Overwork burns out motor

January 20, 1991|By Bill Burton | Bill Burton,Evening Sun Outdoor Editor

Burnout, a buzzword among professionals and public servants, has long been associated with electric trolling motors so popular among bass fishermen.

But the theory remains the same, says bass fishing guide an electric motor repairman Ken Wilson of Forestville, who will appear daily at the Chesapeake Bay Boat Show. "Try to accomplish too much too fast and you will ruin your motor," he says.

It's the biggest problem among those who use these silent an compact motors as their main power source on area reservoirs, or as secondary power on big bassboats, says Mr. Wilson, who operates both Bass Fever Guide Service and Trolling Motor Service Shop.

Too often, fishermen try to get too much power from thei motors, he says. "They expect too much from them -- they want a small motor to do a big job.

"Of all the problem motors I've worked on, there's no questio but what the primary reason for the repair was a boat that was underpowered. The fisherman wanted it to do more than it was meant to do, so it broke down.

"Pushing it too hard caused it to burn out -- and the owner has n one to blame but himself, but many times he's reluctant to own up to it."

Mr. Wilson has a simple formula for the average fisherman i choosing an electric motor. For a boat of up to 16 feet in length, go with one of 34-pound thrust. For a bigger boat, choose a 24-volt unit that kicks up 40 to 45 pounds of thrust.

"Take shortcuts, or try to save money on motors or batteries, an there's a good chance you'll end up rowing," he cautions. "You get what you pay for."

A good auxiliary bassboat motor in the $450 to $1,000 rang should last an active fisherman three to five years without any major maintenance problems, claims Mr. Wilson, who describes cheap units of $125 or less as "disposables."

"They're okay for fellows who don't use them much, but I'd stil advise using them for only for a year; then throw them away -- or practice rowing."

Costs are much higher for serious reservoir fisherman who ca expect to pay $2,500 to $3,000 for the type rig that will get him the desired speed to reach distant hot spots. And then, to get him back to the docks.

On a conventional bassboat, a traditional gasoline outboard i used to get one to and from the fishing holes, with the electric motor turned on for maneuvering while casting or trolling. But on a reservoir rig, the electric trolling motor is the only source of power.

In most reservoirs, gasoline engines are banned.

Reservoir motors are a rig unto themselves, explains Mr. Wilson Instead of being designed to work from the bow of a boat, they are stern-mounted like an outboard. They are also designed for a 3,000 to 5,000-hour life span.

One, the Reservoir Runner, is actually a converted outboard. Th conventional gasoline power head is removed and an electric conversion is installed. Then it is hooked up to six 12-volt deep cycle batteries, and can be operated on from 12 to 72 volts. A 600-pound boat can be pushed along at 3 to 4 1/2 miles an hour, but don't try running that speed a full day.

"It will run five to six hours at top speed, but cut back to half mile an hour, and it will damn near run forever," Mr. Wilson says.

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