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Apr 28 2009

Lenco Trim Tab Trolling Motors Review and Feedback

Published by at 7:02 pm under Fishing Gear Talk,Fishing Journal

back_bwparker21seI have had Lenco Trim Tab trolling motors installed on my boat (Parker 21SE) for about eight years now. A lot of people ask me my feedback and I have answered many emails with a lot of questions so I figured I would post a list of questions with my answers here for those that might be looking to purchase them. To be fully disclosed I did receive a outdoor professional discount on them when I bought them, however I am not paid by Lenco or anything. In addition the Lenco company has changed hands since I originally bought them so I can not comment that much on the new ownership other then to say when I needed a part here or there or needed my transformer box replaced they were very nice and resolved the situation.

I am currently selling my Parker 21Se and replacing it with a Jones Brother 23 Cape Fisherman. I am not sure if I will be going with the Lenco’s or trying the new Minn Kota Trim-n-Troll package. I like to try new products so I may go with the Minn Kota’s, but I am still doing research. When I make a decision I will post.

Questions I have been asked with my answers. If you have other questions feel free to email me.

1. Are you satisfied overall?
Completely, I cannot even imagine how I fished with out them. I primarily fish in shallow water so realize that is where I use them the most which may differ from how you fish.

2. Are the motors strong enough to troll or to control your boat around pilings etc in wind and tide?
I guess you could troll with them, but that is not really what they are designed nor meant to do.  They are designed more for controlling around structure when shallow water fishing, adjusting a drift, going a short distance when working birds and things like that.

3. I assume you’ve got separate batteries, how long do they last throughout the day.
As an example, one day I fished the CBBT, there were three of us, I had a full tank of fuel (90gals) and our gear. We fished around pilings etc and I used them to adjust our drift, hold us in position all on the high setting in the current. We actually fished for about 3 1/ 2 solid hours, of course I used the motors on and off, but I still had juice left when we came into the dock. I also have series 31 batteries which give me a good duration of battery life.

If I fish on my local waters they will last me all day in general with regular use.  I fished the Susquehanna Flats twenty six days  out of thirty a few years ago and used them every day to adjust drifts, hold position etc and never had a problem with them running out of juice even with a short overnight charge.

Realize though that type of boat, weight of boat and gear, how much and what setting you use the motors, type of batteries, draft of boat, and dead rise can all effect battery life.

4. Is it easy to keep the boat going straight with two stern motors? I’ve heard that its hard and boat has a tendency to spin.
I have never had a problem with the boat spinning with them unless I make the boat spin. I have been using them now for a bunch of years and am used to them, but even in the beginning I did not have a problem with my boat spinning.  You can also put your motor down which will help keep the boat direction constant if you are in deep enough water to let it down.

5. How good are the trim tabs? As good as Bennetts? Any leaks, operating problems?
The tabs are electric, so no leaks to deal with and instant response and I mean instant. Some people will say that electric and saltwater do not mix. All I know is that Brain Horsely who is a full time guide down in NC has had them on his boat for over ten years and he fishes the ocean all the time, even with salinity like that he has not had a problem. My boat sees the bay and ocean, but I take my boat out of the water, so while I have not had a problem, Brian’s experience really is a testament that they can and do hold up. I have not heard of anyone else having trouble, so as far as my personal experience and what I have heard, no problems.

6. Do you have the wired or wireless remote?
I have the cord because my is an older model. My came with a 20 ft cord that you can strap to your belt, I just keep mine velcroed  to the console.
They do now have a wireless remote which I think may be standard, if it is not I would highly recommend it.

7. Any pointers if you were going to do it again?
Not that I can think of. I had them professionally installed so I cannot talk from the viewpoint of installation. I will have them (tab trolling motors) on any fly fishing/light tackle boat I ever have unless something revolutionary comes out that I cannot resist trying

8. Isn’t it better to pull a boat through the water then to push it?
In theory, yes. However when you move into the saltwater center console arena where you have higher gunnels and  generally higher profile boats it becomes a challange to put a bow mount trolling motor on the boat because of the length of the shaft needed to reach the water.  I had a bow mounted trolling motor  on my boat when I first got it, but what I did not like was that it was so big that when it was up on the deck it would bounce around in rough water. I did try tying it down and it somewhat worked, just not enough that I was happy with it.   Now it is possible mount one on the bow and make it work; I have a few friends who have them on their center consoles, one friend has a 23 Jones Brothers and has a long shaft either a Motor Guide Saltwater Series or a Minn Kota Riptide wireless bow mount, I forget which one. I have fished with him and actaully controlled it. I really like how it works. The rig works for him because he does not fish out in the ocean along the east coast or in the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay where it can get rougher, most of his fishing is in one of the rivers that feeds the main portion of the bay and he picks his days.

9. How do you charge your batteries?
I had an on-board battery charger installed inside the console. All i do is plug the extension cord into the socket on the side of the console and it charges both batteries that run the trolling motors.

In summary, it’s better to pull a boat through the water, but pushing it with the trim tab trolling motors as worked well for me over the years and I have not had any limitations other then the new bow mounted motors have a setting where you can just point it in a heading and it will keep the boat going there. I like that feature, but its not enough for me to switch.

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Lenco Trim Tab Trolling Motors Review and Feedback”

  1. Chatham_Blueson 04 May 2009 at 11:32 am

    Brandon – Thanks for the update. I’m looking at installing the Lenco Troll’n tabs to my 2003 Parker 25 SE. I fish all over the East Coast including Cape Cod, Harker’s Island and lately Tampa Bay for Tarpon and the inshore group. I’m figuring on a 36 volt system to push the boat (~5000 lbs) and mounting the batteries under the forward seat of the center counsel. I thought this would distribute the load better and give a cleaner install. I’ve looked at the Lenco’s since I’ve never had a problem with the trim tabs on my boat. I’m also looking at the Min Kota and now hear Hummingbird also has a system. I guess I have two questions: (1) How long have you had your system installed? and (2) who did your install. I bought my Parketr at Tri_State and they have always done the maintenance but I’m waiting on a call back from Harvey to see if they can do the installation. Like you I trailer my boat so I’m not concerned about the tabs “sitting” in the sea water just the efficiency of the systems. Thanks in advance for any info! Rick

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