TESTED: Watersnake 54 Slider bow-mount electric

OVER the past six months I have been extensively testing the 12v Watersnake Slider 54lb bow mount electric motor. I have been using it on my 4.15m Bluefin Estuary Trekker in coastal estuaries, Snowy Mountains lakes and other freshwater impoundments. This is also the second generation of Watersnake I’ve tested.

I have not been surprised to hear that Watersnake motors are making a serious impact in the Aussie boating market. To start with, the price point for these motors is excellent. They have really put electric motors, especially bow mounts, within reach of virtually any angler who can afford a boat. Secondly, for the models I have been using, and those used by friends, the general verdict is that they are both dependable and durable. This point is one that really soured my impressions of some of the competitor brands I have previously owned over the years.

My 12 volt model has sufficient power and thrust for all of the slow trolling and manoeuvring that I do, although it does struggle when heading directly into a decent wind. This might be a consideration if you intend to use your electric motor for travel as well. You may need to consider a greater thrust model.

I particularly like the quick release system on the mounting plate. It is efficient and easy to operate, especially with freezing cold hands in alpine climates. The foot control remains unchanged from the original model I tested, which is fine with me as I reckon it is ergonomically well designed and certainly very easy to use with your feet. One feature I like is power neutralisation when the motor is in the stowed position. This prevents it from accidentally operating when travelling and running down your battery power.

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This latest model Slider that I have been using also has an in-line fuse. This is a good precautionary feature but it is quite large and can get in the way if left to hang. There are holes in the casing so that you can screw it in permanently to your deck. However, I wanted to be able to dismount the motor so I attached an adhesive Velcro hook patch on it so that I can fix to the carpet of the deck. This prevents it from bouncing around. If you don’t have carpet you can just attach an opposing Velcro loop patch somewhere on your deck or even on the body of the motor itself and secure it that way. The propeller design is weedless which greatly reduces the chances of weed from entering the propeller housing and damaging the internal operation of the motor.

As a side issue, if you have not had anything to do with electric motors before, the Watersnakes (as well as almost all other brands) come with power cables fitted with ring type terminal connections to fit to your batteries. I highly recommend that you replace these with an Anderson Plug connection. These are the best I have used in ensuring a sound connection while still allowing for easy disconnection and reconnection. You will need to purchase this yourself and, if you are not particularly handy, may need to get an electrician to fit it for you.

In terms of overall functionality, I have found these motors to be sound. However, they are at their price point for a reason. Watersnakes do lack some of the technological features of some other electric motors. The “auto pilot” function available on other brands is a currently not available on any of the Watersnake models. Whilst fishing I can’t say that I miss this feature as I am constantly “driving” my motor, making whatever adjustments I feel necessary. Where I do miss it is when I want to do some rigging, make a cuppa or lunch whilst underway. An autopilot function allows you to track in a straight line without making any adjustments. This is very handy, especially if it is windy. It would be nice to see this feature, or similar, introduced into future models.

There are two other features gaining traction in the electric motor market. These are wireless remote controls and integrated GPS tracking and piloting technology. Watersnake currently has one remote control model and this year will release a new updated version. They are also committed to ensuring they keep pace with angler’s needs in regards to any new or emerging technology but will not lose focus on continuing to produce reliable and affordable motors.

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