Best Spot Lock Trolling Motor: 2022‘s Expert Picks + Buying Guide

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Best spotlock trolling motor feature image

While the term was coined by Minn Kota, “spot lock” is now a commonly accepted selling point used by most trolling motor manufacturers. It is an extremely useful feature to have on a trolling motor for a variety of hobby and professional anglers, as it uses a set of GPS coordinates to keep your boat in a specific spot. 

The best spot lock trolling motor gives you the freedom to focus on fishing instead of maintaining your boat’s position. The accuracy of a spot lock can be as small as a few feet, and it can even be used in place of an anchor in most cases. Most trolling motors that have spot lock can keep the boat accurately positioned even in higher winds and strong currents.

Whether you are looking for your first spot lock trolling motor or you are looking for a trolling motor replacement or upgrade, this buying guide and spot lock trolling motor review list will cover a range of different brands and models to help you select the perfect trolling motor for your needs.

Best Spot Lock Trolling Motor: Quick Picks

Best Overall
Lowrance Ghost - Freshwater Trolling Motor
9.3

With up to 120 pounds of thrust and an extremely accurate GPS spot lock, the Ghost spot lock trolling motor is the best trolling motor overall, especially if you are using a mid to large sized bass boat.

It’s also quite versatile with the dual 24/36 volt power configuration, which provides enough thrust to get through even the most heavily weeded waterways.

Best for Kayak or Canoe
MotorGuide Xi3 Kayak Trolling Motor
9.1

With up to 55 pounds of thrust and a 36 inch maximum shaft length, the Xi3 trolling motor is one of the best spot lock trolling motor choices for kayak anglers.

If you have searched through other trolling motor models but haven't found the right one for you, consider the Xi3 trolling motor for all of your kayak, dinghy, and raft uses.

Best Value
Minn Kota PowerDrive Freshwater Trolling Motor
8.9

Offering extremely high quality components at a much more reasonable price, the Minn Kota PowerDrive is an outstanding trolling motor choice for anglers on a budget.

With up to 70 pounds of thrust, or are specifically looking for a spot lock trolling motor to act as an anchor during tournaments, the PowerDrive trolling motor can meet your needs.

The Best Spot Lock Trolling Motors: Full Reviews

Lowrance Ghost - Freshwater Trolling Motor
Lowrance Ghost - Freshwater Trolling Motor
Lowrance Ghost - Freshwater Trolling Motor
Our Score

Offering up to 120 pounds of thrust, the Lowrance Ghost spot lock is the best trolling motor for moving and maintaining the position of larger recreational fishing boats. An excellent trolling motor choice for bass fishermen, the spot lock Lowrance Ghost offers a low noise and low vibration brushless motor to not only increase overall efficiency, but to prevent scaring fish away from your chosen locations.

Able to run on both 24V and 36V systems, you’ll be able to adjust between a maximum of 97 pounds of thrust or ramp it up to a full 120 pounds depending on your needs. You’ll also find this extra 36V power allowance on the Lowrance Ghost helps you move smoothly through heavily weeded areas, as well as being able to securely maintain your spot lock in both high and variable current or wind conditions.

  • 360 degree breakaway mount with lift assist
  • Brushless motor with 24 and 36 volt capabilities
  • Convenient cable management system
Minn Kota PowerDrive Freshwater Trolling Motor
Minn Kota PowerDrive Freshwater Trolling Motor
Minn Kota PowerDrive Freshwater Trolling Motor
Our Score

While this bow mount trolling motor stands as one of the most affordable trolling motors on the market, it still offers Minn Kota’s high quality interior components and extremely durable exterior materials, as well as their i-Pilot powerful trolling motor key features.

 Whether you are casually fishing on the weekends or have made angling your profession, this Minn Kota PowerDrive trolling motor is the best budget option for new and experienced anglers, especially if they are focused on having i-Pilot Link GPS with universal sonar compatibility.

 Offering up to 70 pounds of thrust, with a weed resistant prop, you’ll have no trouble moving through most waterways with ease. Additionally, the i-Pilot GPS system can keep your boat spot locked to an accurate degree, letting you focus on fishing instead of navigation. Control options for this spot lock trolling motor include a durable wireless remote control, as well as smartphone integration for both Android and iOS devices.

  • Includes Minn Kota’s unique i-Pilot GPS system and anchor lock
  • Weed resistant propellor to prevent entanglement
  • Gas powered lift and deploy assistance lever

 

Garmin Force Spot Lock Trolling Motor
Garmin Force Spot Lock Trolling Motor
Garmin Force Spot Lock Trolling Motor
Our Score

Made by Garmin, one of the most respected names in fishing motors, electronics, and accessories; the Force trolling motor is a very suitable choice for small to mid-sized vessels looking for an easy to control and highly accurate spot lock trolling motor.

 This spot lock trolling motor includes a foot pedal which can be used to enable the spot lock function to serve as an anchor in both windy areas and strong currents. With a maximum thrust of up to 100 pounds, you won’t notice any issues in the accuracy of the Garmin Force when trolling behind schools of fish or using the anchor lock to secure yourself in one location.

 Another very useful feature with the Garmin Force anchor lock trolling motor is that you can control it via your smartphone with Bluetooth coupling. This gives you a variety of ways to easily control direction, speed, and anchoring without having to touch the trolling motor itself.

  • Dual power system at both 24 and 36 volt capabilities
  • Offering up to 100 pounds of thrust with a brushless motor
  • Versatile scissor mount as well as effective cable management
      

 

MotorGuide Xi3 Kayak Trolling Motor
MotorGuide Xi3 Kayak Trolling Motor
MotorGuide Xi3 Kayak Trolling Motor
Our Score

While this may not be as well-known of a brand as Garmin and Minn Kota, the Motorguide Xi3 bow mount trolling motor is the perfect choice for kayak anglers and those fishing from small dinghies and rafts. With a shaft of 36 inches, the Xi3 spot lock trolling motor is the perfect choice for mounting on the shallow draught of kayaks and canoes.

Not only can this freshwater trolling motor offers up to 55 pounds of thrust, but it also offers an extremely accurate and very reliable anchor lock function letting you anchor in a spot regardless of wind speed or current. If you’re following a school of fish or ready to stay on top of suspending target fish, this trolling motor is a great choice for your kayak.

  • Smaller size and lower weight for use on kayaks and dinghies
  • Producing up to 55 pounds of thrust for accurate spot lock
  • 36-inch shaft with directional changes controlled by remote
Minn Kota Ultrex Freshwater Trolling Motor
Minn Kota Ultrex Freshwater Trolling Motor
Minn Kota Ultrex Freshwater Trolling Motor
Our Score

One of the biggest draws to the Ultrex by Minn Kota is the ability to make minor adjustments to your spot lock with i-Pilot integration. For example, if you are holding in a certain location, but want to move just a slight amount to the west, you can simply use the jog functionality with i-Pilot on the Minn Kota Ultrex to smoothly move 5 feet to the west with just a push of a button or tap on the foot pedal.

 This helps fine tune your resting spot above fish schools, holding areas, spawning areas, and underwater structures with integration through universal sonar such as Humminbird and Lowrance.

 Additionally, with up to 100 pounds of thrust from this bow mount trolling motor, you won’t have any GPS sway or i-Pilot issues with accurate spot locking via GPS, even in a steady current or strong wind. This makes it one of the best trolling motors for rivers and coastal areas.

 The level of thrust on most Minn Kota trolling motors is also perfect for medium sized boats, making this spot lock motor the perfect choice for anglers that spend most of their time on bass boats. With the Minn Kota Ultrex, you’ll also have full control over the cable steering system with a foot pedal so you never have to get out of your seat in order to make adjustments to your spot lock.

  • Combination electric and cable steer hybrid
  • Extremely accurate spot lock button for high wind
  • Minn Kota Ultrex is perfect for anglers on a budget

 

Black Haswing Cayman Electric Trolling Motor
Black Haswing Cayman Electric Trolling Motor
Black Haswing Cayman Electric Trolling Motor
Our Score

If you’ve been looking at the PowerDrive or other expensive trolling motors but are hesitant due to the price, the Haswing Cayman GPS is a suitable alternative. Offering similar features to the PowerDrive including a 3-bladed weedless prop, as well as extremely accurate spot lock capabilities at a reduced price overall.

 This trolling motor is a suitable choice for anglers that love to switch between freshwater and saltwater fishing while still having full boat control and an accurate GPS anchor. You'll also find this freshwater and saltwater trolling motor has a shaft length that is perfect for small to mid sized bass boats.

 Additionally, when it comes to key features, you’ll find the Haswing Cayman GPS includes a wireless remote control as well as a wireless foot pedal to let you make direction and speed adjustments or activate spot lock without leaving your fishing chair.

 If that wasn’t enough, you’ll also have access to the Helmsman app as another one of the key features which lets you save preferred fishing spots, GPS waypoints, backwater pathing, and more. If you found a great location to catch fish, you'll be able to instantly head back there on your next fishing trip.

  • Includes an accurate mapping app from Helmsman
  • Triple bladed prop offers accurate spot lock and GPS anchor
  • Features a wireless foot pedal for easy control

 

Minn Kota Ulterra Trolling Motor
Minn Kota Ulterra Trolling Motor
Minn Kota Ulterra Trolling Motor
Our Score

The Ulterra wireless trolling motor from Minn Kota sets itself apart from other brands and models in the trolling motor industry by offering a fully automated deploy and stow system. With just the push of a button, you’ll be able to get the motor in the water or lift it out of the way without having to do it yourself physically.

As with all Minn Kota trolling motors, you’ll have access to the i-Pilot or i-Pilot Link GPS systems, letting you choose how to best link the Minn Kota electric motor with your chosen fish finder and transducer. 

Additionally, you’ll find up to 80 pounds of thrust from the Minn Kota Ulterra on just 24 volts and a shaft length of 60 inches, making it great for most standard to large-size bass boats. The Minn Kota Ulterra is a powerful GPS anchor trolling motor that includes all mounting hardware, plenty of cable for both bow and transom installation, and a foot pedal to provide easy motor adjustment from anywhere on the boat.

  • Includes Minn Kota’s i-Pilot Link system for universal sonar
  • Can create up to 80 pounds of thrust
  • Features an automatic deploy and auto-stow system
MotorGuide Xi5 Wireless Trolling Motor
MotorGuide Xi5 Wireless Trolling Motor
MotorGuide Xi5 Wireless Trolling Motor
Our Score

With a triple-bladed, mostly weedless prop and brushless motor, the Xi5 is a great choice for anglers who love to focus on freshwater fishing but still want accurate GPS capabilities. The Xi5’s pinpoint GPS can reach the same levels of accuracy as the better-known Minn Kota brand without carrying the same price tag.

The included wireless foot pedal lets you control the direction and speed of the trolling motor from your favorite fishing chair or enclosed cabin. It also allows you to decide whether or not you want to keep moving or initiate a spot lock function to anchor silently on top of a school of fish.

  • Prop features three blades for more weed resistance
  • Versatile built-in transducer for most brand compatibility
  • Very accurate and reliable GPS spot lock system

 

Minn Kota Riptide Terrova Trolling Motor
Minn Kota Riptide Terrova Trolling Motor
Minn Kota Riptide Terrova Trolling Motor
Our Score

For saltwater-focused anglers, the Riptide Terrova from Minn Kota is an outstanding trolling motor to consider. Not only does it offer a solid 112 pounds of thrust, but the highly durable composite shaft can reach a length of up to 87 inches, making it perfect for larger fishing and pleasure vessels, pontoons, and fishing catamarans.

You’ll find a versatile i-Pilot Link system typical of Minn Kota trolling motors that can pair seamlessly with Humminbird electronics and other universal sonar, giving you highly accurate GPS spot lock capabilities even in high wind and strong current.

You’ll also be able to track and follow schools of fish with a high level of accuracy via the i-Pilot Link system to ensure you never miss a chance for a strike, all of which can be adjusted easily via the wireless remote control.

  • i-Pilot Link system for Humminbird integration
  • Up to 112 pounds of thrust for larger vessels
  • Extremely durable composite shaft up to 87 inches

 

    Choosing a Spot Lock Trolling Motor

    Spot lock trolling motor
    Spot lock trolling motors allow you to keep your boat stock still

    Thrust

    The amount of thrust you need will depend on the size of your boat. Choosing a trolling motor that is underpowered will not provide accurate spot lock positioning and can reduce the efficiency of traveling around the lake or waterways.

    In general, for every 100 pounds of weight for your fully loaded boat, a trolling motor should offer no less than 2 pounds of thrust. This amount of thrust should be increased by 30% if you will be doing a lot of fishing and spot lock anchoring in high wind or heavy current locations.

    Quietness

    Having a trolling motor that is not only powerful enough to move your boat but quiet as well can be important. Not only do motor sounds disturb fish and potentially scare them away from otherwise successful fishing spots, but louder motors can also cause more vibrations which can have detrimental effects on your sonar accuracy.

    While most trolling motors will have variable volumes when it comes to motor sounds and vibrations, there are a few models on the market which put focus on silent running capabilities. If you are looking for extremely quiet trolling motors, it may take a bit more time and effort during your search.

    Efficiency

    When it comes to efficiency, you want a trolling motor that not only has variable power input but can also have an adjustable output to suit your needs. Many trolling motors can be run on both 24 and 36-volt batteries, while some may be limited to one or the other. 

    Efficiency can not only improve your saltwater trolling motor longevity but can also help by improving spot lock accuracy. If you are looking for a highly efficient anchor lock trolling motor, you may want to focus on the more well-known brands such as Minn Kota and Garmin.

    Ease of Use and Controls

    The best spot lock trolling motor is generally easy to use in and of itself, but controls can play a huge role in just how easy it will be. For example, if you have a transom-mounted trolling motor but are fishing off the bow, you don’t want to be forced to return to the trolling motor each time you need to make adjustments.

    That’s where remote controls and foot pedals come into play for an anchor lock trolling motor. These two extremely handy devices can make directional and speed adjustments with your trolling motors on the fly without you having to get up and move around the boat, causing extra noise or potentially falling overboard.

    Price

    Like most boat accessories and necessities, trolling motors can be found in a huge range of prices. Smaller motors suitable for kayak and dinghy use will be much more reasonable and better suited for anglers on a budget, while larger and more powerful trolling motors can potentially set you back a thousand dollars or more depending on the brand, model, and features.

    The manufacturer can also play a large role in the overall price of the anchor lock trolling motors. Well-known brands such as Garmin and Minn Kota will carry higher prices than lesser-known brands.

    However, if you are on a budget, don’t overlook the lesser-known brands. In some cases, they can offer the same high-quality components and most basic features while saving you hundreds of dollars. You may also be able to find brand names such as Minn Kota in repaired or refurbished quality for a much lower price.

    Bow Mount or Transom Mount

    Trolling motors can be mounted in a variety of places on your boat, but transom and bow mounts are the most common. For trolling motors that offer spot lock capabilities, bow mounting is generally the most acceptable spot.

    This location keeps your boat angled into the wind, which helps reduce onboard sway and rocking from waves or wakes. It’s also much better for accurate spot lock in high wind situations since the aerodynamics of the boat are much better when the bow is pointing into the wind.

    Shaft Length

    Each trolling motor will have different shaft lengths, and the shaft length you need will depend on your boat. Measurements for shaft lengths are normally done from the bow of your boat to the waterline or just below it, with the addition of 10 to 12 inches as this is the depth you normally want your trolling motor prop to remain.

    As a general example, if your boat has a 28-inch measurement between the bow and the surface of the water, you would aim for a trolling motor with a 53-inch shaft. Ensuring your trolling motor shaft measurement is correct will help prevent the prop from coming above the waterline in waves and wake water while also preventing bottom scraping and mud churning from being too deep.

    For anglers fishing from a kayak, a shaft length of no more than 36 inches is normally perfect. For those in standard bass boats, a 40 to 55-inch shaft is suitable. For larger fishing boats and pleasure vessels, as well as those that will be frequently fished in the ocean, shafts up to 87 inches in length are not uncommon.

    Which Models Have Spot Lock?

    Best spot lock trolling motor feature image
    Not every trolling motor model has spot lock

    Lowrance

    Minn Kota

    Garmin

    Motorguide

    Final Thoughts on Choosing a Spot Lock Trolling Motor

    Spot lock trolling motor 1
    Big brands offer quality, but don’t overlook lesser brands if you are on a tight budget

    With so many trolling motor choices on the market, it may be difficult to find the perfect one for your needs – especially if you are new to spot lock technology or are looking for all the features. But we hope this review list and buying guide helped you understand the importance of different features and shaft lengths and how they may pertain to you and your unique needs.

    Most modern boats equipped with a wireless trolling motor that can assist with boat control and GPS anchor lock via remote control or foot pedal can easily improve your overall fishing experience. You won’t be spending your time making adjustments to the trolling motors and will instead be able to stay focused on fishing.

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    AUTHOR
    Jeff Knapp is an expert fisherman, guide and outdoor writer whose work is widely published across a range of sites including Tackle Village.