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jpiatkowski

iPILOT Trolling For Trout and Salmon

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I have seen many videos on the advantages of the iPilot, but no real info on my particular interest.  I have a 16' Tracker with a 60 hp Mercury and fish solo out of Olcott almost exclusively.  This can be challenging when trying to set riggers, dipsy's, and other lines all by myself.  As well as catching and netting fish.  Especially with a cross breeze or head wind.

 

I would like to attach the iPilot to my 12v 42# thrust Minn Kota to use in conjunction with my main motor.  At idle speed the 60 hp Mercury moves me just under 2 mph.  My thought is to use the main motor to provide the majority of the propulsion and the iPilot to add a little thrust and keep me on course at 2.4-2.7 mph for proper trout and salmon trolling.

 

Any thoughts or concerns?  Has anyone had experience with this?

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I have an I-Pilot Link and I have used it in the way you would like to.  It works OK but my set up is a little different which may influenced my results vs. the results you get.

 

My main motor is a 250 Verado that I can only throttle down to about 2.5 to 2.7 [email protected] 550 RPM with no wind or drift sock.  Into a breeze it will troll slower.  My experience was that in order for the I-Pilot to effectively steer the boat it had to provide some positive thrust, not just act as a steering guide.  To achieve this, it brought my trolling speed up above 3.0 MPH but it worked well keeping my boat on course.  Also be aware that unless the lake is reasonably flat, the motor will be lifting out of the water with every swell making this setup far less effective.

 

Bottom line is the I-Pilot will work as you describe you want to use it but only when conditions are right.    I also troll only with my I-Pilot when conditions allow and it works great then.

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What you are trying to accomplish would most likely work...

A friend has a i pilot mounted on the bow and runs his main engine at idle speed and the trolling motor powered just enough to keep speed...this also acts as a autopilot having a remote on a lanyard and not needing to be at the wheel...

His set up works very well, unless you want to head into 2 foot or taller waves then the trolling motor prop comes out of the water on waves losing propulsion but if you turned down wind, you can turn the main engine off and trolling motor down...

Give it a shot, there's a few people that have this set up and works well for them...

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Get the longest shaft available. I modified a Ram mount to hold the control head in place when i motor in and out of port in the waves.

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A friend of mine uses an iPilot on an 18' boat and loves it. It's a 24v unit and I believe a 72" shaft. Maybe he'll weigh in.

Edited by Big Water

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I also know a guy running a setup as such but he got the 36v 112 lb thrust ipilot and uses that solely when he doesn't want to use his big motor or wants to use it as autopilot. Expensive set up but works efficiently on an 18' glass boat!

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I have a 18 ft with a 24v 80lb thrust terrova with an ipilot with a 72 inch shaft. Its amazing and really has changed fishing for me. No more worrying about steering and tangling lines with two people in the boat trying to net a fish in 2-3 foot waves. Set your course and you are good to go. I have a 9.9 kicker that I set the speed close with, then fine tune it with the ipilot. It works great, even in 2-3 ft waves. I will say one thing though, get as big of a motor as the budget/wife will allow!!!! I have an 80lb thrust and wish I would have gotten the 112 lb thrust with a 36v system. In the 2-3 foot waves, you have to set the speed of the motor at about 50% or a little more in order to counter act the wind, if you are taking the wind head on. This can drain a 24v system in about half a day or less. In these conditions, I usually troll with the wind. In a nice calm day, or less than 1 ft, I can troll all day with no issues. 

 

My suggestion, minimum, get the 80 terrova with a 72 inch shaft/24v system. You will not regret this decision. There terrova 80 is the smallest you can get with a 72 inch shaft. This WILL stay in the water during all conditions. I think you will run out of battery before your morning trip is half over with a 42#/12v system. You will most likely have to run that motor full tilt in order to get it to respond the way you want it to and to be effective.

 

Hope this helps, if you have any other questions/concerns, let me know. I love my setup, but I do wish I would have went the next size up.

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Fished with this set-up this weekend over on Bay of Quinte. Kicker motor pushed the boat and the Minn Kota Terrova IPilot was the "auto pilot" and acted as a way to adjust speed by the tenth. I have two other friends who are using this set-up as well. It works well! Get the longest shaft you can get away with to help with when it gets choppy.

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I have a 20' Lund and use my Merc. 9.9 with my 101# thrust, 36V, Terrova with I-pilot regularly with great success. I can fish by myself, set lines, and net fish without going in circles.  I couldn't imagine fishing without it.

 

You may want to consider a 24 volt. A 12 volt would be ok for a few hours but, fighting wind and Lake O current, it will run your battery down pretty quickly.  I have a buddy who has a dump switch that charges his Terrova battery while his big motor is running.  That may be a cheaper option to consider. 

 

I would just recommend wearing an inflatable PFD while fishing alone.  A boat will get away pretty fast if you slip in and your by yourself.  Also, wear your lanyard on you just in-case that does happen, you can spin your rig back around to you.   

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I have an 18' Skeeter MX with a Terrova 80 and Yamaha F-150. My setup works fairly well. My biggest problem is trolling at slower speeds. I have to run the Terrova at a fairly high speed which runs my battery down fairly quickly. Otherwise it works great. It is not ideal in 2-3 footers though as others have said. I also have the i link installed which works well. The trolling motor, my humminbird 998 and trolling motor remote all talk to each other. I use it to do what they call "follow the countour." which means you can choose to troll at a specified depth. It will run your boat at that depth with absolutely nothing for you to do except fish. If I had it to do over, I would have bought the bigger Terrova. At the time I didn't think the extra cast was worth it. Now I do. I am also considering adding the hardware needed so that I can charge my trolling motor using my outboard. Good luck.

 

 

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