View Full Version : Trolling motor, cable drive vs. electric foot pedal

08-06-2009, 05:50 PM
I am in need of a new bow mount trolling motor. I am trying to decide between staying with what I have, a Minnkota AutoPilot 65#, or go to a cable drive. The AP has also gone out on my motor as well, so I need to constantly stay with the control. Does anyone have experience with switching from one to the other?

08-06-2009, 06:00 PM
We run both and if the cable drive was mine it would be swimming with the fish. With my PD I can adjust easily and not have my foot on the pedal constantly like the Maxxum. The Maxxum seems to have a mind of its own once you get up over 30 on the power, won't hold a line for anything if theres gusty winds or boat wakes. If I was buying new today it would be a Terrova with AP.

08-06-2009, 06:50 PM
If you can find one you might want to look into a MotorGuide DS series motor. They have a rocker style foot pedal like a cable drive, but with electric servos controlling the motor so you dont get the feedback and torque in the pedal like a cable drive.

I'd be hard pressed to go to a Power Drive style foot pedal where you have to be looking at the motor to know how far you've turned. With the rocker style pedal, once you get used to it, you know how far you've turned the motor just by the position of the pedal.

I know Cabelas had some pretty decent deals on the DS's on closeout.

08-07-2009, 06:24 AM
I only switched from electric to cable because I wanted to fish more tournaments. There is no question that the electric is eaiser to use, you can place the pedal where you like, and the electric motor takes the abuse of the current, wind or higher speeds. I like it better all around except for the one thing....and that is that most of us have had these things fail and the cables do not. My guess is that if you looked at most tournament boats (walleye, musky, bass pros for sure)you would have a hard time finding anything but cables.

08-07-2009, 07:10 AM
i have used cable drive since 1986 and wouldn't use anything else, but that is what i am used to. I have tried friends who have electric and don't like them. I like the immediate response with cable and the fact that i can pull it out of the water with one hand as i get ready to blast a rock reef i forgot about on LOTW.

it all comes down to personal preference just like everything else in fishing.


08-07-2009, 01:58 PM
If you plan on using this trolling motor for mainly musky fishing, get a Minn Kota with the auto pilot feature. These trolling motors really fit how most musky fisherman fish. Almost all the musky guides and tournament anglers I know use these motors. However, there are a few dinosaurs out there that refuse to switch... Yes, these motors do need to be fixed once in a while, but so do the cable drive units. Do yourself a favor and get a unit with autopilot-especially if you fish in any kind of wind.


08-08-2009, 12:25 PM
I have used both. It depends on what type of water you fish. The AP (electric steer) work well if you fish large weed beds or open water. If you fish rocks and timber electric steer just does not respond quick enough to keep your boat out of harms way. You choose, it is your hull!
Good Luck:-)

08-09-2009, 09:40 AM
Minnkota Terrova AP . makes a days fishing much easier

08-09-2009, 07:26 PM
I definitely favor a cable drive. I've only used an electric on a couple of occasions on a buddies boat, but I find it tremendously more difficult to do precise steering. I do quite a bit of bass fishing down here, and there is no way I could maneuver around docks with an electric foot pedal. The motor guide cable drive on my dad's boat has 1O years on it with very little maintenance.

Big Swede
08-10-2009, 12:00 AM
Am caster only. Had couple of each. PD noisy, clumsy, slow. AP nice. Now use cable...Fortrex 36V...quite...easy...good feel...takes my abuse...more effort but no complaint.

08-10-2009, 07:50 AM
I wouldn't have a bow mount on my boat if it didn't have Auto Pilot. Tried a hand controlled bow mount, a cable controlled one on a friend's boat, and a different manufacturer's electric steer on another friend's boat. I'm on my 4th Auto Pilot now. First one is still running on a friend's boat, a 12V early version. 2nd one was a Genesis that was an abomination. The greatest motor I had ever used when it worked, which was unfortunately hardly ever. The factory gave me a good trade in on a new 24V Auto Pilot that is still running great on my old boat. The guys that run my old rig fell in love with the Auto Pilot. It increased their catch and enjoyment, letting them fish in ways they never could before. Now I've got a 24V Terrova and it has been outstanding. Smooth, quiet, great control and plenty of power for my fishing. No, I don't fish mine fields of stumps and boulders, but do fish both in less toxic concentrations without problems. Again, after running bow mounts since 1980, I wouldn't have a bow mount on my boat if it didn't have Auto Pilot.