What’s the Proper Shaft Length for Pontoon Boat Trolling Motors

In summary, if you want to put your trolling motor on the bow of your pontoon boat, you’ll generally require a 60-inch (152.4-centimeter) shaft, but there are a lot of factors to consider before using that general rule. Most pontoon boats could get away with a 48-inch shaft, but it’s always wise to go a bit longer than you think you’ll need. The most popular trolling motor shafts for pontoon boats are 55′′ and 60′′.

Shaft Length Selection: A General Rule

The distance from where the motor will be positioned (typically the top of the deck) to the water is the criterion I normally use. Then add 18 to 22 inches to the total (46 to 56 centimeters).

Important Factors to Consider

1. Positioning

The first thing to consider when deciding on the shaft length of a trolling motor for your pontoon boat is where you’ll put it. You may put it on the bow, which is the most frequent option. Another option is to park at the back. Finally, your trolling motor might be mounted directly on the main motor.

There is no right or wrong way to make this decision, but there are a few things to think about.

If you want to put the trolling motor on the bow of the pontoon boat, you’ll probably need a longer shaft length because the bow is nearly always higher than the remainder of the boat, even if the boat is balanced well.

2. Clearance

Some pontoon boats allow plenty of room in front of the bow fence for walking and putting a trolling motor. Other pontoons have no room between the fence and the front edge of the bow. Before performing a bow mount, you may need to make considerable adjustments to your boat, depending on the type.

You may need to cut and bend the front gate on the bow of your boat if you want to bow mount your trolling motor (after all, it’s simpler to drag a rope than it is to push it). This can be done without being unsightly or requiring excessive effort, but it is a project that must be completed.

If you don’t want to pay to have your front gate altered (which is rather common and affordable), you’ll probably want to put your trolling motor in the back of the boat, where it will be lower and need a shorter shaft length.

3. Conditions of the water

If you’ll mostly be on lakes or rivers that do not have excessive waves, then you can usually get away with a slightly shorter shaft length.  On larger bodies of water where chop in the water can sometimes be extreme, then a longer shaft length will be required.

Err on the Side of Too Long

The vast majority of anglers wish they had purchased a trolling motor with a larger shaft length. It’s quite typical to cut your hair too short. Without a doubt, getting a shaft that is too short is worse than getting one that is too long, but keep in mind that having a shaft that is too long stand up too high on the deck might be inconvenient.

How to Measure the Length of a Shaft

The trolling motor shaft is measured from the top of the propeller housing to the bottom of the head. You’ll receive the wrong size if you measure this improperly, so be careful. Fortunately, any reputable trolling motor will list the shaft length right on the packaging, so you won’t have to worry about it, but knowing the distance will help you visualize how far down the shaft sticks from the boat’s bottom.

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