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Author Topic:   trolling plates
gcl posted 02-23-2004 12:41 PM ET (US)   Profile for gcl   Send Email to gcl  
I have been posting requests for info on trolling motors for the 16'/17' BW hull and have received lots of great info. My 90 HP Evinrude runs great at all speeds including slow, however I need to slow down my Nauset while trolling. Thanks to all who responded to date.

My inquiry has taken a new turn: trolling plates. I ran a site search and did find some limited info on this, including one post indicating that using a trolling plate adversely affected the performance of his whaler. So, I am hoping for some info on this matter.

Cabela's catalog shows four types of these units: Hydro Troll (with a hydrofoil); Hydro Troll II (no hydrofoil); Trol-A-Matic (automaticly engages); and Happy Trollers (seems similar to Hydro Troll II). Do any of you have any knowledge on the use of these devices that you would care to share ? Any responses would be greatly appreciated.

jtwhaler posted 02-24-2004 01:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for jtwhaler  Send Email to jtwhaler     
gcl, you might look at Look at all their products. You may find something there. I am about to try his BT model plate to get more lift (out of the hole) on my 70hp johnson, don't know what will happen. Later.
gcl posted 02-27-2004 09:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for gcl  Send Email to gcl     
jtwhaler, Thanks for the reference. The vendor has lots of neat stuff, but no info on trolling plates.

Anyone else care to share any info/experience with trolling plates ? I know this is probably a very boring subject for most, but I am facing a decision with a financial impact ranging from $80 to $1000+ dollars (trolling plate verses kicker motor).

I know that there is a tremendous amount of quality knowledge "out there". Thanks for bearing with me.

Any comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, gcl

whalerajm posted 02-27-2004 11:01 AM ET (US)     Profile for whalerajm  Send Email to whalerajm     

Last year I installed the "Toll'n Plane" on my 90 HP Evinrude (1975 Montauk). The product looks identical to product in the Cabella catalog that is a combined fin and drop down trolling plate.

I had some problems, namely:

1. I found that although the fin brought the bow down at low speeds and planed sooner, it seemed to porpoise at high speeds (minor concern).

2. The trolling plate is designed to have an automatic spring release...a nice feature as it is supposed to protect against damage to plate and also makes it easy to pop the plate up by hitting throttle....
...The problem is that the spring release always released prematurely at about 750-800 RPM, not 1500 RPM as documented.

The design concept is great...the release is critical and it seems to me that no product can be designed to have just the right release for the range of motor sizes vendors say they are good for. I even cut my plate down 3 inches to relieve pressure and it still released too soon. I also replaced the plate twice thinking that I received one with a defective spring release.

My recommendation is to stick to a basic trolling plate with a manual release. The Trollin'Plane vendor makes a replacement plate for the Happy Troller that has a hinged, spring loaded safety to avoid bending the plate accidently.

gcl posted 03-02-2004 09:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for gcl  Send Email to gcl     
Sounds like a miserable experience. Thanks for pointing out the potential pitfall. So, I bet you're more inclined towards a kicker as opposed to a trolling plate ?
Marc posted 03-02-2004 11:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for Marc  Send Email to Marc     

I've had a little experience with several trolling plates.

I've used the Happy Troller, Hydro-Troll and Hydro-Troll II all purchased from Cabela's. I ran them on my Montauk with an 80HP and on my Outrage 17 with a 115HP.

The Happy Troller didn't have a release pin so if you ever forgot to lift it up before hitting the throttle, it will bend and basically ruin the unit. I did it and my buddy did once and that about did it for the not so Happy Troller.

The Hydro-Troll and Hydro-Troll II both have a brass shear pin that is "supposed" to break if you forget to release it. Once released, it is "supposed" to lock in place. My experience has been it doesn't lock in place very well and I had to manually put it up in the running position. That meant I had to raise the motor all the way up and grab the plate and lock it into place. This was quite a pain.

The shear pin didn't always break as designed. Cabela's customer support stated this was a known issue or that customers had reported similar experiences.

Since I don't have a need to troll at real slow speeds anymore, I just last week sent back my Hyro-Troll II. It was my third replacement that Cabelas had sent me. They are very good about refunds/exchanges, etc. I just decided why install it if I'm not going to use it. I can troll around 2.6 mph without a plate and that has worked fine for me.

A kicker motor can be a good option (expensive though) but I'd recommend an EZ-Steer or some similar device. I used a Helsmate ext tiller on my kicker and that was somewhat of a pain. Never could sit down.

Hope this helps...


gcl posted 03-05-2004 03:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for gcl  Send Email to gcl     
If your experience is any indication, seems like I would be better off with a trolling motor. Thanks for the info.

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