by Steve Morgan •
Yes, it’s true – at Fishing Monthly and tacklejunkie.fish we do get to test the cool new stuff as it hits our shores. And we don’t try to hide the fact that some of this stuff is pretty exciting!
Power Equipment launched their Torqeedo distributorship last year, and I was excited about the Torqeedo 26-104 battery the moment I saw it in the catalogue. I’ve used lithium batteries in my boat before – a set of Lithionics to power a 24V Minn Kota Fortrex on the Fishing Monthly Phoenix. I loved them even though the system was a little clunky; two 12V cells in series and a separate control box that all had to be installed and tied down separately.
By contrast, this Torqeedo system is that it’s an all-in-one package that weighs in at a little over 23kg. Previously, the pair of Full River 110aH batteries that boasted the same capacity weighed in at 38kg.
That’s 76kg plus the weight of an on-board charger. By swapping the Full Rivers for the 20-104, you instantly save at least 53kg.
In a bass boat, this means several things. It means that the boat travels at 6 knots on a much more level attitude and with a lot less wake. It also means that it pops on to the plane easier, and draws less water so I can fish shallower spots – around 5-7cm shallower.
But the best thing is the power curve of lithium batteries. All day, the electric motor feels like it’s come straight off the charger. Lithium batteries retain a high charge, while lead-acid batteries drop voltage through their cycle. You can actually feel the voltage drop through the unit during a day’s fishing.
I wasn’t brave enough to fish for more than three days on this battery before charging it. That wasn’t using it on an electric-only dam where it was the sole means of propulsion – just standard correcting and controlling a drift with the current.
For those of us who currently run 2 x 24v batteries, the good news is that the Torqeedo fits neatly into the space that these batteries take up.
In the Fishing Monthly bass boat we needed to build up the platform a little with some nylon boards, but once this was done, two webbing straps held the battery very securely in place.
Accessories-wise, all you need to run this battery with any 24V trolling motor is an on/off switch. This plugs into the two data ports that would usually be filled by plugs from the proprietary Torqeedo electric motor like the Cruise. Push the button for a couple of seconds and the system turns on. It’ll turn itself off after 48h if not used.
The only other piece of equipment you’ll need is a charger. Torqeedo’s 10A equivalent charger is waterproof, but I prefer to not mount it in the boat; I just carry it around with the extension cords in a milk crate. It’s rigged to clip on with an Anderson clip and after a day’s fishing, I plug it in when I get home and then remove it before I go to bed. It usually only takes a couple of hours to get the battery
back to 100%.
The cost/benefit of lithium batteries versus lead/acid is the most common debate I have with fellow anglers. The fact is that at around $5000 for the system, it’s around four times the price.
For me, the benefits are worth it. On paper, the system will last through a few sets of regular batteries, but the real advantages come through the weight savings. The reduction in weight gives better performance that would only be achieved otherwise through repowering the boat, modifying your outboard or blueprinting a propeller. Plus, you can get your boat in shallower water.
Naturally, this system isn’t ever going to make it back to Torqeedo. I’m keeping it!