Nearly 1,000 manufacturers gather and showcase their new products at the annual ICAST show in Orlando. Many enter at least one new product in a competition for the coveted “Best of Show” award. Awards are given in 29 categories, but then one big overall winner is chosen. When the last ballot is cast, only one product can net that win.
The new Garmin “Force” trolling motor won that battle at the recent 2019 show and you don’t have to be a Jedi to use the exciting new features and technology. This is Garmin’s first entry into the trolling motor market. And it was the second year in a row for Garmin to take the top show award. In 2018, the Garmin’s LiveScope depth finder system took that top award.
The vision of pairing the two together obviously led voters to examine the product closely and they found what a few select anglers who have actually had the opportunity to test it out before it hit the market already knew. The power of the Force is evident.
Power and stealth
One of those anglers is pro crappie angler Dan Dannenmueller, a member of Garmin’s Pro Staff and regular participant in Louisiana crappie events.
“It’s an amazing product,” Dan said while showing me the product on the show floor. “It has 30% more thrust than any other freshwater trolling motor and more power means less power drain. I witnessed no response delays and had fewer adjustments and more control on maintaining positioning. The quiet operation is a huge plus. The motor is brushless, which is one of the keys. There is no noise when turning the motor. Look, I’ve seen fish react this year on LiveScope when a noise comes from the old trolling motors prior to the Force. This motor’s stealth will improve our fishing.”
While Force operates with almost undetectable levels of sonar and steering noise, it’s also the first trolling motor to include built-in industry-leading Garmin CHIRP traditional and Ultra High-Definition ClearVü and SideVü scanning sonars.
WiFi operated hand-held and foot pedal remote controls can be used from anywhere in the boat. Perhaps the motor’s most unique feature is “motion control,” which allows the motor to operate following hand movements of the controller after depressing a special button on the hand-held. It’s like playing Nintendo with your trolling motor. And there are no cables to break, bend or get in the way.
“I’ve honestly never seen this capability in any trolling motor except this one,” Dan said. “It perfectly follows your motions with no delays.”
Dan estimates that he and his “Crappie Mates” fishing partner, his wife Sue, log 1,600 to 2,000 hours a year on the trolling motor. So it’s easy to see why he is excited about the product. But he says it will benefit anybody.
“Whether a fisherman goes once a year, or frequently, either in tournaments or just for pleasure, the Force provides easy and ready to use controls. Having a quiet, powerful and full integrated set of capabilities is powerful. It allows you to easily make the most of your time on the water doing what you are there for — catching fish.”
Only a few units are available now, but consumers should expect better availability later in August and into the fall. Retail pricing is expected to run somewhere between $3,100 – $3,500 per motor.