How to Use a Trolling Motor With a Foot Pedal

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Serious fishermen everywhere have found the convenience and usefulness of a trolling motor. Having the right trolling motor mounted to your fishing boat can make the difference between getting into the best spots easily and sitting dead in the water. Picking the right trolling motor is key to making your boat as maneuverable as possible. Trolling motors with foot controls are the pinnacle of great fishing gear, and learning to control and steer these types of motors comes simply enough with a little practice and patience.

Items you will need

  • Bow-mounted trolling motor

Forward movement

Step 1

Sit on the seat closest to the boat's bow, or whichever is closest to the trolling-motor foot control.

Step 2

Choose the speed setting you wish to use on your trolling motor. All trolling motors are different but most have a numbered speed control on the foot controls ranging from 1 (slowest speed) to 5 or 10 (fastest speed).

Step 3

Depress either the "Constant" or "Momentary" control switches on the foot controls, usually placed on the sides or ends. These can be depressed by simply pressing them in with the end of your shoe or toe. This action will cause the trolling motor to turn on and begin moving the boat. Some trolling motor models only have a "Constant" or "On" button. "Constant" will run the trolling motor continuously until you turn it off again, and "Momentary" will run the motor for a short time.

Left and Right Movement

Step 1

Depress the front of the foot control or "toe down" to turn right.

Step 2

Press the rear of the foot control down or "heel down" to turn left. This occasionally varies by manufacturer, but this configuration is generally the same on nearly all foot-controlled trolling motors.

Step 3

Release the foot control to begin going straight again. To continue going in a straight line simply do nothing and the trolling motor will go straight by default.


  • Some models of trolling motors have a "Tracking" feature on the foot control. When depressed, these will "track" left or right by a predetermined degree, usually three to five percent. This will allow your boat to constantly circle the pond or body of water you are fishing.