Retrofiting a Rhodan GPS Trolling Motor onto Your Boat

Trolling motors are considered standard equipment on many of today’s flats and bay boats, but as technology has changed so have the trolling motors. Many boats already have hand controlled trolling motors installed on the bow. While these will get the job done, they are nowhere near as versatile as GPS controlled motors, commonly called GPS anchors.

The new GPS trolling motors offer many features that the old motors did not. In addition to moving the boat from one location to another with a single push of a button, the new motors will maintain the boat in a specific location and hold that location regardless of wind and current within reason. While no trolling motor can keep the boat in place in a 20 knot wind very well, as long as you have battery and it can see the sky it will keep you in one spot. Gone are the days of re-anchoring five times to try and land the boat over a single rock. Now you can deploy the motor, watch the fish finder and when you see the structure you want to fish on the screen you just push a button. It is that easy. Everybody loves the new technology and most boat owners want to upgrade to this new type of trolling motors but the newer trolling motors are a little wider than the old versions, making mounting them on some hulls difficult. The wider foot print has kept a lot of fishermen from enjoying the technological advances. With a little work, most boats can be retrofitted to use the newer trolling motors and look like they came from the factory that way.

Replacing a Trolling Motor

Lands End Marina’s service department recently completed a project where we installed a new trolling motor on a boat that did not initially look to have enough space,width wise, on the front deck to upgrade the trolling motor. The first thing that needed to be done was to remove the old motor, the pop-up cleat, the navigation light base and an anchor pulpit that someone had mounted at an angle across the bow. The pulpit was not necessary and provided a good location to move the cleat to. It was also in line with the rope exit in the anchor locker which helped to keep the anchor rope away from the trolling motor when the anchor was deployed and the motor was stowed. That left us with a big hole where the pop up cleat came out of right in the middle of the front deck. That hole was fiberglassed over in several stages to fill the hole gradually. Filling the hole too quickly can lead to cracking down the road. The hole was filled in approximately ½ inch layers allowing it to completely cure between applications.

Luckly, the whole boat had a non skid free stripe that started on the back deck, carried across the floor, up the front deck and stopped short of the bow. It is hard and time consuming to try and match an existing non skid finish so we decided to extend the stripe all the way to the tip of the bow. This was done by sanding the non skid around the hole from the cleat before the repair and then gel coating both the repair and our new extended stripe. The plug was installed close to the motor to keep it out of the way and avoid the possibility of it getting caught in the anchor rope. The completed worked looked like the boat was designed that way with a pop up cleat that was actually in the right spot and a new GPS trolling motor on the front of the boat that will open up new fishing opportunities.

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    The anchor pulpit was removed and replace with the pop-up cleat.By putting it in the same spot we hid the damage from the pulpit.

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    Sanding the non-skid finish and filling the original pop-up cleat hole.

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    The area was filled, sanded, and re-gel coated. We extending the stripe from the front deck across the bow to conceal repairs.

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    The Rhodan GPS Trolling Motor is mounted and wired with a new plug close to the mount to keep from having a cord underfoot.

While not every boat is a good candidate for a retrofit, with a little creativity many of them can take advantage of the new technology, remain functional and look good at the same time. Stop by Lands End Marina’s service department or give us a call to see how we can help add or update new features to your boat.

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