust.
Regular maintenance after every use cannot be ignored, even large screws require constant cleaning and lubrication. Think of these small motors as no different.
The collar that adjusts the depth of the water reservoir does not slide as easily as it could. Also, the rubber bushing on the shaft sort of moves out of the bore and needs to be reinserted. It isn't a dealbreaker, but it is a minor annoyance that a couple of buyers have mentioned.
The Bass Pro Shops 55/50 Bow Mounted Prowler trolling motor is similar in quality to the one above. These are quality-built motors that work great on bay boats from a 20-foot Key West to a 22-foot Stott Craft. If you're familiar with these two boats, the Key West is heavier, and the Stott is slower.
The trolling motor has a 12-volt motor that puts out 55 pounds of thrust and has a long 50-inch shaft. This trolling motor is certainly a good unit worthy of your investment and provides outstanding value over the long term.
The price is right with this one – a real bargain for a saltwater trolling motor that works so well. This motor is sufficiently strong and long-lasting and covers what most anglers need for their small boat. It deploys very well and is quite reliable.
It comes with a convenient voltmeter to check the battery charge and an extendable handle on the side of the unit. The breakaway bracket on this motor is well thought out and it is adjustable as well. You’ll appreciate the latch and door on the front that allows you to remove the motor from your boat easily for storage or transferring to another boat.
Like the previous boat, and really, like all boats, the brackets, hardware, and shaft can begin to corrode sooner than you might think. You should loosen and lubricate the bolts, brackets, latch, and door often.
The long shaft is maybe not necessary for boats with plenty of room for an inboard thrust motor. You'll need a stronger engine if you have a bigger boat. This is more of a recreational boat, you'll need a stronger motor if you're going to run it hard in the wind or current.
How Do You Use a Trolling Motor?
Most anglers who buy fishing boats, including bass boats, add an electric trolling motor for those ultra-stealth approaches toward fidgety fish.
There are many kinds of motors you can install on different styles of fishing boats. Though the main idea is to use the boat for trolling or holding position while fishing, probably most of the time these motors are used for precise maneuvers while docking!
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Still, you can't discount their value when you are fishing for easily spooked fish like bonefish or permit.
When you first turn on your electric trolling motor you'll hear a slight click as you turn the tiller handle so you know you are clicking through different settings. To really understand how trolling motors work, we'll give you a basic overview of their common features.
To crank the engine faster, turn the tiller clockwise as you grip it in your hand. Turn it the opposite way to slow it down. There is a 'reverse' function on the tiller handle you can use to go backward. If you're using a remote, you can often choose to turn the head around to reverse from the remote control unit. Usually, electric trolling motors have a few gears or speeds you can access by continuing to accelerate.
Here is a quick video to show you what I mean.
Tips for Using a Trolling Motor
There are a few little tricks you can do with a trolling motor that will prove useful. For instance, if your boat repeatedly bobs up and down on big waves, use the small motor to go deeper into the water. There are adjustment screws you can set to let you increase or decrease the depth of the prop.
When you fish in shallow areas with a lot of weeds it’s very common for the propellers on your trolling motor to become fouled with vegetation or even fishing line or other debris. You'll know you have a problem when your movement becomes sluggish or you feel or hear vibrations from the direction of the trolling motor.
When this happens, try putting the engine in reverse for a bit. This may unwind something from your prop.
If you still have a problem, tilt the motor up out of the water and clean the propeller. Make sure to turn the engine off and some people even disconnect the battery before sticking their hands near the prop. Probably a good idea!
Another tip is that you must always remember (yes, always) to tilt your bow-mounted trolling motor up out of the water as you approach a boat ramp or other hard bottom. There's nothing like the scrape of metal props on concrete! If you don't remember, your prop will certainly be damaged as it hits the concrete.
If your boat has a transom-mounted trolling motor attached and the wind is blowing hard, you might think it makes natural sense to point the bow into the wind and use the motor to keep your boat in a straight line as you fish.
It depends on how the wind is blowing, but what might be more successful is to point the stern at the wind instead. The bow side in this position will catch less wind. When the stern is away from the wind, you have a greater area to catch the wind. Try it and see how it goes!
This may sound obvious, but if you continually run out of battery for your trolling motor before you finish fishing you should try to run the speed of the motor slightly slower. When speeds are higher, you're using exponentially more energy and the prop is spinning with the least efficiency. Running at 75% of the max will give you some extra time on the water. Or, another solution is to bring another battery!
Types of Trolling Motors
Here are the different types of trolling motors and why you would choose one for your boat over another.
1. Bow-Mounted Trolling Motors
Bow-mounted (front of the boat) motors are becoming increasingly common for precision movements in tight areas. With the thrust of the motor located in the bow, it can be easier to keep the boat steady and pointed straight into the wind or the current where you want it.
This is the common setup for bass and inshore boats. There is also a range of options you can use to control the motor like a tiller, foot pedal, or with remote control from anywhere on the boat.
Using your preferred method of control keeping the boat steady in current and wind just comes down to applying a bit of thrust to keep steady. What’s the usefulness of a trolling motor in the bow?
- crawl slowly along the shoreline as you cast to waiting fish
- control its drift in current and wind
- power the boat from one nearby fishing spot to the next
Because trolling motors can only move a few miles per hour at the most, if a fishing spot you want to move to is a hundred yards away or more, usually you'll just use your bigger outboard motor to move that sort of distance.
2. Transom Mounted Trolling Motors
Transom-mounted trolling motors attach to the stern (rear) of the boat with special braces that allow you to move the boat around in tight areas. Though many transom motors can go a little faster, they work best in the 1-3 MPH range. Higher than that and they can really drain the battery quickly.
If you're on a small pond or lake, a transom-mounted electric trolling motor can be used as the main propulsion for your boat. It's certainly a cheaper option than a stronger outboard.
Small Jon boats, dinghies, and gheenoes can move around just fine with a smaller engine on water that is still or barely moving. It can also be a solution for those times when you are in an area where there is a restriction on gas motors and an electric trolling motor is your only option.
These trolling motors mounted on the stern are a bit different from bow-mounted motors in that they usually have steering that can be operated from a steering wheel.
With your electric motor mounted on the stern, your boat may behave differently than if it was mounted on the bow. It all depends on how the wind and current affect your boat. Sometimes it can be necessary to counter-steer the boat in a powerful wind, and this can usually best be done with a stern-mounted trolling motor.
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3. Tiller Steer Trolling Motors
Tiller steer trolling motors are steered much like small gasoline outboard motors. A tiller is a long-handled device with a grip you can turn like a motorcycle accelerator to increase or decrease the power of the electric motor.
Speed settings are sometimes controlled through buttons or by continually cranking the accelerator on the handle of the tiller. I think it's more intuitive when the controls are within the accelerator and automatically click you up into higher gear. But, some people prefer buttons to change gears.
You steer the boat by moving the tiller to the left or right, causing the boat to move in the opposite direction (using stern-mounted motors). There is sometimes a switch or other device that you can flip in order to reverse the engine to move backward.
The price of tiller steer trolling motors varies widely from a couple of hundred dollars to more than a thousand dollars. Brand name plays a large role in this, but there are obvious quality differences between motors.
Using a tiller steer trolling motor means that you can control the boat in a much more finite way versus using an outboard motor where only large sweeping turns are possible.
Some people find that using a tiller steer trolling motor is confusing at first if they've never used one. It won't take long or much struggle to understand the controls and how to use these helpful motors. A couple of minutes should be enough time for someone to figure it out.
It's nice to have both an outboard and a tiller steer trolling motor on your boat so you have a range of control of movement options.
Here's a tip you'll want to remember if you haven't already bought your tiller trolling motor.
Bow-mounted and stern-mounted trolling motors are slightly different in their construction and the way they work. When it's time to lift your trolling motor out of the water, some units use a pull rope or cord that will allow you to raise the motor while the cord is pulled.
Other motors may require you to hold a button or lever with one hand as you lift the motor out of the water with the other hand on the tiller.
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4. Foot Pedal Controlled Trolling Motors
Foot pedal-controlled motors are very popular with bass anglers because they allow them to cast and reel all while putting their boat in the perfect spot to catch fish. It's a really simple device to use and most people can quickly understand how it works and maneuver it like a pro.
It will only take an hour or so to become competent with it. Of course, different brands and models work slightly differently but it isn't rocket science!
There are a number of controls you can use to maneuver the boat. On some models, you can move the pedal forward or backward to turn the engine on or off. On others, this will allow you to drive faster or slower. Sometimes the accelerator is a pressure switch that allows you to go faster with more pressure and slower with less. Some models have more features like buttons around the pedal that you can press for different functions.
5. Digitally Controlled Trolling Motors
Some of the best trolling motors for sale today can be controlled by modern technology you'll appreciate.
You can use a simple remote control device you hang around your neck from a cord to control your trolling motor to go forward, backward, fast/slow, and left/right.
Instead of a dedicated remote device that comes with the motor, some motors today have mobile phone apps you can pair with your trolling motor to accomplish all the functions of a remote control. Control is typically done through using Bluetooth technology just like your home electronic equipment.
Some people think the phone apps work better because it's more of a visual representation and easier to figure out. Others prefer the waterproof handheld remote controls that come with the motor.
Trolling motors have really advanced in the last ten years. Some of them have become quite sophisticated and offer really impressive and helpful features.
Some models have an autopilot function that allows you to navigate along a specific route that was already pre-planned or created as a series of waypoints. This takes any guesswork out of finding fishing spots you were at before and want to return to.
Some advanced models have an internal GPS (Global Positioning System) and can sense your exact location when you set a virtual anchor. The motor will keep you in that position by adjusting the motor's controls for as long as you need it to.
Some motors have an automatic raise feature where you just push a button and your engine will raise up out of the water without any help from you needed.
How to Choose the Right Trolling Motor for Your Boat
In order to make sure you choose the right trolling motor for your boat and your specific needs you'll have to do a lot of research online about this topic. It's good that you started here with us because we give you a general overview of the types of trolling motors available to you.
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What brand is the Prowler trolling motor?
The brand is 'Bass Pro Shops®.' The Prowler® T55/40 trolling motor has 55 lb. of thrust, five forward and three reverse speeds for easy control. Moreover, the Prowler is equipped with a 3-blade prop and a 40-inch stainless steel shaft.
Who makes Bass Pro Shops Prowler trolling motors?
Bass Pro Shops makes the Prowler model trolling motors.
What size trolling motor do I need?
While some people will power their large boats with a small 55-pound thrust trolling motor, there is an equation that can help you come up with the power that you will need to push your boat through the water.
For every 100 lb. of weight, you should have 2 lb. of thrust. So a 55 lb. thrust electric trolling motor can handle a boat weighing up to 2750 lb. (with occupants). For a 4,000 lb. boat, you'll need a trolling motor that has 80 lb. of thrust.
How much does a Prowler trolling motor cost?
Prowler trolling motors are a good bargain for build quality and features for a small boat. The price is usually less than $500, a really good price.
How fast can you go with a 55 lb. thrust trolling motor?
Keep in mind that a trolling motor can only go as fast as it can go. It doesn't matter how much the boat weighs. That said, it will not be able to reach its top speed if the boat is too heavy. So typically a 55-pound thrust trolling motor can push about 5 mph at the maximum speed of a small dingy, Jon boat, gheenoe, canoe, or kayak.
With the trolling motor running at this maximum speed, it would take only about two hours for a deep cycle battery to go completely empty.
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