What Is Spot-Lock Trolling Motor: How Does It Functions

When you’re in a perfect fishing spot, you need to put your boat fixed in that place. And this is where you need a spot-lock-compatible trolling motor. Spot lock is an excellent GPS anchor to lock your boat on exactly where you need it to be. 

You only need to press the button, and the spot-lock will hold the boat in an accurate place. Don’t have to be fixed in one spot to operate the spot-lock feature. You can instruct it from anywhere on the boat instead. 

Keep reading this article to learn what is spot-lock trolling motor, how it works, its benefits and many other essential factors. 

What Is Spot-Lock Trolling Motor

Spot-lock is the most popular feature of i-Pilot, which performs like an electronic anchor. Once you activate this feature, it will activate your trolling motor. And your boat can be stable within 5 feet radius considering the currents, waves, and wind conditions.

Having spot-lock trolling for fishing, you don’t have to be bothered about the wind or the current condition of the water body. You can be wherever you want to be. Your spot-lock trolling motor will allow you to be in the right place fixed automatically. 

When Did Spot-Lock Come Out?

The Minn Kota brand is the inventor of this outstanding spot-lock feature. It’s one of the top world-leading companies that unveiled the spot lock trolling motor in 2009. It was the most revolutionary moment for the anglers to be introduced to this amazing boat-controlling option. 

Only a button press can control your fishing boat, and fixing it in a specific place for hours is still incredible after more than a decade.  

How Do Spot-Lock Trolling Motors Work?

Spot-lock works through a single reference point when you press the button. This reference point indicates the GPS coordinates for that specific location right when the spot-lock button is pressed. The info on this single point can be recorded and saved. 

It produces an Arrival Circle around which the trolling motor can navigate automatically and stay within. It engages the motor to stay in the Arrival Circle in the required location. When the i-Pilot is messaged, the trolling motor is inside the Arrival Circle, automatically turns the trolling speed to zero. 

Again when the i-Pilot notices the motor isn’t within the Arrival Circle, which means outside the Arrival Circle, it starts controlling the motor speed.  

Does Spot-Lock Require Gps?

Spot-lock needs GPS to navigate the locations, ensure compliance, and track the fish migrations. Also, it requires GPS to lock the fishing boat with accuracy. When you point the motor in your required direction and press the button, the spot-lock uses GPS to ensure your boat is in your selected heading. 

In its track mode, the GPS pulls the boat in its selected course and continues to compensate for current and wind interruption. So, your boat won’t move until you apply your next command. Spot-lock uses GPS to deliver the underwater surveying info. 

Will Spot-Lock Work Without The Heading Sensor?

Except for the Jog, the other i-Pilot features, for example, spot-lock, don’t need a heading sensor. The spot-lock can work without this heading sensor. 

However, if you prefer using the Jog function in your spot-lock, the trolling motor won’t work unless it’s included with a heading sensor.

Do You Need A Fish Finder For Spot-Lock?

The spot-lock incorporates a built-in GPS already, which means you don’t need a fish finder. The GPS can work independently to keep your boat fixed in the right place without any fishfinders.

However, if you want to increase the mapping capabilities of your motor, you can add a fish finder. It’s not a must-have feature for spot-lock.

How Good Is Spot-Lock Accuracy and Precision?

In most cases, it depends on how accurately you set up the spot-lock. It’s essential to calibrate the spot-lock faultlessly to achieve the top accuracy level. Also, you must ensure the combination of your trolling motor and the boat size is perfect. 

A high-powered motor for a small size boat will lead to inaccuracy. Again, a low-powered motor for a giant size boat will also let the spot lock tends to lower accuracy. 

How To Use Spot Lock Trolling Motor

It’s so simple and convenient to use a spot-lock trolling motor. If you want to anchor instantly in the deeper water, it will allow you to fish under your boat. Here’s a quick way how you can use the spot-lock trolling motor-

  • Take the i-Pilot remote that will allow you to control your boat
  • Go to the specific location where you want to sit fishing for hours and don’t want your boat to move
  • Press the anchor button on the remote, and the boat will drift a bit back
  • Now the spot lock will hold you right on the instructed spot
  • That’s all

How To Use Spot-Lock Jog

You can use the spot-lock Jog features when moving your boat in a specific direction. here’s how to use it-

  • Press the button and move the boat to 5 feet (any compass direction)
  • The heading sensor of the spot-lock Jog will then determine the instructed direction
  • Use the spot-lock Jog considering the school of fish

How Much Is A Spot-Lock Trolling Motor

Manufacturing a trolling motor with spot-lock necessitates including different additional parts in the motor that raise the cost. Usually, the trolling motors with spot-lock cost higher than the other regular motors. It can cost more than $4000 based on the features and functionality. 

If you are wondering what is the cheapest spot lock trolling motor? Then check out our complete guide on the top 10 budget-friendly trolling motor with spot lock. This will help you choose the best one out of so many available options on the market.

Can Spot-Lock Be Added To A Trolling Motor?

Yes, you can add a spot-lock to your trolling motor if it doesn’t have this feature. However, the spot-lock option isn’t available in all models. Here, all you need to do is check whether your trolling motor spot-lock is compatible. If it’s spot-lock compatible, you can add this feature trouble-free.

Pros Of having Spot-Lock Feature

Using spot-lock, you’ll be free to leave the steering to control the speed. You don’t have to be worried like your boat can move or distract the school of fish. So, it will deliver plenty of time to concentrate on your lure presentation for successful fishing. Besides, spot-lock is the perfect feature to target the tightly-grouped school of fish in the deep water. 

Why Does My Spot-Lock Keep Turning Off?: Quick Fix

There’s not any specific reason why your spot-lock can turn off, but the most frequent reasons can be the following-

  • If the motor battery is damaged, the spot lock won’t start. Replacing the battery will be the only solution
  • If it gets any power interruption, it will shut off. So, check out if the wires are loose. Tighten the wires perfectly
  • If the battery delivers low power, the spot-lock will also shut off suddenly. In this case, charge the battery or replace a new one if necessary
  • The master switch shuts off when it is stowed. A momentary power interruption will happen at that time and it’s normal. If you find this happening in this way, no steps need to be taken


Is Spot-Lock the same as I-pilot?

No. The spot-lock is only a single feature of the entire i-Pilot system. i-Pilot, on the other hand, is the complete GPS.

Does Spot-Lock scare fish?

When the spot-lock is used in shallow freshwater, it can scare fish considering the water depth. However, you don’t have this issue in terms of deeper water. 

Can I add Spot-Lock to a Minn Kota? 

Yes, you can. But only some of the models are available with spot-lock options of Minn Kota, for instance, Minn Kota Riptide, Minn Kota Ultrex, PowerDrive, etc. So, if you want to add spot-lock to these models, you can.  

Does MotorGuide trolling motor have a spot lock?

MotorGuide XI3 and XI5 are featured with spot-lock. 

Does a Minn Kota Terrova trolling motor have Spot-Lock?

Yes, the Minn Kota Terrova is a perfect spot-lock compatible trolling motor. 

Final Thoughts

The auto-controlling power is actually the key advantage that comes from the spot-lock trolling motor. It will save you time spending on fixing your boat position and controlling it constantly. 

Since you don’t need to focus on your boat position, you’ll get plenty of time to concentrate on the lure presentation. So, there’s no trouble catching more fish with a spot-lock trolling motor.  

Anthony Jones
Anthony Jones

Anthony is an expert in fishing and trolling motor equipment, based in Austin. In his free time, he can often be found out on the water, perfecting his fishing techniques and testing out the latest gear.

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