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Comparing Trolling Motors Vs. Power Poles

Comparing Trolling Motors Vs. Power Poles

A trolling motor or power pole: which one is best for your boat?

That’s the question we’re going to attempt to answer today.

But perhaps you’re still relatively new to the world of fishing, and you’re wondering what the two terms mean. What is a trolling motor? What is a power pole?

What is each piece of equipment used for, and what are the pros and cons of each?

Glad you asked!

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at both trolling motors and power poles, comparing and contrasting them against each other to help you figure out which one is best for your boat.

Let’s get started!

What is a Trolling Motor?

U-BCOO Saltwater Transom Mounted Electric Trolling Motor

Even if you haven’t been boating for very long, you’re probably more familiar with trolling motors than with power poles. Trolling motors are small, battery powered devices used for pushing or pulling boats through the water.

There are different sizes of trolling motors for different boats, but they are generally used with smaller boats such as jon boats, bass boats, dinghies, and kayaks. For getting through the water, they often replace hand-paddling in these smaller boats.

There are two main types of trolling motor: cable steer and electric steer. Cable steer trolling motors are controlled by hand or foot pedals, while electric steer trolling motors are often controlled remotely, using a handheld controller or a smartphone.

Electric trolling motors also have what’s known as an I-Pilot function, which allows them to anchor in place remotely, without the use of a separate anchor. This function is the main comparison point between trolling motors and power poles, but more on that in a bit.

What is a Trolling Motor Used For?

Goplus Electric Trolling Motor

Trolling motors are often used in place of hand paddling to get anglers out to their favorite fishing spot, or to give boaters an enjoyable and easy ride around the lake.

Trolling motors may often be used for trolling lures while fishing. They have several different speed settings so they can be adjusted depending on the type of fish you’re trying to catch.

Electric steer trolling motors are often used for anchoring in place, which is great if you’re fishing in choppy waters or you don’t want the boat to drift. Other high-tech features of electric trolling motors include GPS and autopilot.

What are the Pros and Cons of Trolling Motors?

Goplus Electric Boat Fishing Trolling Motor

The pros:

  • Trolling motors help you get where you’re going quickly and efficiently.
  • Trolling motors allow you to troll lures while keeping your hands free for casting, reeling, and other activities.
  • Some trolling motors allow you to anchor in place without having to use a separate anchor.

The cons:

  • Trolling motors may become tangled or damaged by underwater obstacles.
  • Trolling motor batteries may not last through an entire day of fishing.

What is a Power Pole?

JL Marine Power-Pole CM2.0 Blade Series (Black, 8ft)

A power pole is a type of hydraulic anchoring system that can be used to anchor your boat in shallow water at the push of a button.

Chances are, you’ve seen small fishing boats out on your favorite lake with one or two thick poles sticking up over the back of the transom. Power poles have become popular over the past several years because they are so convenient and easy to use.

Power poles are quieter than your typical rope and anchor type of anchoring system. They can anchor your boat quickly and completely, stabilizing your boat so you can walk around, cast, and reel in with ease.

Power poles are only for use in shallow water; most will only anchor in depths of up to 10 feet.

What is a Power-Pole Anchor?

What is a Power Pole Used For?

A power pole’s chief function is to anchor your boat.

This anchoring function might be extremely useful for spot fishing, as well as if you just want to park your boat for a little while and enjoy the view.

Since power poles can’t power boats, some anglers and boaters use them in tandem with trolling motors–they will use the trolling motor to get to their favorite fishing spot, then they will deploy the power pole to anchor them in place.

Hydraulic anchor poles and why they're a Necessity | Power Pole Review

What are the Pros and Cons of Power Poles?

JL Marine Power-Pole CM2.0 Blade Series (Blue, 8ft)

The pros:

  • Power poles are highly convenient and easy to use–just push a button, and the hydraulic power will push the pole down into the lake or pond bed.
  • Power poles allow you to anchor quickly–you can go from drifting in choppy waters to being completely anchored in a distance of under 10 feet.
  • Power poles add much more stability to your boat than the usual anchoring systems.

The cons:

  • Power poles are expensive–often much more expensive than trolling motors, and they have fewer functions than trolling motors.
  • Power poles, if undeployed, can be a bit of an obstacle to work around when fishing.

Trolling Motors Vs. Power Poles: Which One is Best?

As mentioned above, many anglers use both trolling motors and power poles on their boats. This gives them both the ability to move around efficiently and anchor in place conveniently.

If you’re considering buying an electric steer trolling motor with the I-Pilot function, you may be wondering if it’s necessary to invest in a power pole as well.

The answer will depend on the depth of the waters you typically fish. Power poles are only effective at depths of up to 10 feet, so if you normally fish in deeper waters, then a power pole will do you no good. I-Pilot enabled trolling motors can anchor at much deeper depths.

That said, if you typically fish in shallow waters and you either don’t need a trolling motor or don’t have one with I-Pilot, then a power pole may prove to be an excellent investment.


Trolling motors and power poles both have their place in fishing and boating, and depending on the water depth you usually find yourself in, you may want to have both.

I-Pilot enabled trolling motors are often able to perform anchoring functions at greater depths than power poles, but power poles are an excellent choice for spot fishing in shallow waters.

Which one is best for you? That’s a decision only you can make.