The Minn Kota Ulterra is an incredibly popular trolling motor unit used by serious anglers today. Let’s take an in-depth look at this trolling motor and its features in this detailed Minn Kota Ulterra review.
The Ulterra Overview
Minn Kota is arguably the top and most trusted trolling motor brand in the market today, with a pretty robust and wide selection of trolling motor units that vary in price ranges from well priced base models like the Powerdrive and Endura to the Terrova and the subject of this review and overview article, the Ulterra.
The Ulterra is the high end trolling motor unit from Minn Kota boasting some seriously impressive technological features. It’s marketed towards the serious angler as well as fishing guides and the like, people who live to fish or do it for a living, and for fishermen with the large bass and walleye boats, and fishing where boat positioning is paramount.
The Ulterra and Ulterra Riptide
Features of the Riptide:
The Riptide is the saltwater variant of the Ulterra. If you’re a saltwater angler you are well aware of the corrosion issues that can be caused to your equipment. The Riptide features stainless steel components to help fight this corrosion, an advanced corrosion resistant painting process and sealed electrical connections. With the protection aspects of the trolling motor noted, it lacks many of the features of the normal Ulterra. It does not feature an LCD remote, or the built in sonar with mega down imaging that the normal Ulterra has. Other than these differences the features are the same.
Now you could use the regular Ulterra for saltwater but it is definitely not recommended. You would be seriously hampering the lifespan of your trolling motor, and corrosion would be much faster to critical components leading to failure.
Minn Kota Ulterra review: key features
Self stow and deploy
Possibly the coolest feature of the Ulterra is the stow and deploy capabilities. Using your remote control you can launch your boat and deploy the trolling motor immediately into anchor mode. Gone are the days of tying your boat up to docks and all that hassle, just back your truck in, let the boat float off, hit deploy, and park. It’s also very handy when hopping around the lake to different spots. You don’t have to pull up and stow the trolling motor by hand, and simply push a button to stow and go, with another button push to deploy when arriving at your destination.
The ulterra has built in mega down imaging that comes standard with the standard ulterra. This new down imaging sonar from Humminbird is amazing and gives you the clearest view of what’s below. Along with that you can also set up your trolling motor to integrate into the one-boat network.
Using the i-pilot feature with the one-boat network and Humminbird GPS and Sonar gives you a seamless combination of both GPS mapping and trolling motor functionality linking the two to use abilities like following specific depth contours, following waypoints, or anchor positioning.
Foot pedal and remote control
The foot pedal that comes with the Ulterra is large and ergonomic and features pedals for the stow and deploy feature, power trim, and spot lock, along with the standard pedal features found on most trolling motors.
The Remote control is incredibly efficient and high tech, allowing you to control your trolling motor from anywhere in the boat by simply pushing a few buttons. The remote control has a LCD screen to give you all information needed in regards to the trolling motor, and speed and steering control.
Battery options for the Ulterra are pretty straightforward. Depending on the thrust you need, this determines what voltage your trolling motor will be. Ulterra trolling motors range anywhere from 24 to 36 volts.
Pros and Cons
- Stow and Deploy
- Built in sonar
- One-boat network
- Remote key fob
- Very expensive
If you are a serious angler who lives and breathes fishing or are a fishing guide who is on the water regularly, the Ulterra is definitely your best choice, this is of course if you can afford it. The only real downside to this unit is the cost, which is around three thousand dollars for an 80 lb thrust variant according to Minn Kota’s website. This is why I mentioned earlier that this trolling motor is suited to the diehard angler who probably has a boat that needs something like the Ulterra.
While the article is primarily a Minn Kota Ulterra review, there are plenty of other trolling motor options on the market besides the Ulterra. Many from Minn Kota but also from other brands like Motorguide. These as mentioned in the beginning of the article vary in price and features from base transom mount models like the Endura, to middle of the road models like the Minn Kota Powerdrive or the Motorguide Xi3 and Xi5.
Trolling Motor FAQ
Why Fit a Trolling Motor?
Trolling motors are an essential part of fishing from a boat and have been for decades now. Trolling motors allow you to have a high amount of positioning capabilities when fishing small areas where casting precision is key. Along with being paramount to precision fishing, trolling motors are also great at helping cover water quickly when fishing areas such as flats or following long and complex weed lines.
Todays trolling motors like the Ulterra take it even further when it comes to these factors, using networking with GPS/sonar fishing units to allow the trolling motor to do the navigation in many cases more precisely than a human, and also using features like anchor to keep a boat in position even with high winds or current, by compensating for the drifting by using more thrust and changing direction.
How to Deploy a Trolling Motor
The standard trolling motor usually has a lever or latch that you must use and then manually deployed or stowed. As mentioned earlier in this article, this is not the case for the Ulterra, which has automated deploy and stow capabilities, making it completely hands off, and used either via remote control or by using the pedal.
What kind of batteries do I need?
Batteries are something that you don’t want to skimp out on and the best quality battery you can afford should be your choice. Deep cycle marine trolling batteries are also the type needed and can vary in amount needed based on your trolling motor’s thrust and power. In the case of Ulterra you will need 2 batteries for a 24 volt and 3 for a 36 volt setup.
How to Care for Your Trolling Motor
Most trolling motors don’t require a vast amount of maintenance typically, but there are a few things you should do to make sure you don’t have any issues. I have had trolling motors last a decade and this is actually pretty standard, I haven’t had to do much more than replace foot pedals in that time.
Be sure when moving from one spot to the other on the water that you always travel with the trolling motor stowed, flying across the lake at 35 or 60 MPH or the metric equivalent will put a massive load on the trolling motors shaft, as well as make the prop spin at incredibly high speeds, damaging the components of the motor. Even worse, your trolling motor could be constantly bashing into the hull of your boat. I have seen this happen on the water on multiple occasions from other boaters.
Making sure that your batteries are staged correctly with the 24 or 36 volt system is also important, and you should have fuses or breakers to prevent an electrical catastrophe. Once while rigging up a trolling motor to a new boat, I plugged it in only to see smoke billow out of the plug and melting the plastic, nearly giving me a heart attack. Not having the proper wiring setup and failsafes can and will fry out the boards in the trolling motor and also potentially damage your deep cycle batteries.
Pairing the Ulterra into your Humminbird one Boat Network
Pairing your Ulterra to your Humminbird GPS/sonar setup is actually pretty simple. It’s only one cable going from your trolling motor to your front unit. From there your cables go from unit to unit, etc. For a complete diagram of network wiring visit Minn Kota’s website, they have great diagrams showing you how to run your wiring for the one-boat network with your Ulterra.