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The Minn Kota Ultrex has been around for a few years and it still is a prime choice for anglers looking for a quality trolling motor. After using it for the past two years for all my fishing trips I am left impressed by the overall performance.
After a decade of fishing both inshore and offshore, I have realized that thrust isn’t the only priority while picking trolling motors. The features of the trolling motor play an important role too.
And in this regard, the Ultrex has plenty to offer when you are bass fishing. So, let’s start with the Minn Kota Ultrex review.
Bottom Line Up Front
For bass anglers, the Ultrex is one of the best options in the market. It has precise and responsive controls, silent operation, and intuitive steering control with iPilot automatic boat control.
It’s on the larger size, but in exchange, you get a high amount of thrust that is great for tackling any conditions. Overall, we have no second thoughts about recommending it if you’re looking for a top-end trolling motor.
Minn Kota Ultrex Review
Minn Kota has been making motors for decades and when the Ultrex was launched a few years back, it was termed as a game-changer.
Fast forward to 2022 and there are other brands that can give tough competition to Ultrex. Still, the Ultrex delivers reliability and great performance in a variety of conditions that make it a bow-mount motor you can depend on.
Here are some of the features that make the Ultrex stand out.
The Spot-Lock with a GPS anchor is one of the best features of the Ultrex. You can activate the feature by pressing a single button and the motor will direct the boat to just where you need to be to get the best bites.
The overall accuracy is great and you can also check the “Distance to Spot” reading from the remote. A special circle model also allows the boat to circle around a specific spot.
With the Spot-lock you don’t need to worry about hitting the sweet spot again, no matter the wind or current conditions. No wonder it’s the favorite feature of anglers who use the Ultrex.
The Ultrex comes with a 36 Volt system that offers 112 lbs. of thrust. The power delivery is adequate to drive larger boats above 20 feet and to overcome strong currents and winds.
The power steering in the Ultrex is ultra-responsive and the cable-steer foot pedal allows you to smoothly maneuver the boat. This makes moving through narrow channels and grass is much easier. You also get the advantage of hands-free fishing.
The steering lock feature keeps the direction of the motorhead fixed in one direction without the need for any readjustments. In addition, there’s autopilot to keep you moving along any bearing.
The Minn Tova Ultrex allows you to control the GPS technology through the i-Pilot or the i-Pilot link. The range of features it offers is impressive and it’s extremely helpful.
The motor can connect with a Humminbird fish finder unit to follow specific contours and record and retrace paths. Note, the motor also has a transducer built into it. This allows you to use Humminbird MEGA Down Imaging with ease.
The feature lets you focus on casting and fishing without having to worry about the boat positions. You can even control the motor by using a virtual remote on your Humminbird screen. With an i-Pilot link, the boat can navigate automatically, based on the Lake Masterfrom or AutoChart Live maps.
The lift assist feature makes moving the trolling motor super easy through a cable handle. Considering the size of the Ultrex, lifting it up doesn’t take much effort at all. The system uses a stainless-steel spring that’s nitrogen-charged to cut the weight.
If you want to stay at the top of your game, you can’t afford to use a noisy trolling motor that will spook the fish. The bearing unit in the Ultrex is designed to minimize friction and cut down noise. Besides the motor is also maximizes the heat transfer and runs cool. This cuts down the noise even more.
Minn Kota says that the Digital Maximizer feature will allow you to stay on the water for long periods on a single charge. It uses pulse width modulation (PWM) to reduce energy losses that occur in motor coils.
This extends the life of the battery and also prevents any sudden power surges. In my experience, the Ultrex always preserved enough juice in the trolling batteries for a full day of fishing.
Command Center with Foot Pedal
The foot pedal forms the interface with the power center and with an ergonomic design, using it is extremely comfortable. With the touch of a toe, you can control multiple functions like the power switch, Spot-Lock, autopilot, and more. The unit is made from high-impact composite material and offers great durability.
Lifetime Warranty on Shaft
Minn Kota offers a lifetime warranty on the composite shaft and a three-year warranty on the entire product. Minn Kota mentions that the shaft is “indestructible”. So, you can expect solid durability from it.
All the features of the motor through the i-Pilot and i-Pilot link can be controlled from any Apple or Android device by using the apps provided by Minn Kota. It also allows you to upgrade the software in a few easy steps.
- Excellent features like Spot-lock and a responsive power steering
- GPS Trolling System connected with Humminbird fish finder
- Autopilot for smooth navigation
- Lift-assist for easy stowing
- Digital Maximizer and integrated battery meter
If you want a cable-steer trolling motor that offers top-notch performance, the Minn Kota Ultrex is a great pick. Experienced anglers will enjoy the support of the i-Pilot technology, and newbies will find it a great way to improve their game. With the Ultrex, driving your boat all day long is no effort at all.
What I loved is the responsiveness of the power steering and the advantage of hands-free operation. The new Spot-Lock algorithm has also improved the accuracy of the motor.
Besides, the motor offers quiet performance and there’s minimum lurching in the Spot-Lock mode. If you already own a Humminbird system, this motor is a no-brainer.
While the competitors have come up with some great trolling motors, the Ultrex has managed to stay relevant even in 2022. In terms of price, the Ultrex is a considerable investment. But if you feel the need to upgrade your boat, this is definitely a great option that offers the right value.
- The motor comes with a learning curve
- Can be used in freshwater only
Admittedly, the Minn Kota Ultrex isn’t the most advanced trolling motor in the market at present. There are a few other products that offer features that are slightly more advanced. Besides, being a freshwater-only motor limits its usability.
Then again, you may take some time to get used to the features of the motor and use it to its full potential.
Other than that, you need to be careful about using the Spot-Lock feature in tight spaces or shallow waters. Since the system will not identify any obstruction, it might damage your boat.
Since the motor head can rotate by 360 degrees the cable should be connected in the best possible manner. Too much loose cable can get bound up and too much tightness in the cable can cause breakage.
How to Choose the Best Trolling Motor
When you want to move effortlessly across the water, picking the right trolling motor is a must. But before that, there are a few points that you need to know. Take a look.
Mounting the Motor
A trolling motor can be mounted mainly in two different positions- the bow and the transom.
The bow-mounted motors are fixed on the front of the boat with a bracket. While it provides better control and maneuverability, you need to have sufficient space on the bow for installing. They are also expensive and the installation is more complicated.
A transom-mounted motor is more versatile and can be used in smaller boats and dinghies. They are easier to operate from the back of the boat and are inexpensive.
Other than that, the trolling motor can also be mounted on the cavitation plate of an outboard engine. While these motors can be more difficult to control, they are a practical option when your boat doesn’t have much space.
Quite simply, a trolling motor with too little thrust will spoil the fun of your fishing trip. The most important consideration while choosing the thrust of a trolling motor is the weight of the boat. As a rule of thumb, you will need 2 lbs. of thrust for every 100lb of weight.
So, it’s best to calculate thrust by considering the weight of a fully-loaded boat. Usually, the higher the operating voltage of the motor the greater is the thrust output.
Note, a high thrust will not make your boat go faster or deliver more horsepower. But it helps the boat to cruise along a straight line in strong currents.
It will also keep the steering more responsive and offer better control. Considering that the boat will have to tackle wind, wave action, and current forces, choosing a motor with a higher thrust is always the best option.
That said, motors will higher thrust will also have a higher price tag. If you have a smaller boat, there are some great options that offer the perfect balance of price and performance.
If you choose a short shaft length, chances are the propeller will pop out of water. On the other hand, too long shaft lengths can limit your boat’s movement in shallow waters. This dimension is more critical for bow-mount motors.
Ideally, the center part of the motor should be submerged by at least 12 inches. If you plan to head towards rough waters choose longer shaft lengths. That way the propeller will remain at least 6 inches below the surface even if the boat rolls.
The standard shaft length for trolling motors is 42 inches. You can measure the distance between the bow or transom motor mounting surface and the waterline in calm waters. Add an extra 5 inches to compensate for rough water conditions. Then use the shaft dimensions provided by the manufacturers for the best match.
The Right Voltage
Trolling motors are generally available in 12 Volt, 24 Volts, or 36 Volts systems. 12 Volt systems are inexpensive and lightweight. But they are best for small boats and won’t last for a full day on the water.
24 Volt systems offer more thrust and offer more running time. But they are more expensive and need more space to set up. The 36 Volt units are the heaviest and require the most space for installation. They offer the highest amount of thrust and are best used for boats above 18 feet in length.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is one factor that you can’t overlook. A complex trolling motor that’s difficult to handle will not allow you to concentrate on the bites.
An easy-to-use unit that will not tire you out before the day is over is the best choice. This is why features like hands-free operation, autopilot, lift assist, etc. play an important role in the selection of a trolling motor.
When it comes to comfort, another important factor is choosing between a hand and foot-controlled motor. In reality, both types have their own advantages. While foot controls have the advantage of being hands-free, they can lead to more clutter on the deck. Ultimately, it all comes down to your own preferences.
Three Alternative Trolling Motors
If you are looking for options beyond Minn Kota, here are three other trolling motors that deserve a closer look.
The Garmin Force is available in 24 Volt and 36 Volt options. The thrust output is 100 lbs. and 80 lbs. respectively. It can be used in freshwater, brackish water, and also in saltwater. You can also connect it with a Garmin chartplotter to follow your fishing tracks.
Other features include an autopilot and a built-in transducer for connecting with a high-definition sonar. The motor has a cable-steered foot pedal and a water-resistant remote that supports gesture steering. If you are a professional angler, this is one trolling motor that you can surely check out.
As suggested by the name, the Ghost is one of the quietest freshwater trolling motors in the market. The thrust output is 120 lbs. at 36 Volt and 97 lbs. at 24 Volt. It is also available in three different shaft lengths that give you great flexibility.
The brushless motor delivers excellent power and durability. Other features include a cable-free steering, touchscreen control with interference-free Lowrance sonar, and a configurable foot pedal.
It also has a spot lock system along with autopilot. Overall, a premium trolling motor that delivers excellent performance.
This motor from MotorGuide offers top-notch performance as well as durability. You can choose from 12 Volt, 24 Volt, and 36 Volt options. The thrust outputs are 55 lbs., 80 lbs., and 105 lbs. respectively. They can be used in freshwater as well as saltwater.
The motor comes with an integrated sonar and PinPoint GPS technology for accurate navigation. Other features include Digital Power Management for better battery life and wireless control. While it doesn’t have fancy features, the Xi5 is a great option for anglers on a budget.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answer: Yes, it is. While it’s not the most advanced model in the market, the Ultrex has enough practical features and delivers a solid performance for a great day of fishing.
Answer: The N button activates the autopilot. That way the boat will maintain a steady course towards the heading irrespective of wind and current conditions.
Answer: The Ultrex is the best Minn Kota trolling motor for bass fishing. The range of easy-to-use features and the responsive controls through the foot pedal makes it stand out from the other models like the Terrova and the Ulterra
Answer: The best way is to set up the trolling motor correctly and calibrate the sensor by using the remote. Once the sensor is calibrated properly, the Spot-lock should work accurately.
That completes the Minn Kota Ultrex review.
To sum up, the Minn Kota Ultrex is one of the best trolling motors that you can pick for larger boats. It offers dependable performance and has plenty of features veteran anglers will love. It raised the bar for trolling motors when it was launched and still remains one of the top picks in this category.
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