I love trolling! Number one, I find that I catch a lot of fish just slowly cruising the lake and watching my fish finder. It’s also a relaxing way to unwind and enjoy my favorite pass-time.
If the question ‘can you use a freshwater trolling motor in saltwater’ hangs in your head, look no further. With their ability to allow you to move at slow consistent speeds across the water, trolling motors give your bait or lure the right action while operating quietly to ensure that you don’t scare the fish away. They are an important (and sometimes expensive) piece of equipment so it’s good to keep them in the best shape.
Yes, you can use a freshwater trolling motor in saltwater, but it may not withstand the corrosive effects of salt and may require more maintenance to prolong its life. It is recommended to use a saltwater-specific trolling motor for prolonged use in saltwater environments.
This guide hopes to give you a quick overview of all you need to know.
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The Difference Between Freshwater and Saltwater Trolling Motors
Freshwater and saltwater trolling motors are designed for different environments. Freshwater trolling motors like this on on Amazon, are built for use in freshwater lakes, rivers, and streams and are typically less expensive. Their internal parts and lubricants are not built to withstand the harsh corrosion that can occur in salt environments.
Saltwater trolling motors, on the other hand, are built to withstand the corrosive effects of salt and saltwater environments, but are typically more expensive. Saltwater-specific trolling motors have special coatings and materials to prevent corrosion and rust, and are designed for extended use in saltwater environments.
What Happens to a Freshwater Trolling Motor If You Use It in Saltwater?
If you use a freshwater trolling motor in saltwater, it can cause corrosion and rust to form on the metal components, affecting the motor’s performance and reducing its lifespan.
Saltwater is highly corrosive and can cause damage to the electronics, wiring, and other parts of the motor.
Using the trolling motor in the wrong conditions can lead to
- Rusting and other corrosion
- Reduced lifespan
- Poor performance
- General malfunctions
- or complete failure.
To prevent this, it is important to maintain your freshwater trolling motor properly when used in saltwater environments and consider using a saltwater-specific trolling motor.
Ways to Protect Your Freshwater Trolling Motor After Using It in Saltwater
Considering how 71% of the earth is covered in salt water, it’s entirely possible for there to be a need of using your freshwater trolling motor in saltwater.
In such cases, there are some ways to make sure you don’t cause too much damage to the freshwater trolling motor and prolong your motors lifespan.
Rinse the motor with fresh water
After each use in saltwater, rinse the motor thoroughly with fresh water to remove salt and debris.
Grease It Down
Firstly, keep in mind that it’s advisable to thoroughly coat all the exposed parts of your trolling motor in clear grease. This grease forms a protective layer between the appliance and the water, preventing it from the brunt of harm.
Give It a Good Wipe-Down
Moreover, it’s always a good idea to make the effort to thoroughly wipe down your trolling motor after use, preferably after giving it a good rinse with fresh water. This applies to saltwater trolling motors as well as even they aren’t immune to the effects of salt in the long term.
Use corrosion inhibitors
Apply a corrosion inhibitor to metal components to slow down the corrosion process.
Avoid Exposing It to the Salty Water for Too Long
In addition to this, you should take care that your freshwater trolling motor doesn’t stay submerged in saltwater for longer than necessary.
Prolonged exposure to salty conditions can cause serious damage to a freshwater trolling motor, even if you give it a good rub down after the expedition. A new freshwater trolling motor can easily corrode in prolonged salty water conditions within a year.
Keeping these precautions in mind will surely help you protect your fishing companion and only then can you use a freshwater trolling motor.
Choosing the Right Trolling Motor
A good trolling motor has the following characteristics:
- Thrust: A high-thrust motor is necessary to propel the boat effectively in different water conditions.
- Speed Control: A trolling motor should have precise speed control to allow the user to move the boat at a steady pace.
- Shaft Length: The length of the shaft is important as it affects the depth at which the motor operates and the clearance from the bottom of the boat.
- Durability: The motor should be built to withstand regular use and the harsh conditions of saltwater or freshwater environments.
- Quiet Operation: A good trolling motor operates quietly, allowing the angler to approach fish without spooking them.
- Battery Life: A trolling motor should have a long battery life, so you don’t have to stop fishing to recharge.
- Ease of Use: The trolling motor should be easy to install, operate, and maintain.
- Reliability: A good trolling motor should be reliable and have a solid warranty.
By considering these characteristics, you can find a trolling motor that is right for your needs and provides a good fishing experience.
For the money, I really like the Newport NV-Series motor. It’s durable and has high marks on all of the items listed above.
The rational thing to do is consider how well suited a particular trolling motor is to your planned fishing trip.
Fishing trolling motors are used to find the ideal position for your boat over a body of water, to ensure you get the best chance of making a terrific catch.
The crucial difference between a freshwater trolling motor and saltwater trolling motor is the material used. The saltwater motor is built to withstand high salt exposure.
Though both trolling motors can be used interchangeably as their functions are the same, to increase their life it’s important to give them the right care by cleaning them regularly.