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Is i-Pilot The Same As Spot-Lock?

Are you looking to buy a Minn Kota trolling motor but can’t quite wrap your head around the differences between the i-Pilot and Spot-Lock?

If you’re new to electric trolling motors, you might be confused as to how they work.

Is i-Pilot The Same As Spot-Lock?

So is i-Pilot the same as Spot-Lock?

The answer is no.

The i-Pilot is an entire GPS built onto a remote. Spot-lock is a single feature within the i-Pilot system.

Let’s discuss how these two are different and how they are used in water!

Air up an inflatable boat using a foot pump and an electric pump

Differences Between i-Pilot and Spot-Lock

The Spot-Lock is the most popular feature within the i-Pilot system. It’s a GPS anchor that locks your boat into place.

Your Minn Kota motor has an internal GPS that saves the precise coordinates and holds the position.

This is especially useful for anglers because it’s much easier to cast and reel if your boat isn’t getting pushed around by waves.

Now you can focus on fishing while your inflatable boat remains stationary.

The i-Pilot even features the Spot-Lock Jog feature enabling users to move their position five feet in any direction.

You’ll even know exactly how close you are to the spot.

So what’s the i-Pilot system?

i-Pilot Link GPS System of Minn Kota Ultrex Trolling Motor
Click the image for more info

It’s a GPS navigation system accessed through the remote and is included in many Minn Kota trolling motors.

It has many advanced features designed to simplify navigation and help anglers catch fish with ease.

The i-Pilot provides users with the following features:

  • Spot lock – anchors your boat into a pinpoint location.
  • Jog – moves your spot five feet away from your spot
  • iTracks – records and retraces up to 16 routes you’ve taken
  • AutoPilot – your boat moves automatically to your destination or a fixed track you’ve recorded
  • Smartphone App – able to access all of the remote functions through the mobile app

How Do You Use Spot-Lock on i-Pilot?

Using a spot lock is relatively simple. Take your remote and identify a location where you’d like to set your boat locked.

This can be done through the arrow keys of your remote.

Then, hit the anchor button, and when your boat hits the target, it will lock into the fishing spot.

Minn Kota I-Remote Access Pilot Link System
Click the image for more info

No matter the wind direction or current, the spot lock does a great job of keeping the boat in the target area and not stray away.

With the i-Pilot remote, users can save up to three different spot lock positions.

To access a previously saved spot lock area, simply hit the “recall” button and select the spot lock target you want.

Once your boat reaches the target, it will automatically anchor itself to the specified location.

James Lindner on i-Pilot's Spot-Lock feature

What are the Benefits of the Spot-Lock?

Spot-Lock feature of Minn Kota Ultrex trolling motor
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The spot lock feature is best suited for anglers who want hands-free operation while fishing.

Having to reposition your motor continuously is a huge pain.

Especially when fishing tightly grouped bass in deep water, half the battle is trying to maintain good positioning.

Without the Spot-Lock feature, you’ll need to time the power and steering to ensure that you glide into the correct position for a few casts or set up an anchor.

Even with a big current or gusts of wind, the trolling motor will automatically begin to move you back into the designated target.

Minn Kota Spot-Lock function
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Fishing requires many tasks such as re-rigging, re-tying the lure, casting and reeling a fish, culling a fish in the live wall, and more.

It’s nearly impossible to keep your boat stationary while doing all these tasks.

As an angler, it’s vital to focus on lure presentation. Battling winds and waves can be quite distracting, which causes you to miss out on subtle bites or not land more bites.

It’s also useful if you want to take a break from fishing but not move hundreds of yards away from your fishing spot.

If you’re fishing recreationally and have other members on your boat, such as your kids, you may need to help them with their catch as well.

Is Minn Kota i-Pilot Worth it?

Minn Kota Ultrex i-Pilot GPS Trolling Motor
Click the image for more info

The spot-lock feature works best in conjunction with the other i-Pilot features. For example, one of the other most popular features is the AutoPilot.

These features let you set a path and allow your trolling motor to follow the path that you set. With the AutoPilot, the boat will maintain a fixed heading while traveling on the water without needing to adjust or steer your trolling motor. This is extremely useful for following a weed line or shoreline.

In addition, it works perfectly for slowly approaching your designated fishing spot so that you don’t spook fish out before you set the spot lock feature.

There’s the i-track feature allowing you to create and store your favorite paths onto the i-Pilot system.

Then simply select the track you’d like, and your trolling motor will retrace the path back to your best fishing spots.

Many experienced anglers know where all of the productive fishing spots are. No more forgetting where you went on your previous successful fishing trip. Simply pull-up your saved track and head straight there!

The convenience of having a hands-free operation is well worth the extra cost for the i-Pilot system. You won’t have to worry about steering or navigating your boat manually, and you can focus on the things you love, fishing!

Can I Add the i-Pilot to My Minn Kota Trolling Motor?

Minn Kota I-Remote Access Pilot System
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Yes, you can add the i-Pilot system to your trolling motor. However, it depends on the type of motor you have and the year of the model.

The i-Pilot can be added to the following trolling motor models: Riptide Terrova (ST), Terrova, PowerDrive V2, PowerDrive, Ulteraa, and Riptide PowerDrive (SP).

However, you might be wondering, how does it work?

Minn Kota offers i-Pilot upgrade kits that are easy to install. However, they are only compatible with the models mentioned above. Each i-Pilot kit comes with wireless remote hardware, i-Pilot control unit cover, two lanyards, and i-Pilot control cables.

Installation works by removing the screws in your existing control unit cover and unplugging the cover off of the control head. Then plug in the new i-Pilot control unit cover.

Final Thoughts

Trolling motors should make fishing easier, not more complex.

Now you don’t need to worry about maneuvering your boat and instead channel that energy to catching your next trophy fish.

Consider getting a trolling motor with the i-Pilot or upgrading the i-Pilot into your existing Minn Kota motor if it’s not already included.


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