Ol’ Gertrude had been on life support for quite some time.

Not long ago — after several months on the brink — I pulled the plug.

Purchasing a new trolling motor for my Nitro bass boat to replace ol’ Gertrude could’ve been delayed, but for how much longer? Being a guess at best, I was no longer in the mood to gamble.

The constants were ever-present: Ol’ Gertrude’s gears were noisy, her most powerful speed tripped a circuit breaker, and the girl’s foot petal became uncomfortably stiff to negotiate. And did I mention that her motor’s shaft was bent?

My good and faithful companion doesn’t owe me a darn thing. She never did. Buck, a friend from Carthage, gave her to me some 15 years ago after upgrading to a more powerful trolling motor.

I was in the same boat — pun intended. My trolling motor, at only 37 pounds of thrust, didn’t have enough “omm poppa mow mow” to navigate windy days. Buck’s generous donation solved that problem.

A week before Christmas, I bought a new trolling motor. My prayer is that she will be as rugged and reliable as Ol’ Gertrude. Withdrawing more than $800 from my personal savings account, I don’t think that’s too much to ask. My purchase was on sale. The going price at multiple websites was in the neighborhood of $1,300. So what I bought wasn’t exactly a cheapie.

Granted, there are more expensive trolling motors on the market, such as the Minn Kota 80-pound Pilot Link for around $3,000 — a sweet trolling motor, indeed, but too rich for my blood.

After hours of research, I selected a MotorGuide X5 bow-mount 24-volt trolling motor with a 45-inch shaft and 80 pounds of thrust.

For the length, width and weight of my fiberglass boat, the added thrust should be more than adequate to handle just about any scenario that Mother Nature throws my way. I’d rather have too much power than not enough.

One of its many features is “digital power management.” It’s engineered to extend battery life up to five times by using cooler-running electronics. The end result is longer running time and fewer battery charges. DPM is a popular feature among professional anglers.

Granted, the X5 isn’t equipped with all the bells and whistles as those costing thousands of dollars. That’s understandable: The price tag isn’t in the thousands, but that certainly doesn’t mean that it will be a poor performer.

MotorGuide, a major manufacture of trolling motors for decades, has an excellent reputation among thousands of anglers for quality and service. Include me in this group.

Some anglers favor other manufacturers, such as Minn Kota, Garmin, etc. To each their own.

Regardless of brand or price, a quiet motor spooks fewer fish. With that in mind, this unit should help improve my casting-to-catch ratio.

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