Garmin Autopilot or Minnkota i-Pilot

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Garmin Autopilot or Minnkota i-Pilot

Unread postby benefishall » Thu Jun 14, 2018 9:17 am

Hello all,
I have a 2015 190 Searunner ET and have a question regarding autopilot.
I have been holding off getting a Garmin autopilot because I've been talking with people that use their bow mount trolling motor to plot or stay on course while trolling. Using their main motor to propel forward and the bow mount to veer left or right.
And since I was looking to buy a trolling motor anyway, was wondering if I could do the same and not have double the expense.
I would only be using it during trolling situations, so no high speed autopilot is needed.
The installation and cost for either is about a wash, so that's really not a concern.

So, has anyone out there ever used or know of others who have used this type of setup on a boat similar to mine? If so, can you tell me if it's a valid option?
Pro's, con's, any information would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
John
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Re: Garmin Autopilot or Minnkota i-Pilot

Unread postby BrownBear » Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:35 am

Never considered using a trolling motor in concert with my main. Don't see the sense in it, but maybe that's just me. When I'm trolling I'm aft and it's a small matter to adjust course with the wheel.

This past winter in Florida I've used the heck out of bow mount trolling motors on our own boat as well as those of others. But not for trolling. Anchoring, following an edge while casting (or the two alternately) and motoring through water too shallow for the main. On recommendations from a guide friend I went with the Rhodan Marine 24V. Results are so much better one buddy dumped his Minnkota and another dumped his MotorGuide. The Rhodan seems lots less "hungry" for juice, so charges last lots longer. It's quieter around spooky fish, while the control fob is simpler and more responsive. Been considering a bow mount trolling motor for our Open Fisherman in Alaska, and if that happens it will be Rhodan all the way.
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Re: Garmin Autopilot or Minnkota i-Pilot

Unread postby RedRider » Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:57 am

I have a friend who uses his bow mount and it works very well. He added a small piece of plexiglass to the shaft just above the motor to make more rudder surface. Steers with the controller on a neck lanyard. His boat is a 220 sea runner et.
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Re: Garmin Autopilot or Minnkota i-Pilot

Unread postby d_smith84 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 3:52 pm

I think it depends on the water you're fishing, the weather, and the type of fish you're targeting. I had a minnkota on our 200 Searunner et and by itself would not control the boat so I had an aluminum plate made that was attached to the trolling motor with clamps and it worked fairly well, IF there wasn't a lot of wind or wave action, or movement of people on the boat. When we were fishing for trout and it was windy or someone was moving around, as in trying to net a fish, you had to continually reset the direction of the trolling motor. We fish the Columbia, with a guide, who used the garmin autopilot and it worked like a dream. He did say though, they had to be set up correctly, which apparently is a problem for some. We now have a motorguide that works with the lowrance so I can create a trail on the lowrance and the motorguide follows it, which for the most part meets our needs. I would say, if you're fishing big water and semi rough water I'd go with the autopilot, fishing calm water, or minimal chop, like for walleye, the trolling motor may suit your needs.
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Re: Garmin Autopilot or Minnkota i-Pilot

Unread postby benefishall » Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:23 am

Thanks to all for the replies but unfortunately not much closer to a decision. The past couple weekends I've run into a Hewescraft 20' Pro V HT that has this exact setup and he claims it works great. That being said he also claimed the wind and waves toss it around pretty good so...?
I also don't want to be in the position I was with my last boat where I had a bow mount from the beginning but removed it because it was in the way and I never used it.
It would really help if someone could use their crystal ball and decide for me. :)
Thanks again for the feedback.
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Re: Garmin Autopilot or Minnkota i-Pilot

Unread postby BrownBear » Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:52 pm

I wouldn't consider a 12V system with your boat. I'm guessing based on experience with my own 24V setup, but it should be fine unless you're flying a full load of canvas on a windy day. That's a lot of sail area, and a 36v system might make you happier.
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