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is i pilot worth it? reliability and longevity

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I Love microskiff.com!
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105 Posts
I'm fat, and I love my iPilot.

I fish alone quite a bit, and it makes maneuvering a breeze. If I'm in deeper water on fish, I can hit the anchor feature and stay on the school, or I can work birds easily without having to power the big motor. Same thing with drifting reefs, and I can troll a shoreline with ease in the marsh. It doesn't spook fish in Galveston like it might in other parts of the country.
 

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Lip Ripper
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1,707 Posts
I had the co-pilot and it was great for fishing alone. I'd buy that again, I thought the ipilot had too many bells and whistles for me to actually have to learn to justify the additional cost.
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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685 Posts
I think remote control trolling motors are irritating to use. I spend more time with the damn remote than I do fishing when it's windy or there's a stiff current. I like my hand controlled model way better.
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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81 Posts
Gotta have the remote... Client on the bow platform ready to cast , me controlling and sighting on the poling platform... Can't do that with a hand steer.. Went with Copilot on smaller skiff though to save $$ 55lb.. But the big skiff has the 80lb. With spot lock...
 

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BBA Counselor
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7,370 Posts
I was skeptical of remote trolling motors for a long time, I used older ones and they sucked. They were slow to respond couldn't make small adjustments, and way to expensive. Been using hand controlled ones for years now.

However, the new Ipilots are a different story! After getting to use one just for a bit I'll be adding one to my next skiff. Spot lock is worth it's weight in gold alone for fishing docks and bridges. As far as everyone commenting about making small adjustments, well you really don't need to because the tm will hold your heading automatically, which I love cause even in wind you don't need to mess with it and can just fish. Can't speak to reliability, but haven't heard any complaints.
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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As far as holding my heading automatically I guess if I programmed every creek that's 20 feet wide into it it would be alright but what I hate about spot lock is that the trolling motor doesn't operate QUIETLY. If it drifts off it's spot it runs wide open to catch back up and makes a bunch of noise. I like to use as little juice as possible and quietly drift the creeks or flats if I can. The ipilot will never do that better than I will. Furthermore these stupid things break constantly anyway much less if I add another motor and gearbox. I think for a bay boat they're great to hold spots offshore and not anchor or when you're working larger bodies of water but I don't like them enough to want to pay 3 times the price of a normal troller especially not for a creek boat.
 

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Lowcountry Degen
2021 Conchfish 17.8
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2,046 Posts
I love my iPilot, but I really wish that someone made one with a manual override option.

I like to be able to use the remote so that I can stand on the poling platform and drive with an angler on the bow, and I absolutely love the GPS lock for "anchoring" when I'm bottom fishing deeper water or when I'm just pitching under docks to explore an area.

However, there are definitely times where I just want to be able to nudge it with my knee or something, or if I need to make an adjustment really quickly. I can't speak to the longevity of it since I've had it less than a year, but so far it's been really good.
 

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FlounderPounder
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1,233 Posts
I bought an xi5. My main reasoning for a remote trolling motor is its more compact size. The anchor feature is just a bonus. I wish minn Kota and Motorguide would made a tiller model in the same size as the remote units.
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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I wish minn Kota and Motorguide would made a tiller model in the same size as the remote units.
This is the smartest thing I've heard anyone say all day. How awesome would a quick/foot release tiller model be?

By the way....I prefer the tiller. I find myself using my TM to steer through oyster minefields and super narrow creeks more than anything, and I have absolute and steady control with a tiller.
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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611 Posts
I pilot question
Is any one type of trolling motor better in every situation than the other, my answers is a resounding no. Tiller, Foot, and Remote control all have situations where they are they best. But we only put one on our boats so we have to make a choice.

For me IPilot is the Bomb, I've had mine for 5 years now without a single issue (I had to change battery twice).

The feature I use the least is the record a track, but I have used it trolling and it is hard to beat. Speckle perch/Crappie/Sac-Au-lait fishing, combine record a track with side imaging and you can wear those rigs out.My daughter and I caught 70 in 1 hour by marking way points of schools and then recording our track and just letting the TM do all the work controlling the boat. Trolling for trout in wide creeks in the Suwanee area, shoot I've put some meat in the boat.

Spot lock is a must have for me, the only time I've pulled my anchor out is about 3 years ago when a my buddy forgot his and I lent him mine. Going into some deep water with your small boat on less than IDEAL conditions to fish some structure, I don't know about you but the last thing I want to do is anchor on a rope. A few years back I wore the sheep heads out on Stienhatchee reef when other boats would not even go because I could spot lock the bow into the waves. I have caught so many fish because of spot lock convenience, not mention all the time I have save not deploying and recovering anchor.

Heading lock is pretty good not perfect, its best use to me is to combine it with cruise control and slipped down a creek/channel or creep up a creek/channel. Slipping is actually going backwards at a controlled pace. You engage the heading lock and set motor speed at less than what will hold you against the current/wind and you can slip down a creek or channel. Cruise control is nice to ease against the current up a creek or channel, it can be set in 1/10th of a MPH increments.

Where would I rather have a Tiller, low tide in a oyster bar filled creek. However a remote controlled unit is workable.

Where would I rather have a foot controlled TM, fishing cypress knees for bass. However a remote controlled unit is workable.
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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And if you want the next level, get the new one with auto stow/deploy:) I won't own a boat with out one unless it's big enough to sleep on...
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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The I-pilot is a real spoiler for sure however, an absolutely fantastic tool from the casting platform and/or when fishing alone. I always thought that the tiller was the best way to control a smaller craft (and in SOME instances may still be) UNTIL...........I was able to try the I-pilot.
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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I love my iPilot, but I really wish that someone made one with a manual override option.
Amen - that would be the perfect option. I was able to rig a makeshift override on my previous Motorguide remote controlled unit by adding a PVC ring to the shaft to prevent the steering mechanism to engage. Then I purchased an add on tiller handle. Still had to use the remote to control speed, but it was nice to be able to steer with the handle.

However, I now have the iPilot and I don't have the need for this as much anymore. Like others have mentioned, the autopilot feature is amazing. Simply control the speed with the remote and adjust the heading much less frequently than a unit without it. I also find it takes the place of spot lock. Everywhere I fish, it's into current or wind - so, I can hit the autopilot button and use a slow speed to keep the boat positioned into the wind/current and hold in a spot. It works better than spot lock. Like someone eluded to, spot lock will allow you to drift off the spot and then power you back over to it at full speed. Terrible functionality in shallow water situations.
 
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