I’ve always had a hankering to own an electric outboard. Not necessarily to get around a water, but for the various controls that it can lend whilst fishing, especially without a gillie. By that, I’m thinking of manoeuvring the boat, whilst fishing at the same time. This applies particularly to wild waters – where often the boat needs to hug the shoreline at all winds, and especially to salmon and sea trout waters, where known lies need to be covered precisely. However, it can also apply to reservoir fishing, where drifts can be controlled accurately, or in a flat calm, when having the boat move quietly and slowly can be a true benefit.

Endura has a clip-in extension handle and a power read-out on top of the cowling

In the past, I’ve made do with a pair of oars for quiet re-positioning of the boat, or re-setting for short drifts, but fishing whilst rowing is a tricky task, the main problem being what to do with your rod and line whilst making a couple of decisive pulls on the oars? Winding in is not the quickest or most efficient option, but letting your line drag in the water is a gamble – as it is almost guaranteed that it will have wrapped around an oar-blade by the time you are in your new position for a drift. Or stuck on a rock. Getting someone else to row is always the best option, but I fish a lot on my own, too.

Another thing I find about electric motors is that often, in my case, they need to be fitted to a boat which is moored a few hundred yards away, and generally across a peat bog. In which case, weight (and ease of carriage) is also a consideration.


So, would the Minn Kota Endura Max 45lb 12V 36-inch suit my requirements? Firstly, a few details. The 36-inch shaft is designed to suit most of the boats that we anglers tend to use for drifting. I tested this on a 16ft Coulam, but I wanted it to be portable and versatile, too. I also tried it on a 15 ft Coulam Defender. The 45lb thrust is required on a fibreglass boat, aluminium boats are lighter.


The 12-volt engine requires a deep-cycle (marine) battery, the type used on caravans and boats, otherwise known as leisure batteries. These batteries are heavy (around 40lb), which you can purchase for around £100 and upwards. There are lighter battery options, but if you have a hankering towards lithium batteries, which are around half the weight, then expect to pay a lot more.

For their engines, Minn Kota recommend a Mastervolt gel battery 12v 130Ah, which retails at £458.90. Or a 12v 100Ah LifePO4 (Lithium) battery, which weighs just 10.5kg (23lb), can be discharged to 100% of their capacity, and which retails at £900 (inc VAT). A CCA battery from Mastervolt (12v 130Ah) is a cheaper option, but you need to be aware it’s not what Minn Kota recommend, but it will perform better than the cheaper options.
The ‘Endura’ label is an interesting one. The engine features a digital maximiser, which the makers claim gives up to five times the battery life. A normal 45lb-thrust engine, running at 85% power will drain a 110 amp-hour battery in 2.07 hours. However, the Endura’s maximiser should see that this extends to just over ten hours use before it is 100% drained. Bearing in mind that kind of treatment kills a normal leisure battery, to err on the safe side, you should look to using half that, meaning it should give you a minimum of five hours at 85% power. As most fly fishers are not going to blast around at high speed for that long, this should see the battery last for a good session with the Endura.

I found that the Endura certainly seems to ‘endure’ pretty well. I spent one day on electric only, using it to travel approximately two miles into a breeze, it was then used to control short drifts and then return to the mooring, still retaining a quarter of its power nearly six hours later.

On a second day, I used it in tandem with a petrol engine (to do the donkey work) and then used the Endura for much of the day, ticking over to control drift, setting up drifts, stalking fish, and moving on a very calm day. On return to base, seven hours later, three-quarters of the power was still retained (the Endura has a handy push-button battery-tester on top of the cowling). On another five-hour session on a smaller loch, the Endura was in constant use, shuttling between drifts; again, it returned with power to spare.


The engine unit is light and well balanced, so carrying it is easy. Obviously, the battery is less so, and I know of one angler who has adapted a rucksack to carry his battery on his back to more distant boats.

There are numerous features of the Endura which make it appealing. The long twist-throttle handle (at 10.5 inches [27cm] ) means that the angler can easily control the engine whilst sitting in his/her fishing position at the stern. Reverse and forward options are simple: anticlockwise to go forward, clockwise for backwards, but remember all electrics struggle to push a boat in reverse; this engine will push a boat backwards, but if you want to save power and be faster, spin the boat round and travel forwards, the way it was designed to travel.

The prop-shaft can be easily slid up and down by use of a large, accessible wing-nut, and the engine can be tilted swiftly via a palm-sized release plate at the front. The propellor has two blades and is designed to chop through weed. This proved a useful design feature on one of the lochs (weed can pose a problem for electric outboards).

I enjoyed the fine control speed settings on the throttle – the engine can be set to a very low speed, giving the boat a barely perceptible movement, which can be very useful in a flat calm, for instance. It is also extremely quiet. At full blast, the Endura Max can push a 16-foot boat on at a steady lick, but not as fast as a 4-5 hp petrol engine. I’ve found that on big waters, like the 17-mile long Loch Tay, I mount both a petrol engine for travelling distance, and then use the Endura, mounted to a wooden side-plat on the transom for manoeuvring the boat on drifts.

From: Marathon Leisure, tel. 02392 637711