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LanceJ

Yay or nay on Autopilot/Copilot??

31 posts in this topic

I just bought my first "real" boat. Its a G3 Eagle 175 and it came with a Minn all terrain 40lb. I'd like to upgrade to a 55 somewhere down the line. Anyone have any feedback on Copilots and/or Autopilots? Worthwhile purchase?

Thanks!

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Anyone have any feedback on Copilots and/or Autopilots? Worthwhile purchase?

It really depends on how you fish and if you like controlling the motor with your foot or not.

I've had AutoPilots in the past but haven't had it on my last few motors. There may be times I'd use it if I had it but I don't really miss it. I do a lot of casting for bass, pike, walleyes and muskies, I do a lot of panfishing, and I do some live bait rigging. Those are all applications where I use my bow mount without an autopilot. When I've fished out of other guys' boats that have autopilot I usually don't use it for long. It's really personal preference and how you like to fish, and there's some guys on this board that say they almost couldn't live without autopilot.

Copilot is similar, again lots of guys will tell you they love their copilots and would never give them up. I've been thinking about getting one since they came out and haven't done it yet. I don't mind and in fact I even like running the motor with my feet. When muskie fishing you do NOT want to stop your retrieve and with a foot control you don't have to stop but with a copilot you would have to stop to adjust the motor. If I want to control my motor from the back of the boat I just uncoil the wire on the foot pedal. There's lots of times my kid will fish off the front deck and I'll fish off the back deck and control the motor from there.

I think autopilot and copilot are both good systems, and for some guys they're awesome. I think you really need to think about how you like to fish and whether or not autopilot or copilot would help you.

Congrats on your new boat. If you are going to upgrade your motor down the line you may want to check out my HSOforum, I have a pretty good selection of Minn Kota motors and can order some others that I don't have listed on the site. My prices should be hard to beat.

Hope this helps.

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I have both on my current motor. To be honest, I very rarely use the auto pilot. Maybe a few times each season. The co-pilot I love. I use it all the time and love it. If I'm doing a lot of casting, then I crack out the pedal. But if I'm trolling cranks, lindy's or what not, then I always use the co-pilot. I get a lot better control with that and can control the speed with my finger instead of bending down to adjust the speed.

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Not to confuse you, but I have basically the opposite opinion from Sandmannd because of how I fish. I troll cranks a lot and use the autopilot almost all of the time. It makes it easier to follow a shoreline, underwater structure, or gps routes especially if it's windy.

I had a co-pilot on my last motor and used it very rarely. As Sandmannd said, the speed control with the co-pilot was a deffinate plus. I think that most of my problem with the co-pilot was I did not use it enough to get really good with it. It seemed that about 1/2 the time when I turned I would initially turn the wrong direction. This happened more often when I was facing the back of the boat. A little more practice and it would probably be second nature but I never got to that point and have not purchased a co-pilot for my new trolling motor (yet).

If I had to choose between the two I would get the motor with auto pilot because you can always add the co-pilot later. I think that one model (Terrova maybe) of the Minn Kota motors the auto pilot can be added later but I don't think this is the case with most. The co-pilot can be added at anytime and is very simple to do.

Another consideration when you upgrade; if you troll a lot and your boat can handle 2 batteries I would recommend upgrading to a 24v motor. You get 70 lb thrust and longer trolling time.

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I'm with Sandman on this one. Have only had the foot-pedal out once on my boat (3 years old now). Co-pilot on everything I do whether it be live bait rigging, casting etc.... If I troll I use the big motor with the help of the trolling motor to slow me down if need be. Again, I control it with the co-pilot. Have played with the autopilot numerous times and I just don't like the way it makes me feel not in control of the boat. Really nice feature for putting the bow into a heavy wind and slowly working back against the waves as well.

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Do you have kids?

I have both the auto-pilot and co-pilot.

I can keep the foot control out of the front casting area, so the kids aren't tripping over the wire.

The auto-pilot is nice, because you set the boat in a straight line, and as you're working on taking fish off lines, putting bait on lines, untangling lines, getting the bottle of pop or bag of chips for the kids and trying to fish yourself, you don't look at the locator and wonder how you got to 43' of water.

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I wont by another boat without both. I love to have them both working together. A trollers dream.

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gotta have auto-pilot it increeses line in the water time, keeps you on track very well, if your working a shoreline you can just tap it and it will followw the new course I love auto pilot would never buy one with it

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Gotta have the autopilot here too. I don't use it all the time and at times it's a pain (windy and slow presentations) but I wouldn't get a trolling motor without it. You can turn it off if you have it but you can't turn it on if you don't.

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I appreciate all the feedback everyone. Thanks!

In response to what FunFish mentioned...I think I will bump up to a 24v next year (hopefully). Being that its an aluminum boat and somewhat light by comparison, the 40lb is manageable, but you really have to juice it pretty good in the wind. Doable for an afternoon trip....no so doable for an all day or weekend venture.

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I would definitely second most of the posts on here...24V trolling motor for sure...you can NEVER overpower a trolling motor! Autopilot is great to have on windy days to keep you on track and allows you to move about your boat when the trolling motor is on w/o your assistance when changing lures, grabbing a snack, so forth. The copilot is handy but like aforementioned not used often.

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Someone eralier mentioned kids - I have a 3 year old and the autopilot is a must for me. I can set it which frees me up to cast (his reel), take fish off of the line, get soda etc. I also find with it on that I need to correct course much less. The one thing you have to get used to is to let the AP "do its thing". When I first got it I found I was trying to steer all of the time - not necessary with the AP. Just set your course - it will "correct" for waves, wind and current with no to very little input from you. I also second the 24v system if your boat can handle it.

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AUTOPILOT!!! I had a 50 lb powerdrive on my old boat and liked it. I dropped a little extra on a 55 lb autopilot for my new boat and am quite pleased. With smaller kids I'm always fiddling with something. The autopilot keeps me where I want to be, instead of looking up and noticing I'm way off course.

I never used to use my electric for trolling much, just to get me to areas for casting. The autopilot is awesome for going around turns and contours because you give the pedal input and it will correct itself on the back side of the turn to keep you going in the intended direction. So I use my electric now for slow trolling as well. Saves on gas and is nice and quiet too!

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From the Minn Kota HSOforum:

Terrova’s™ digitally controlled AutoPilot™ delivers infinitely variable steering adjustments for smoother course corrections and tighter heading accuracy. Point the motor to your desired heading, turn AutoPilot on and experience the ultimate boat-control advantage."

I think this could be a real plus, if you want to pop for the Terrova model.

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I have been fishing with the copilot for the last three years and love it. I now have both and they work very well together. If I had to only have one or the other I would take the autopilot. Also get a 24volt.

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Its not very often I wouldn't have the Auto Pilot on. Fits my trolling needs perfectly. I've had 3 different bow mounts with auto pilot and a couple without. Not having to adjust my coarse or should I say constantly correct my coarse is a huge +.

Having young kids in the boat, looking at lake maps and GPS data, tying on or re-rigging, or just kicking back all the time being right on coarse has made me an auto pilot guy for life.

I'm a tiller guy and fish from the same chair. I don't have a co pilot and really don't need or want one. Speed control and added cost are the main reasons why. More times then not I'll have the foot control up on the splash well storage lid and control it by hand.

The 12 volt 55# thrust is plenty for my needs and one battery will last me all weekend. Thats pulling spinners, jigs, or rigs at speeds around 1 MPH or less. If you like to pull cranks, fish rivers, or have large boat you might consider 24 volts.

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Also speed depends on the boat and motor size. I have a 12V 55lb and it pulls my 16 foot Lund at a max 1.9 mph w/o wind. I was picking up a lot of fish at 1.5 my last time out, which isn't possible with most large motors.

To my knowledge, the Terrova autopilot is not any different from the Powerdrive autopilot. I don't think you need to spring for the Terrova. Of course there are other benefits or changes to consider (stow/deploy and different foot pedal)

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For those of us fishing on metro lakes that are electric-motors-only, they can be great. I don't have one, and was out on my usual Friday morning binge. I was heading into the wind towards my drift point. For all of about five seconds I was messing with something in my tackle box. When I looked up again I was doing circles!

I've got Autopilot envy.

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For all of about five seconds I was messing with something in my tackle box. When I looked up again I was doing circles!

Exactly

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I'm going to pass on the co-pilot. The autopilot does sound very appealing though. I do have some reservations after talking with a few people and vendors that have steered me away from them claiming they will work great for a couple of years and then they are pretty likely to have problems with the AP control board in the unit.....argh!

I've got my heart set on a 70lb motor, and I'd love to have a built in transducer in it. So it looks like it HAS to be a Power Drive V2 (no universal sonar in 70lb Maxxum), and there's a $200 difference in price for with/without autopilot. OUCH!

I would love a Maxxum, but I'm not sure if the wiring my boat has in it can accommodate the amps an 80lb motor might draw, since it came stock with a 12v motor and power socket already wired.

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I havent had any more problems with my auto pilot Minkotas than the regular ones. Foot pedals are more likely to go out than the auto pilot in my experiences.

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My foot pedal went out after a few years. The Minnkota repair guy told me that freezing and thawing kills those pedals. Since then I've started keeping my pedal inside for the winter and haven't had a problem yet.

Maybe a Minnesota company just doesn't do a good job of keeping their products Minnesota proof. Maybe finding a good spot in the basement will keep these things going winter after winter.

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Hey Lance, consider it an investment. I know I use my trolling motor more than my outboard and you know how much they cost. It pays to get what you want and enjoy it, since your going to have it for a long time and use it often.

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I'm going to pass on the co-pilot. The autopilot does sound very appealing though. I do have some reservations after talking with a few people and vendors that have steered me away from them claiming they will work great for a couple of years and then they are pretty likely to have problems with the AP control board in the unit.....argh!

I've got my heart set on a 70lb motor, and I'd love to have a built in transducer in it. So it looks like it HAS to be a Power Drive V2 (no universal sonar in 70lb Maxxum), and there's a $200 difference in price for with/without autopilot. OUCH!

I would love a Maxxum, but I'm not sure if the wiring my boat has in it can accommodate the amps an 80lb motor might draw, since it came stock with a 12v motor and power socket already wired.

Another thing about the co-pilot... you can put it on later. I got the co-pilot for Father's Day this year, $150 in the stores, or get your significant other to watch online, and they can pick it up cheaper.

Buy yourself a motor, you can count on a b-day / Christmas / Father's Day / some special day present.

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Hey Lance, consider it an investment. I know I use my trolling motor more than my outboard and you know how much they cost. It pays to get what you want and enjoy it, since your going to have it for a long time and use it often.

Excellent point!

The World's Foremost evil corporate outfitter has some reman motors for pretty cheap right now....hmmmmm.

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