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Thread: Trolling without a kicker motor

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    Member Micky_Ireland's Avatar
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    Default Trolling without a kicker motor

    I am aware that the underlying reason for using a kicker is to keep the hours down on the main engines / power plant. In the event that there is no kicker , is it still possible to run a single engine ( assuming a 2 engine power plant ) for trolling ? Im quite sure that it is possible . What is the pros and cons of this ?

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    Edited/deleted because I didn't read your post closely enough.

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    Last year the tiller on my friends boat broke during the peak of the silver run here in Juneau. We trolled with the main outboard for about the rest of the season. The biggest downfall was sometimes not being able to get as slow as we wanted, and the other was the fuel consumption. We still caught plenty fish though.

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    Most of my experience is with outboards, so this answer may not be terribly useful for you:

    The only significant con's I can think of in using a main motor for low speed trolling is 1) lower fuel economy, 2) running up engine hours, 3) carbon buildup in the cylinders at low idle speeds for extended periods. In a 2-cycle motor, you tend to build up unburnt oil in there as well at those speeds. However, running the motor(s) at normal cruise afterwards should clear most - if not all - of that crud out of the exhaust.

    One pro is that you have the power of that main engine ready to go instantly should you need it, as its already running.

  5. #5

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    I use one of my 250 verados to troll in my 30ft charter boat. Works fine, and I can fine tune the RPMs on the Verado to get the right speed. I alternate engines every other day. Pros would be greater control in wind/current. Cons would be the amount of hours you put on your engines. But, I don't have a kicker on my boat anyways, so I always have an engine running even when I'm mooching.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Some boats won't go slow enough to troll on the main motor, that would be the primary reason for running a dedicated kicker vs. a main. The issue is if you have a larger boat with a pilothouse and single helm, it's almost impossible for the captain to run the boat and fish. If you're at the stern with a kicker, or have a second helm on the fish deck then you can run the boat and grab a rod when it has a takedown.
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    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    All day everyday on my main with no problem, look at the boys on the Great Lakes, you won't see main kickers at all. If she runs a little fast like mine, I clutch in at about 4.5kts, so I drop 2 36" buddy bags, holds me at 2.5kts all day. They also hold you down in the water and make the boat less tender when trolling in the trough. You will burn more fuel on your main, but I only burn .58gph trolling on the diesel. The newer outboards should have no problems doing this, 2004 90hp 2 stroke would run fine all day as well, it burned 1gph on average. Make sure that at the end of the day come up on plane slowly to give that carbon buildup a chance to burn off before putting the hammer down.

    As far as running the gear and driving, auto pilot. He doesn't backtalk like I did to my old man Conditions/crowds allowing of course.

  8. #8

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    yep, drogue will solve speed problems.

    I trolled exclusively on my 150hp Yamaha 4 Stroke. I know guys who trolled full time with the 150, and pushed 5-7k hours with those engines.

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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    I trolled on my 1991 Merc 90hp 2stroke on my 18 foot boat up until last year with no issues.
    I now have a shiny new 115hp 4stroke I am using. I do have a kicker but it is there in case of issues with the main.
    I can troll down to about 1.9MPH on the 115 plus I have the Smartcraft set up and can dial in trolling speed digitally.

    I did have a couple of days last year where I did need to go slower and the lake was flat calm (I was trolling a 4" buzz bomb on bottom in 70 FOW for lakers) and I used my bow mount trolling motor to get down under 1MPH so I could keep in contact with the bottom.

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    They make drop down trolling plates, that are used all the time trolling on the Great Lakes. It's just a plate that goes behind the prop and slows it down. Do they not have these up there?

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    My first boat was a 22' Aurora with a 90 h.p. Honda.
    I now run a 22' SeaSport with a 5 liter inboard.
    Both have done fine for trolling. Use the trim tabs to control the speed, the trim or towing a 5 gallon pail.

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  12. #12
    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by live4chrome View Post
    They make drop down trolling plates, that are used all the time trolling on the Great Lakes. It's just a plate that goes behind the prop and slows it down. Do they not have these up there?
    Need to be careful on those, some have caused issue with thru hub exhausting, can't remember what, just know they did. Fogetting to pull it up when putting the power down could cause issues too. Not of the GL guys use them anymore, in the 15yrs I worked the the lakes, fewer and fewer use them.
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  13. #13

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    I was going to say the same thing as 270. I have the same set up but I have twin 200s. Works great.

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    Member jrogers's Avatar
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    Mickey,

    I agree with the statement that you can do it on the main, but it looks like everyone that is doing it has two mains. I think your original post was about a single main. In this case a kicker server dual purpose. If an issue arises on your one main, you are not stuck. My kicker will push my boat at 4.5kts and will get me home or out of harms way in most cases. I saw a boat last summer way out and having to get a commercial tow back in. That one tow would have paid for his kicker.
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    Member Micky_Ireland's Avatar
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    jrogers,

    Fantastic answer. That puts it all in perspective. The economic cost is negligible. Thanks from ireland

  16. #16
    Member Anythingalaska's Avatar
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    Besides the hours, trolling on the main gets you closer to your 100hr oil change, which at over $100 a change, is expensive. It's easy to run up the hours trolling for a few days!

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