What Is a Spot-Lock Trolling Motor? (And What Are The Benefits)

Most people are aware of what an electric trolling motor is. These silent battery-powered motors allow you to maneuver your boat or yak into the perfect fishing position.

There’s no need to crank up the motor when adjusting the position.

Nor do we need to leave it idle, engaging it every few minutes, simply to work a short section of the bank.

Instead, we fine-tune our fishing position using an electric trolling motor clipped to the bow or transom.

With a remote or foot control, we can steer, accelerate, hold, and slow the boat, quietly work a target zone perfectly – without disturbing the fish.

Electric trolling motors have been a revelation for anglers. But there is a downside. We find ourselves doing an awful lot of maneuvering.

We battle the current and wind to hold our place, making constant adjustments. 

Trolling motors are fantastic, but they can pull focus, wasting valuable fishing time.

This is where Spot-Lock has changed everything. Now, you can hold your position automatically – Spot-Lock does it automatically. 

So, what is Spot-Lock?

What is Spot-Lock?

Think of Spot-Lock as a digital anchor. Spot-Lock is a specialized type of electric trolling motor that anglers use to keep their vessel in a fixed position.

When Spot-Lock is engaged, the trolling motor receives GPS coordinates. 

It will constantly adjust the motor’s thrust and direction to maintain position, counteracting wind and current.

With the press of a button, a Spot-Lock trolling motor will keep its position automatically. By and large, no adjustments are required.

Your focus becomes the target zone and the fish.

Spot-Lock is activated by a remote control or a smartphone app connecting wirelessly to the trolling motor.

Benefits of Using a Spot-Lock Trolling Motor

fisherman throwing a bait from his boat

The main benefit of Spot-Lock is time-saving convenience – as with just about every invention.

Spot-Lock gives the angler more time to fish by reducing our time focused on boat management and positioning.

Let’s look at this in a little more detail.

No Need to Anchor

Experienced anglers are pretty good with ropes and anchors. They can read the current, drop anchor, and let out enough rope to hold a position accurately.

But this operation takes time, even for experienced anglers. The currents, tides, and wind always have a say in what happens.

The boat’s position needs to be constantly monitored and often adjusted. Rope and anchor adjustments take more time away from your fishing.

And how much time has passed before you realize the boat has drifted off the target zone?

With Spot-Lock, you don’t need to deploy an anchor at all. Just identify your target zone, engage Spot-Lock, and the motor will hold the boat in place with Spot-Lock.

All you need to do is focus on fishing. Anchoring, plus adjustments, takes ages. Spot-Lock does it in a split second, with incredible accuracy.

Position Accuracy

You are fishing, and your sounder has detected a good fish-holding structure. A sunken boat, a small reef, or something similar.

Perhaps you’ve encountered a school of bait fish with predatorial-looking monsters lurking underneath.

Whatever the case, you want to hold this position.

You use your sounder as a guide and landmarks for reference to hold your position.

However, holding this position can take significant effort. You may drift 30 yards or more of the target zone without realizing it.

Holding the position to drop lures in the perfect spot can be a constant effort.

Spot-Lock allows anglers to quickly lock onto specific fishing spots, underwater structures, or schools of fish.

Spot-Lock uses satellite technology via GPS to hold the position with incredible accuracy. Again, your focus is on fishing rather than holding position.

Position accuracy significantly increases the chances of successful catches. You won’t spend time casting into a dead zone before realizing you’ve drifted off target.

And you won’t have to waste any time repositioning the boat.

Spot-Lock can be a massive advantage for maintaining a position accurately when the weather is poor.

Strong currents, conflicting winds, and poor visibility can make holding a spot impossible.

Spot-Lock can be excellent in these situations. It will hold you steady and hold the spot accurately. You won’t be second-guessing whether or not you’ve drifted.

Be aware that heavy wind and current can sometimes be too strong for the motor. At such times, the motor may cut out so it doesn’t overheat.

It will work to its capacity to keep you accurately placed until such times as the load is too much, risking overheating.

Staying out of Trouble

We often fish structures and river bed contours our boat must avoid at all costs. Shallow mud banks, reefs, or other obstacles may damage our boat, and we may even get stuck.

These very tricky locations are often ideal for anglers to cast at.

Spot-Lock allows you to hold a position near potentially dangerous locations without the fear of drifting into troublesome waters that compromise safety.


Fishing in a choppy wind can be very uncomfortable. You can adjust Spot-Lock to hold a position conducive to comfort and safety.

The last thing we want is to have the wind and waves hitting us broadside creating excessive movement.

You can avoid poor boat stability due to conditions with accurate positioning. This is easily achieved with Spot-Lock.

Speedy Adjustments

With Spot-Lock operated via remote control or your smartphone, positioning adjustments can be made easily anywhere in the boat.

Again, this saves time, as you don’t have to move around the boat. The motor receives adjustments at light speed.

Limiting your movements in the boat also has added safety and stealth benefits. You are less open to tripping, and you will make less noise.


Spot-Lock increases your endurance and versatility by ensuring you can adapt to ever-changing conditions.

For example, you can hold a target zone long after a wind change would have usually made it too complicated.

By using Spot-Lock, anglers can fish every type of fishing location with confidence, as Spot-Lock handles boat positioning for them. 

As a result, it becomes much easier to fish in tricky but likely productive locations.

Features of Spot-Lock Trolling Motors

angler starting his fishing boat

Spot-Lock motors come with a range of features. Whatever type of boat you have, there is a spot lock trolling motor that will work well.

Shaft Lengths

Depending on the brand, shaft lengths start at 47” and can be as long as 72”. If you’re unsure which shaft length suits your vessel, you must take advice.


Depending on the brand, thrust/power is usually correlated with price. 

As less thrust is cheaper, it’s common for anglers to go with a less powerful motor and end up underpowered.

This can be a big problem. It is better to have too much thrust than not enough. Depending on the size of your vessel, you can choose thrust power starting from 45lb up to 120 lb.

Wireless Foot Pedals & Remote Control Options

Remote controls allow you to operate Spot-Lock from anywhere in the boat. And you can select different remote control options depending on your boat layout, size, and fishing habits.

For those who tend to fish from the one position in the boat, foot pedals are great, as the motor operation is hands-free. You can fish while operating the motor.

Many anglers prefer the convenience of a pocket-size hand remote control. It’s easy and doesn’t take up much space.

But linking to your Spot-Lock with a smartphone app is becoming more popular, as most anglers will have their phone on them at all times anyway.

I-Pilot System & Heading Sensor

The I-Pilot system, developed by Minn Kota, offers cruise control and advanced autopilot for greater positioning and control. This is on top of Spot-Lock.

The Heading provides more accurate boat heading information for more precise navigation and Spot-Lock performance.

Mapping Devices & I-Pilot Link

I-Pilot Link allows the trolling motor to communicate with compatible mapping devices. Anglers most commonly link to compatible fish finders.

This enables extraordinary automation and allows for precise boat control and navigation based on the detailed maps and waypoints in the fishfinder.

How Accurate is Spot-Lock?

Spot-Lock can be incredibly accurate, providing precise boat positioning within a foot of the GPS coordinates.

But the accuracy can vary depending on conditions and other variables. For example, if the GPS signal is poor or intermittent, dropouts may cause Spot-Lock to stop.

Currents and wind may overpower the motor’s thrust. In such a case, the boat will not hold its position. It can depend on the motor, its thrust, charge, and performance.

By and large, Spot-Lock is highly reliable for maintaining your boat’s position in most fishing conditions.

Do you need GPS for spot lock?

Electric trolling motors do not require Spot-Lock or GPS. However, Spot-Lock requires GPS to function.

Does Spot-Lock Work Without a Fish Finder

Yes. Spot-Lock works very well without a fish finder. Its primary task of holding you in position doesn’t require a connection to a fish finder.

However, Spot-Lock’s features and functionality are enhanced when connected to a compatible fish finder.

What is Spot-Lock Jog?

Spot-Lock Jog allows anglers to nudge or move the boat in small increments while Spot-Lock is still active.

In other words, you can make refined adjustments to your boat’s position via the remote control without deactivating Spot-Lock.

Can You Add Spot-Lock to a Trolling Motor?

Yes, you can add Spot-Lock to your existing electric trolling motor. This task is straightforward for those reasonably handy with a screwdriver and pliers.

Just be aware that the process may differ slightly between motor brands, types, and sizes. Adding Spot-Lock to your motor is highly encouraged. It’s brilliant.

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