Bodies of water are not consistently uniform.
They may have deep holes, shallow areas, sandbars, and other unseen obstacles. Not to mention, if you’re a fisher, it can be difficult to find where the fish are hiding out.
That’s where a transducer comes in.
If you’re tired of spending all your time searching for fish or avoiding obstacles in the water, then a transducer may be just the instrument you’re looking for to make your life easier.
But what is a transducer, and how does it work on a boat?
Where and how does it attach to your trolling motor?
And how do you mount the transducer cables to keep them from getting tangled up or damaged by the trolling motor propellers?
Keep reading to find answers to all of these questions.
Table of Contents
What is a Transducer on a Boat?
A transducer is a device that converts one type of signal to another.
When mounted on a boat, it works a little bit like echolocation: it sends out a sound wave through the water, which bounces off objects such as rocks, fish, or the bottom of the lake.
These signals are then picked up by the transducer, sent through the transducer cables, and finally show up visually on a fish finder or other sonar system mounted inside the boat.
There are different types of transducers made specifically for boats. The three basic types are:
- Thru-hull transducers. This type of transducer is mounted inside a boat directly onto the hull. It picks up signals through the hull, which can make it less accurate and less sensitive. That said, it is protected from damage that could occur outside the boat.
- Transom mount transducers. TraThis is a popular type of transducer because it is highly accurate and can mount to a wide variety of boats and trolling motors. The main drawback of transom mount transducers is they don’t function as well at high speeds.
- Portable mount transducers. Portable mount transducers are, as the name suggests, easily portable. You can quickly switch them from one boat to another or remove them for storage between trips.
Where Do You Put the Transducer on a Trolling Motor?
Depending on the type of transducer you have, you may be able to use it independently of a trolling motor. That said, most transducers can be easily mounted to your trolling motor and work best when attached this way.
The transducer itself should be mounted to the motor head of the trolling motor, just behind the fin. You want to make sure it is safely out of the way of the propellers to avoid damaging both the trolling motor and the transducer.
Puck-shaped transducers work best for mounting to a trolling motor. Many of these transducers are specifically designed for trolling motor mounting.
Other types of transducers may be known as “skimmer” transducers. These can also be mounted to trolling motors, but they may not go on quite as easily or naturally.
Whether using a puck-shaped or skimmer transducer, you will attach it to the trolling motor’s motor head.
But how do you do that?
Keep reading to find out!
How Do You Attach a Transducer to a Trolling Motor?
To attach your transducer to the motor head, you’ll need a heavy-duty hose clamp, preferably one made of stainless steel.
Some transducers may come with a clamp that you can use, or you may need to purchase one separately. If you buy one separately, make sure you know what size you’ll need ahead of time by checking the size of your transducer and motor head.
Once you have your clamp, simply clamp the transducer into place on the motor head. Puck-shaped transducers will likely come with a slot made specifically for this clamp.
Skimmer transducers are usually transom mounted, but to attach them to your trolling motor, you can clamp them on by way of the mounting bracket. This bracket would normally be used for screwing onto the transom, but it will work just as well for being clamped to the motor head.
Make sure the transducer is pointed vertically, with no tilt to either side. If it isn’t completely straight, loosen the clamp and adjust the transducer until it points vertically.
If you’re still shopping around for your transducer, check out the following products:
What Should You Do With the Transducer Cables?
Of course, the main head of the transducer is only part of the overall unit. Running out from the transducer, you will notice at least one thick cable. This is the wire through which sonar signals travel from the water into the boat.
Properly running your transducer cables is crucial to avoid damaging them and ensuring the device runs properly.
To start with, you’ll want to run the cables around the motor head to make sure they’re out of the way of the propellers. Secure the cables to the bottom of the trolling motor shaft by using a nylon wire tie.
Keep attaching more wire ties every six inches or so as you move the cable up the shaft.
If you have a bow mounted trolling motor, leave some slack in the transducer cables. This will allow you to change the trolling motor’s shaft length as needed. For a transom mounted trolling motor, there’s no need to leave any slack.
Once you get to the top of the shaft, redirect the cables toward the fish finder and connect them in the appropriate places.
To help you visualize the process, it may help to watch a video before starting your transducer installation. Here are a couple of good ones:
And that’s all there is to it!
Using a transducer is a great way to keep track of fish or obstacles in the water. It’s easy to attach a transducer to your trolling motor, provided you keep the cables away from the propeller.
If you follow the tips given in this guide, you’ll be back out on the water in no time, finding fish like a pro with the help of your trolling motor-mounted transducer.