January 18, 20012. A RANT

Fish Catching Travel


I have had nothing but trouble with a Minn Kota trolling motor, and to say that it has been an ongoing problem would be an understatement.  It is a 3X, a motor that they do not make any more.  As a hand control motor I loved it, not to mention the wonderful ability to move the handle a little and turn the boat completely around.  But the trouble started immediately after I bought it.

I was in Arkansas when I mounted it and shortly after I am off to Port O’Connor.  Dropping it in the water, I headed down the first bank, when it started to smoke and was stuck on high.  Some much for a three day fishing trip and a 600 mile drive.  So in for repair it went, I was told it needed a new circuit board, and it was fixed under warranty.

On my very next trip to Florida, not a few months later, it happens again. As I eased up on a small channel with daylight breaking, tarpon were rolling everywhere when I turned it on, and it quits, again.  Nice, a 24 hour drive, visions of tarpon and snook playing in my mind, and here we are again, a trolling motor that does not work as I begin what should have been days of great fishing.

So back to the shop it goes.  It is repaired again.  And you can guess what happens just a short time later, it stops for the third time.  Now this is getting aggravating.  I then decide to deal direct with customer service who I contact via email.  To say I was put on the back burner, getting them to respond to me was like pulling teeth.  Finally after dealing with them for way to long, they agree to “look” at it.  But I have to ship it back, and they will not let the service center near me do it, so we ship it back.

I get a call a week or so later, and finally they tell me that they will ship me a new one.  That was clearly the only appropriate resolution to the issue, they were just not nearly as responsive as they should have been.  If something repeatedly screws up, and those problems are fixed because of a manufacture defect, you should not have to beg.  But I freely admit they did finally come through, while my boat sat there.

Well, I have finally given up.  This trolling motor is absolutely a piece of junk.  So in a space of 5 years or so, I went through 2 of them and have had nothing but problems.  I finally gave up last week when the head and arrow were not in line, the motor only moves about 1/2 the way it should, sometimes it just won’t run, or turns off when it chooses, or when you move the handle it starts and stops, the shaft is cracked, and well, you should have the idea by now.  And I know, the shaft is guaranteed for life, well to bad the rest it isn’t.

As you all know who read me, I fish a lot, and some of it requires extensive travel.  Nothing is more irritating than driving a day or two, dropping the trolling motor in the water and it quits.  I just can not take it anymore.

I have been using Minn Kota products for years.  I started using them back when I was a guide, and have used them ever since.  So it is time for a change.  I bought my first Motor Guide trolling motor I have owned since the 70′s.  Will it work better or last longer?  Only time will tell.

And one last  word on Minn Kota.  I still have a 24 volt trolling motor on the flats boat, with an on-board charger, both from Minn Kota.  We have owned the boat about 30 months, and we are on our 3rd charger.  I will give them this, they have been replaced without a fuss, as it should be.  But it is worrisome that I continue to have these problems with their product that directly affect fishing time.  So we have a good test, lets see which trolling motor last the longest.  Since the new Motor Guide is on the skiff, and the Minn Kota is on the Mako, it will be used a lot more, so that should even out the age factor.  I will let you know how it all comes out.

So the punch line is this, when looking at it simply, they have met their obligation, once grudgingly, but they have stood by their product.  But that is not the point, the point is this, when it does not work we can not fish, end of story.  And I would hope that it has been an aberration that it continues to happen to me.

Thanks for letting me rant.

Good Luck and Tight Lines!

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