As the trolling motor market heats up with the recent entries of Garmin and Lowrance, Minn Kota is debuting built-in Humminbird Mega Side Imaging in its Ulltrex and Ulterra trolling motors this fall, something the company says will allow anglers to run their boats efficiently while seeing precise images of structures and fish directly below and to either side of their boats.
“It’s a 360-degree view around the boat,” Joe Brown, senior director of brand management for Johnson Outdoors, told Trade Only Today. “That is a next-level jump up from the technology that we had.”
Minn Kota, which has been manufacturing trolling motors for 85 years, says its Mega Imaging is the first imaging technology to enter the megahertz range that provides three times greater detail than traditional 455 kHz frequencies. Adding it to the trolling motors results in clear real-time images without the need to run wires that can compromise the use of key features like Spot-Lock and i-Pilot Link, according to the company.
The addition of Humminbird’s Mega Side Imaging takes the trolling motor to a different level, Brown said. (Humminbird and Minn Kota are both part of Johnson Outdoors.)
“Fishing from the bow with down- and side-imaging has been an imperfect practice with anglers having to deal with external transducers and cords," said Brown in a statement announcing the new features. “Minn Kota’s Built-In Mega Side Imaging houses the transducer directly inside the trolling motor for ultimate protection. It also relays real-time images from directly underneath and to the side of the boat, letting anglers focus entirely on the fish.”
The transducer is housed in the motor’s lower unit, and the wiring runs through a composite shaft that seeks to protect the unit from damage over time. It retails at around $3,000.
Lowrance and Garmin joined in the trolling motor segment at this year’s International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show, the first foray into the segment by both companies.
The increase in competition, which to date has been minimal in the trolling motor market, hasn’t changed how Minn Kota brings products to market, said Brown.
“We never come from position of hubris, and I think the strength of our brand demonstrates that,” said Brown. “When we could rest on our laurels with essentially no competition, we’ve never sat back and said, ‘That’s enough.’”
Brown said the new technology will set its new trolling motor apart. “I truly don’t see any feature that is compelling to a consumer more than Ultrex,” he said. “There are people that will buy their trolling motors, but I don’t see the side imaging or Spot-Lock. If their [Garmin and Lowrance] motors do what they say they do, then they’ll have a place in the trolling-motor market, which is a good thing, because we’ve been a business of one.”
At ICAST, Minn Kota debuted the Riptide Terrova, a bow-mount saltwater trolling motor with an 87-inch shaft that provides 112 pounds of thrust, joining the 72-inch offering. Though the freshwater market is where the bulk of trolling motors are sold, the saltwater market is the fastest-growing area for the motors.
The company’s new Riptide Terrova trolling motor with 87-inch shaft is designed for anglers to use on larger saltwater boats. It joins the 72-inch offering. The new Terrova provides 112 pounds of thrust and comes with i-Pilot Link technology for networking with Hummingird fishfinder units as part of its One-Boat Network.
“The addition of a trolling motor with 87-inch shaft is part of our commitment to providing solutions for anglers as they seek to find and catch more fish,” said Minn Kota brand manager Brad Henry in a separate statement. “Saltwater anglers are increasingly recognizing the benefits of having a trolling motor for key fishing applications and we’ve delivered a solution for anglers and captains with larger boats, so they can utilize key Minn Kota features like Spot-Lock and the One-Boat Network.”
The Riptide Terrova will be available this fall.