Within days of each other, marine electronics manufacturers Garmin and Lowrance both entered into the freshwater trolling motor market. Both motors will be on display at this year's International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST) in Orlando, Fla., July 10-12.
Garmin Force Trolling Motor
Garmin announced its new Force trolling motor, which offers a brushless motor, allowing the motor to operate with almost undetectable levels of sonar and steering noise both below and above the water. The motor also includes built-in Garmin CHIRP traditional and Ultra High-Definition ClearVü and SideVü scanning sonars.
Force's motor operates at either 36V or 24V. When running at 24V, Garmin claims that Force delivers comparable thrust to competitors’ 36V motors.
The built-in transducer is user serviceable, and the cable management system protects the built-in transducer cables as well as additional accessories, including the full range of Panoptix and Panoptix LiveScope sonars.
For navigation, wireless integration with a Garmin chartplotter and built-in autopilot functionality allow anglers with Force to get to the fish faster and stay in that same location while they fish. Thanks to its integrated heading sensor and GPS, Force offers virtual anchor lock to help anglers lock their boat onto their fishing spot. From the chartplotter, users can create routes to their favorite waypoint and follow tracks while they go. Anglers can set their track, or select a suggested Auto Guidance route, and the Force will move them along the course.
For control, Force can be controlled by a foot pedal, with adjustable pedal resistance, foot-actuated buttons for speed control, heading and anchor lock. The pedal can be powered wirelessly using AA batteries, or wired with the included power cable. The motor can also be controlled via the included wireless remote.
“The trolling motor is one of the most critical pieces of equipment on a freshwater fishing boat, and it can single-handedly be the difference between a good or bad day on the water,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin worldwide vice president of consumer sales. “As a new player in the trolling motor market, Garmin is dedicated to delivering a motor that’s as innovative as it is reliable, yet still whisper quiet.”
Lowrance Ghost Trolling Motor
Navico's Lowrance also officially launched its new freshwater trolling motor, the Lowrance Ghost.
The Ghost system also features a newly-designed brushless motor and integrated sonar options from Lowrance and waypoint anchoring.
Ghost offers two integrated sonar nosecone options, including HDI (CHIRP and DownScan Imaging) and optional Active Imaging 3-in-1 (CHIRP Sonar, SideScan and DownScan Imaging) transducers.
Ghost is designed to work in either 24- or 36-volt systems with up to 97- and 120-pounds of thrust, respectively, and allows for future battery and charger upgrades.
Users can steer, adjust speed, set up route navigation or anchor at a current location with touchscreen control from a Lowrance display using the SmartSteer interface. Ghost allows for pairing with HDS LIVE, HDS Carbon and Elite-Ti2 displays via a NMEA 2000 connection.
Fly-by-wire steering control gives Ghost the feel of a cable-steer motor without the mechanical cables. The pedal can be customized to suit any preferences with programmable shortcut buttons and a Flip Switch that can be moved to allow the trolling motor to be engaged from either side of the pedal. The mode buttons have LED lights and an indicator beep to provide feedback when a mode is engaged. The foot control also features a battery-level indicator.
The 360-degree breakaway mount is designed to take the brunt of any impacts and will automatically realign itself once clear of impacted structure. A composite shaft assists in with standing impacts, and an integrated stabilizer bar reduces bouncing when on plane in rough water. The foot pedal cable is secured to the mount with robust clips, preventing it from moving around on the deck, damaging rods and reels and blocking the view of fishfinders installed nearby.
Ghost is currently available in a 47-inch shaft model, however Lowrance stated future shaft-length options are coming soon.
“Because Ghost is Lowrance's first trolling motor, we started completely from scratch, which gave us a unique opportunity to ask anglers what was most important to them in a trolling motor,” said Lucas Steward, Navico’s Trolling Motor Product Group Owner. “To get the quality we needed, we had to design and build it in-house. That resulted in the production of a trolling motor that delivers exactly what our consumers want: the most power, greatest efficiency and quietest performance – the ultimate trolling motor versatile enough to fit any bass boat.”