Is It Good To Mount A Transducer On A Trolling Motor? (Explained)
UPDATED 15 JANUARY 2022
by Eric Bartlett
Are you thinking about mounting the transducer of your fish finder on your trolling motor?
But before you do this, it’s important to understand both the advantages and disadvantages of this setup.
In this article we compare the pros and cons of mounting a transducer on a trolling motor, so you can decide if this is the right option for you.
Should you mount your transducer on your trolling motor?
While mounting a transducer on your trolling motor is a great option in many cases, it comes with both pros and cons when compared to mounting it in other locations. Let’s take a closer look at both the advantages and disadvantages of this type of setup.
- Transducer covers water column at the front of the boat
- Ideal for forward looking sonar
If you use a bow mount trolling motor, placing your transducer on it allows you to see what’s directly underneath while you’re fishing at the front of the boat.
This allows you to see both your lure and fish that are underneath you in real time, which is especially useful when you’re using a GPS anchor, since it allows you to see everything in the water column at the GPS coordinates that you’re targeting.
Also, if you mount a forward facing sonar on a bow mount trolling motor, this will automatically point your sonar cone forwards in the direction in which your trolling motor is pointing, which is great when targeting fish-holding structures (such as laydowns and brush piles) in front of your boat.
Many bass pros use a spot lock trolling motor with two transducers (one regular and one forward looking), which gives them a competitive edge when fishing from the front of their bass boat.
- Transducer can only be used when trolling motor is deployed
- Complex cable management
- Transducer is vulnerable to damage by rocks or mussel beds
The main disadvantage of a transducer mounted on a trolling motor is that it can only be used when the trolling motor is actively deployed in the water, but not when it is stowed. So if you want to use a fish finder while you’re driving around with your outboard to scan large areas of water, you’re better off using a different transducer mount.
Another disadvantage of a transducer mounted on a trolling motor is that the cable of your transducer is difficult to manage. For one thing, it easily gets pinched when the motor is stowed on its cradle, and secondly, you need enough slack cable to allow the motor to turn easily in all directions without being hindered by the cable.
And while there are ingenious cable management solutions (such as using an elastic spring to guide and protect the cable), the issue still remains a headache, compared to the simplicity of a transom mount.
Finally, when you mount a transducer at the bottom of your trolling motor, this puts it in a very vulnerable position if you ever scrape bottom with the trolling motor, which unfortunately happens quite often.
Can you use a transom mount transducer on a trolling motor?
Yes, you can use a transom mount transducer on a trolling motor, but will need to use a bracket specifically designed for this purpose, in order to attach it correctly.
Several trolling motor brands (including Minn Kota, Newport Vessels, and Lowrance), provide a transducer mounting kit which comes with a bracket that fits on the bottom of a trolling motor, and can be used to attach the transducer relatively easily.
Most transducer mounting kits are universal, meaning they work with all brands of transducers. Also, since they come with an adjustable metal hose clamp that can be cinched down, this enables you to adapt most brackets to multiple trolling motor brands.
Mounting transducer on trolling motor vs transom
The decision whether to mount your transducer on the transom or on the trolling motor depends primarily on where you like to fish from your boat. Ideally, the transducer should be as close as possible to that position.
So if you fish mostly off the back of the boat, a transom mount is best, but if you fish mostly off the front of the boat, it’s better to put the transducer on a bow mount trolling motor.
But keep in mind that a transducer mounted on a trolling motor only works when it is actively deployed in the water, while a transom mounted transducer works all the time, whether your trolling motor is stowed or deployed.
What kind of transducer can you mount on a trolling motor?
You can mount all major types of transducers on a trolling motor, including down imaging, side imaging, and forward looking transducers.
However, depending on the type of transducer you want to mount, you’ll need to place it in a different location on the trolling motor. Let’s take a closer look at the best places to put different types of transducers.
Where should you mount a transducer on your trolling motor?
In most cases, you’ll want to mount your transducer at the bottom of the trolling motor, either between the skeg and the propeller, or in front of the skeg (if the skeg is placed close to the prop). Make sure that it is far enough from the prop so that it isn’t affected by its rotation.
Which way should you face a transducer on a trolling motor?
A regular down imaging or side imaging transducer should face downward, which is why it’s best to mount it at the bottom of the trolling motor. Facing it downward also prevents the sonar beam from being obstructed by any part of your boat.
The main exception to this is when you want to use a forward looking fish finder on your trolling motor (such as Garmin Livescope or Lowrance Active Target), in which case the transducer needs to be attached to the side of the shaft. After attaching it to the shaft, you can either face it forward, or at a downward angle, depending on where you want to look with your sonar.
And similar to regular transducer mounting brackets described above, Garmin, Lowrance, and other companies provide a mount that is specifically designed to put a forward facing transducer on the shaft of a trolling motor, and which can be adapted for use with different brands.
Can you mount a transducer on the side of a trolling motor?
Yes, you can mount a transducer to the side of a trolling motor, but keep in mind that this may restrict the direction in which you can face the sonar cone. So wherever you choose to mount the transducer, make sure that the sonar will face where you need it to point while fishing.
For regular down imaging and side imaging transducers, it’s almost always best to mount them on the bottom of the trolling motor, as that allows them to face straight downward under the boat. However, with a forward looking sonar, mounting the transducer on the side of the shaft is usually the best option.
Can you put two transducers on a trolling motor?
Yes, you can put 2 transducers on a trolling motor, but it’s necessary to make sure that they face in different directions, so you don’t get sonar interference between them. The most common reason for using two transducers is when you want to mount a regular down/side imaging transducer on the bottom of the trolling motor, plus a forward looking transducer on the shaft.
If you do experience interference between the sonar cones of the two transducers, you may have to adjust the direction in which they are facing. In a case like that, it’s best to point your forward looking transducer forward at a very shallow angle, in order to avoid overlap of its sonar cone with the second transducer that’s pointing downwards.
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