Auto Pilot Options for 23 ft CC ?? Auto Pilot Options for 23 ft CC ?? Auto Pilot Options for 23 ft CC ?? Auto Pilot Options for 23 ft CC ??
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  1. #1

    Default Auto Pilot Options for 23 ft CC ??

    I have a Century 2300 with a 200 hp OB. With drift socks I can troll down to 1.5 or 1.8. Retiring soon and thinking about auto pilot options. Have read about autopilots for kickers and kicker plus electric on bow configuration. Donít know anyone with autopilot and looking for experienced advise. Thanks.

  2. #2


    Adding a kicker and bow mount trolling motor to your boat is about the best thing going if you want to get into trolling. You also get the benefit of spotlock. Now your cc bow sits higher than most multi species boat, Rhodan and Minn kota both make really long shafted motors, 84 and 87 respectively.
    I also recommend getting an efi kicker, no cold start carb problems. Also adding a throttle control on the kicker like itroll, controllking or trollmaster will allow you to dial in throttle in tenths of a mile an hour. Use your kicker( locked in straight) for 2/3 of total propulsion needed and remaining 1/3 provided by the bow for steering.
    I think trolling this way is the cats pajamas, really makes setting and keeping a course very easy allowing you to fish and not have to worry about steering and staying the course.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Columbus Ohio


    I have a 23ft cc with 225 optimax. Like you I use trolling bags. Three years now with a furuno hydraulic autopilot. I can keep trolling in almost any wave conditions because the big engine has more grip in the water Also keeps me on track making long runs to the fishing grounds and back home. All those electric trolling motors and small gas powered kickers have their place. But for our big lake I prefer hydraulics on a long shaft with a big prop. Good Luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Delaware, OH


    If your boat has hydraulic steering, nothing beats an autopilot on the main motor. I have an autopilot on the main and I have a kicker tied in. The best slow speed control (my AP is Raymarine EV150) occurs when both the kicker and main motors are down with two rudders in the water. It can do measured radius turns in any fishable conditions. Before that, I had TR1 which is a kicker AP. It was good, but not as good as the AP on the main motor. If Garmin had not discontinued it, Iíd still be using today. I also have a 36v Ulterra Riptide. Iíll put this on the boat for inland fishing and perch fishing with spot lock. If my autopilot were to break, Iíd use it to troll, but itís pretty limited compared to an AP on the main motor. Itís really good at keeping you on a straight line with wind/waves at your back. The main benefit of a hydraulic AP on the main motor is the ability to do a hands free 180 or figure eight. A .1 mile radius turn is perfect to not worry about tangling your lines and the AP does it perfectly. None of that turning 15 degrees and waiting for it to straighten out then another 15 degrees. It just turns one degree every few seconds until youíve completed your turn then it locks in once the turn is complete. Itís also very nice to have AP when running. Youíd be surprised how much better you can focus on looking for floating debris, etc when youíre not having to steer also. You can be out by the weather buoy, set a course to mazurik, engage the AP and focus on watching the water vs making sure youíre headed in the right direction. Iíll often lock in that course home when we start pulling rods. Once the last rod is clear, Iíll start the main motor and pull the kicker. Iíll bring in the boards last, make sure everythingís stowed then throttle up for the return to launch. By the time all the gear is stowed weíve gone 1/2 mile in the right direction.

  5. #5


    I donít have a kicker yet. I wonder if I put a hydraulic AP on my main and use drift socks if the AP would troll.

    Did you install?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Delaware, OH


    I¬ím positive a hydraulic autopilot on your main with trolling bags would troll well. I did a ton of research on these APs when I was choosing. The only one I¬íd avoid is the Garmin ¬Ďcompact reactor¬í. Their literature specifically states it¬ís not suited to slow speed operations. The regular Garmin reactor is good to go. I chose Raymarine Evilution because I found lots of positive comments from trollers on various forums. Seeing how it works, I don¬ít think it¬ís anything special though. Garmin Reactor, Raymarine, Furino, Smirad, Lowrance should all work. Trolling with bags gives very good control because the bags stop the boat from surging while the motor is producing lots of thrust. I¬íll troll that way in April when I¬ím trying to stay around 1.5

    I did the conversion to hydraulic steering and autopilot install myself. The difficult parts of that were 1) rigging tubes couldn¬ít handle three lines from helm to stern 2) needed odd/non standard hose lengths to do a ¬Ďclean install¬í and 3) needed additional fittings/elbows to connect AP pump to sea star fittings. The pandemic started around the time I started this install and shipping was slow early in the pandemic. The key to making custom length hoses is this fitting:

    Hydraulic Steering Hose Reusable Fitting, 5/16", 2TFMS-6-5B

  7. #7


    I have a 27' Baha Cruiser Catamaran twin 300s I have the Garmin 40 reactor with smart pump, my boat wt is 8420# I troll all day in any condition. I can go from .09 to 3 mph + haven't used bags in 2 yrs any A/P is better than none, A/P is something no boat should be without jmo . I like A/P when setting up to troll set A/P set speed set big boards and lines relax. I installed my A/P myself takes a little time but is well worth it, I also installed a A/P on my friends cable steered Sea Ray he also loves it go 4 it.

  8. #8


    I appreciate all the fantastic feedback from everyone. Should be able to get my boat out of storage soon and start getting serious about buying and installing AP. Iím now thinking about the Garmin reactor 40 because I just put a new Garmin chart plotter on the boat last year before the season got going. If there are any watch outs or key tips Iíll continue to take all this great advice to heart.

  9. #9


    I see you're leaning towards the AP on your motor, which I'm sure it's a fine option but just so you are fully informed I'll list some advantages of the bow/kicker combo.

    Keep the hours and wear and tear of the big motor. Also if your motor is a 2 stroke you know they prefer to operate in the upper rpm bands.

    If you add a bow mount you can take advantage of the spot lock and jog features- works great if you want to stay on some schooling perch or if you want to cast for walleyes or to manage drift speeds.

    If your big motor has problems you can get back to port. I think it's very important to have a kicker on the great lakes .

    Now obviously having the bow/ kicker combo is more expensive but the precision of control and the safety features are worth it.

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