The ‘Force’ is with Garmin as ICAST “Best of Show”

Crappie pro Dan Dannenmueller demonstrates the new Garmin Force trolling motor and a new Garmin scanning sonar unit at the 2019 ICAST show.

New trolling motor make waves

Nearly 1,000 manufacturers gather and showcase their new products at the annual ICAST show in Orlando, Fla. 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 honor at the 2019 show in July, 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 the second year in a row for Garmin to take the top show award; Live Scope depth finder system took that top award in 2018.

The vision of pairing the two 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 before it hit the market already knew. The power of the Force is evident.

One of those anglers is pro crappie angler Dan Dannenmueller, a member of Garmin’s Pro Staff, and regular participant in Louisiana crappie events.

Only one can claim the “Best of Show” each year. This year it is this new Garmin Force trolling motor.

“It’s an amazing product,” Dannenmueller said. “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. 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,” Dannenmueller said. “It perfectly follows your motions with no delays.”

He 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 fully 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 to $3,500.

Kinny Haddox
About Kinny Haddox 4 Articles
Kinny Haddox has been writing magazine and newspaper articles about the outdoors in Louisiana for 40 years. He also publishes a daily website, lakedarbonnelife.com. He and his wife, DiAnne, live on Lake D’Arbonne in Farmerville.