The Minn Kota Terrova Trolling Motor
A technologically-advanced motor with 80-pound-thrust, a 60-inch shaft and i-Pilot
Before I review my new trolling motor, I should explain what led me to pick this model. I own a Bass Tracker PT190 aluminum bass boat that I purchased new back in 2007. At the time of the purchase, I was told by some bass fishing friends that I should upgrade the trolling motor from the stock 46-pound-thrust, cable-steer, short-shaft Motorguide. I did not take the advice. I figured it was a fairly light boat and the stock trolling motor would be good enough.
I was wrong. Even with this lightweight boat, a strong wind makes staying on fish and holding on drop-offs a struggle. Throw in some big waves and the trolling motor prop comes out of the water, which makes a crazy noise and trying to maintain a course impossible. Fishing all day in the “Captain Morgan” position with one leg up to steer and control the trolling motor also makes for a long day and sore back.
After doing a lot of reading and picking the brains of some local bass pros, I made my new trolling motor choice: a Minn Kota Terrova with 80-pound thrust, 60-inch shaft and i-Pilot GPS functionality.
While waiting for my new motor to be delivered, I watched every video on YouTube that showed the operation and installation of the Terrova. I knew the motor was just what I wanted, but the installation made me a bit nervous; you see, I’m no boat mechanic.
When the motor arrived, I noticed the shipping box was huge and heavy. This motor was certainly a big upgrade from what I had before. After reading the instructions a few times, I found they were fairly basic, so I put together a list of things I needed to do the install. Since this is a 24-volt system and my old one was 12-volt, I needed another 12-volt deep-cycle marine battery. I also needed a battery tray, a 60-amp circuit breaker and an adapter plug to power up the motor.
The first thing I did was remove the old motor. Then I set the new one on the deck to figure out where to mount it. Getting the overhang correct is vital and it’s also important to make sure the head of the unit doesn’t stick out past the boat in the stow position. I had to change the angle because of the added shaft length. Drilling some holes and installing the washers, bolts and lock nuts is all there is to this part. That said, it did take a good amount of time. Be careful – you only want to drill holes one at a time. Installing the lock nuts was a challenge because of the limited space on my boat.
Now to the 24-volt part of the install. Having just purchased a new starting battery and a deep-cycle battery, I just needed one more. From what I’ve read, the two deep cycles should be the same size and age. The connection is simple. The - post of battery one is hooked to the - cable. The + post of battery two is hooked to the + cable. Then connect the other two posts with a short cable and we have 24 volts.
I also installed the recommended 60-amp Minn Kota circuit breaker to replace what I had. Be careful if you have a charging system – the connections have to go to one battery at a time. You can’t route them like the cables for 24 volts. After that, connecting the adapter plug to power up the motor completed the job.
Because I already had a mess going, I also purchased an adapter plug for my Lowrance so I could use the built-in transducer (Universal Sonar 2) of the Terrova. This was just a simple plug and play.
The Terrova install went easy, and I believe most anglers can handle it with no issue.
Okay, now the good stuff: How does it work?
After launching my boat at a local lake, I felt a strong gusty wind. This was a good way to test the Terrova. After motoring away from the launch with my outboard, I lowered the trolling motor, which is as simple as pushing a lever and easing the motor up and down where it locks in. Next, I turned on the Lowrance fish finder and found the built-in transducer was working perfectly.
I then tried the electric-steer foot pedal and the learning curve on it was short. Besides the usual controls, the pedal also has three buttons at the back: left steer, momentary on and right steer. On the left side of the pedal are buttons for AutoPilot and constant on. The motor turned easily with sort of an electric hum, and the speed control was smooth. I had no problem adjusting the steering and power with the sole of my shoe. I fell in love with the back buttons – a simple toe tap to change directions. It’s nice that once the motor is turned, it stays where it’s pointed (unlike my old cable-drive motor).
The Terrova can also be operated by using the included remote instead of the foot pedal. I wore the remote around my neck using the lanyard – you can also clip it to your belt with the included clasp.
The first i-Pilot function I tried was Spot-Lock. This feature is great. With the touch of a button, the motor went to work keeping the boat on the desired spot. Even with the strong wind and a bit of current, my boat never strayed more than a few feet off the spot. I used this time to get my rods out of the locker without worrying about drifting into shore. This feature would also be perfect for setting up over that spot of structure or drop-off that you want to cover. I’m sure I will use this feature when fighting and landing a fish, too. It will also come in handy to stop you, so you can store a point on your GPS.
With the Terrova i-Pilot you can record up to three tracks and have the boat retrace its steps forward or backward on the same route. To try out this feature, I picked a shallow shoreline with lots of boats, docks and lily pads. Covering the fishing structure was like going through a maze. After I was done, I had the motor take the route back to the start point. Using the i-Pilot’s built-in GPS, it worked perfectly, following the course I had just made. I was able to bring in a few nice bass with my concentration on fishing and not steering.
Another feature I loved was that the remote shows how fast your boat is moving. I used it to find out how fast the 80-pound-thrust Terrova could move my boat. It showed 3.9 mph against the wind and current with the power/thrust turned up to ten.
I’m sure I’ll be learning more about the Minn Kota Terrova with i-Pilot and finding new ways to maximize its features. So far I love it and regret not making the investment earlier.
So what’s the bad? I have no complaints right now. It works as great as I hoped. I do have to be aware though, that with the 60-inch shaft, it sticks up higher than my old short-shaft motor. I also have to be careful when casting. This is not a bad thing; however, because the extra shaft length will come in handy when I lower it down into big waves. The extra power of the 80 pounds is also nice.
My friends were right when I purchased the boat – go big or go home.
For more information, please visit http://www.minnkotamotors.com/.
Review written by Gary Elliott, facilitator of www.Facebook.com/GarysOutdoorNewsandReviews and @garys_outdoor_news_and_reviews.