Duane’s Sun Dolphin Sportsman

Make and Model of your boat:

Sun dolphin Sportsman

How long have you owned it?

3 years

Type of trolling motor and/or gas motor?

Minn Kota Endura C2 30# thrust

What type of fish finder do you use? How is it mounted and powered? Where is your transducer?


What other accessories do you use on your boat?

Battery powered navigation lights

How do you transport your boat? (truck bed? trailer?)


What type of water do you fish? Pond, lake, river?

Lakes and creeks
What do you like most about your boat?
Ease of launch and reloading from the trailer

What do you dislike most about your boat?

Drift and rotation due to lack of a rudder

What is the best accessory or modification you’ve added to your boat?

PVC rod racks

Anything else you would like to let people know about your boat or small fishing boats in general?

Fishing seems to be better from a small boat just due to how they can be used and places they are able to go. Also because of their lack of range, they force you to slow down and make the most of the waters available. After moving to a small boat I discovered that I had been missing so much when fishing from a large boat with a big motor. Because I had once had much greater range and speed available I had passed up great waters always trying to find the best places to fish. I never recognized them when I saw them because I’m not that great of a fisherman anyway. Since great range and speed is not possible with a small boat I was forced to concentrate and fish the waters that were within reach. I was forced to focus on what was in front of me and have caught far better fish from this 8 foot plastic boat than I ever did from a large bass boat. I have enjoyed the boating experiences so much more than before, not only due to better fishing experiences, but also due to the complete lack of hassle during use and maintenance needed when off the water. There is no loud engine noise, no smell of 2-cycle oil, no need to mix fuel and oil, no motor upkeep and winterization, no wiring connections to corrode (only the trolling motor which gets stored in the garage), no cables or mechanisms to keep lubricated, no boat hull finishes to maintain, no interior materials to keep clean or repaired, virtually nothing that needs worked on to keep maintained, and the work needed to prepare for launch or reloading on the trailer when finished for the day is far easier as well. The entire rig, trailer and all, is much lighter and can be easily moved around at home which makes hitching to the truck much easier. Also, in places without ramp access to water, these boats can simply be put in the truck bed and hauled in, then launched right from the shoreline. The possible modifications to personalize and improve comfort are endless and fun to do. They are more like leasure projects, not dreadful jobs. I will never go back to a large boat again.

Products Mentioned

Sun Dolphin Sportsman

Minn Kota Endura C2 30# thrust trolling motor
Related Articles: 3 Best Trolling Motors for Pelican Bass Raider 10e


Jon B of the Googan Squad: Jon Boats are Better than Big Boats

Jon B of the Googan Squad Released a New Video on why Jon Boats are Better than Big Boats

Unless you’ve pretty much never been on YouTube you’ve probably seen one of the Googan Squad fishing videos.

They’re a group of young guys that each have their own majorly popular YouTube fishing channels. A while back they decided to work together to promote themselves and formed their group, the Googan Squad.

Jon B. (formerly “Fishing the Midwest”) is one of the group’s most popular members known for the high quality production and editing in his videos. He currently has over 850,000 subscribers to his channel.

Last week Jon B. released a new video in which he shows off his new Tracker 12 ft. jon boat and explains why he feels an aluminum jon boat is a better option than a big bass boat.

Considering that he’s probably making plenty of money to justify buying a brand new fiberglass boat or that he could probably even get a sponsorship deal on one, I felt like it was a pretty big statement to skip all that and just go with an $800 aluminum jon boat. At least it’s brand new…

If you comb through several years of his videos you can also see that he spent a lot of time fishing out of a Sun Dolphin Pro 120. More recently he was fishing out of his Lowe V-hull boat which he frequently describes as slow.

When he’s not fishing out of one of his own boats he’s usually in fellow Googan Squad members LakeForkGuy and LunkersTV brand new Skeeter boats. The point is Jon B. does a lot of fishing, probably has a lot of options when it comes to boats, and he’s still super excited about his new 12 ft. jon boat.

Here’s why.


His goal with this new Jon boat was to keep it simple so that there’s less to transport and the boat stays light enough to drag to the water. This is a methodology I completely agree with as I’ve made sure my Pelican Bass Raider 10e uses all detachable accessories and I’ve held off from adding a deck to keep the weight down.

Although Jon has his boat on a trailer (which you pretty much have to for a 12 ft. boat) he will still be able to drag his boat to the water’s edge if he needs to. Sometimes the best fishing spots are that way because they aren’t accessible without a little sweat.

By keeping his accessories limited to just a transom mount trolling motor and one battery he’s got less baggage to deal with and more time to fish. This is kind of the main theme for small boat fishing as I see it.

Low Maintenance

Jon also goes on to mention that the low cost and specifically the lack of maintenance is a huge plus for him. Again, I couldn’t agree more.

I personally have never owned a bass boat but from what I hear they seem like absolute money pits. There’s just a lot of moving parts to boats and a lot that can break. Maybe you’ve heard the acronym for BOAT… Break Off Another Thousand.

Compare that to Jon’s new jon boat. It’s a welded piece of aluminum. It floats. What is there to break?


The last big benefit to small boats that Jon explains in his video is the access that he can get on the lake.

Because he’s in a small boat with a flat bottom, he can get way back into cuts and creeks that the bass boats wouldn’t dare get near. And as we just mentioned, there’s no need to worry about scratching the paint job.

To him, this outweighs the speed he might get from a bass boat as where he’s headed there’s no other competition.

A Boat is a Tool

The overall theme of Jon B’s video is that your boat is a tool. It’s a tool that is supposed to help you get to where the fish are.

I agree with that idea 100%. There are a lot of people out there that spend so much time on their boats doing everything BUT fishing. Fixing them up, repairing them, hauling them around… it seems like a distraction from fishing to me.

So if you have the means to buy a bass boat take a minute and consider if the simpler option will allow you to enjoy fishing more.

Accessories Mentioned (can’t guarantee accuracy)

Minn Kota 55 Traxxis w/ 42″ shaft

HelmsMate Tiller Motor Extension Handle 

Minn Kota Wedge2 Weedless Prop (make sure you buy the correct fit for your motor!)

Optima Blue Top D34M Battery

Minn Kota Portable Battery Charger

@smallfishingboat’s Pelican Bass Raider 10e

Make and Model of your boat:

Pelican Bass Raider 10e

How long have you owned it?

3 years

Type of trolling motor and/or gas motor?

MotorGuide Bulldog 40. No gas motor as I mainly fish an electric only lake.

What type of fish finder do you use? How is it mounted and powered? Where is your transducer?

I use a Lowrance Hook 5 but I use it with the Lowrance Ice Fishing kit. The ice fishing kit is basically a bag with a mount inside and a small battery compartment. It also came with a suction cup mount for the transducer but I couldn’t get it to work with my transducer. I ended up just using the standard trolling motor mount and it works great. I can keep my graph in it’s bag and just set it in the boat and plug it in when I go fishing.

What other accessories do you use on your boat?

I’ve added a seat pedestal to my seat so that I sit up a little higher which helps me steer with the Bulldog 40 trolling motor. I use a PowerPole HD anchor spike when I find a good spot. I power the motor with an EverStart (walmart) battery inside of a Minn Kota Power Center battery box. Other than that just several GoPro mounts and a paddle in case I run out of juice! That hasn’t happened since I got the Minn Kota Power Center which includes a battery meter…

How do you transport your boat? (truck bed? trailer?)

I just throw it in the back of my F150 and put one strap over it.
What type of water do you fish? Pond, Lake, River?
A 60 acre oxbow lake. When I’m not on that lake I’m usually fishing a farm pond.

What do you like most about your boat?

Probably the lack of maintenance (compared to a real boat) and the portability. I love that I can take my boat anywhere and get in and out of the water easily.

What do you dislike most about your boat?

It can get a little cramped if you’ve been on the water a while. It would be nice to fish out of something bigger every once in a while. Also, the ridged deck. It gets uncomfortable. I need to find a yoga mat or something to lay down over it.

What is the best accessory or modification you’ve added to your boat?

I really love my MotorGuide Bulldog 40 trolling motor because I can steer by foot. If the boat was a little bigger I could probably use the pedal while standing and fishing but for the most part I have to take a seat and use it. Still, it makes it much easier to fish and control the boat.

Anything else you would like to let people know about your boat or small fishing boats in general?

Well…I made this website because I think these type of boats can offer a lot. There’s got to be a ton of people out there that love bass fishing but don’t have the opportunity to fish big reservoirs or fish from real bass boats. I think these plastic fishing boats fill the gap between bank fishing and bass boat fishing. A lot of people could benefit from that.

Where can people find you online?

@smallfishingboats on instagram…and this website…

Products Mentioned:

Pelican Bass Raider 10e
Related Articles: Bass Raider Review

MotorGuide Bulldog 40 Trolling Motor
Related Articles:  3 Best Trolling Motors for Pelican Bass Raider 10e

Lowrance Hook 5 (the newer version)

Lowrance Universal Portable Kit

Lowrance Trolling Motor Transducer Mount

PowerPole Heavy Duty Anchor Spike
Related Articles: 4 Best Anchor Poles for Bass Raider & Sun Dolphin Plastic Boats

Minn Kota Power Center Battery Box

Marine Raider 7″ Seat Pedestal

This is the first “boat profile” on this website but we’d like to see more.

Taking the time to share your rig as inspiration for others would be greatly appreciated. Even if it’s nothing fancy.

If you would like to share your boat setup on our website please click here and you will be taken to a quick questionnaire.


The Perfect Small Boat Rudder to Keep You From Spinning Like a Top

Before I bought my Pelican Bass Raider 10e I spent countless hours online researching all the accessories and modifications that people made to their small boats.

Probably the most common complaint I saw online was the lack of a rudder, which caused the boat to constantly spin in the wind and be harder to control overall.

I wrote those complaints off for the most part until I got out on the water a few times.

Talk about FRUSTRATING!!

I was constantly battling my boat making tiny adjustments while trying to fish. It doesn’t take much wind either, maybe about 10 mph.

I knew I had seen all kinds of posts online about making a rudder out of wood, plastic, and even broken trolling motor parts.

I considered trying some of these methods but I’m not the most handy guy around and I figured my rudder would fall off and end up at the bottom of the lake.

So I continued searching for a pre-made rudder I could purchase that was designed specifically for small boats.

The Bullnose Rudder

The Bullnose Rudder is a heavy duty plastic rudder that clamps onto your trolling motor shaft.

All it takes is 4 screws (included) and you’re good to go.

It’s also designed to be a universal fit for electric trolling motors with 24 – 55 lbs of thrust.

Depending on your trolling motor you may have to mount it upside down, in front of, or behind the shaft.

No matter which way you mount it, it will still do the job.

I installed this on my Minn Kota Endura C2 in about 3 minutes and tried it out on the water.

small boat rudder

Here’s What I Noticed

Before installing the Bullnose Rudder I would position my boat right where I wanted it but the wind or current would spin or move me pretty quickly.

I’d take my hand off my reel to kick the trolling motor on and make a tiny adjustment, then make another cast. Before getting my bait back to the boat I’d have to adjust the boat again because now I had spun a little too far in the other direction.

And I’d repeat this 956 times over the next 3 hours…

pelican bass raider rudder
This is my beautiful girlfriend trying to keep the boat positioned with a paddle so that I can keep fishing…before I installed the Bullnose Rudder.

The Bullnose Rudder significantly reduces the boat spinning. I still have to adjust my position due to the wind but not nearly as much as before.

I also notice that if I’m trolling through an area and making casts the boat will generally stay moving in a straight line.

This is a HUGE improvement over not having a rudder at all.

Will the best small boat rudder work on your boat?

I am currently not using the bullnose rudder on my boat because I switched to the MotorGuide Bulldog 40 trolling motor which is mounted on the bow and foot controlled.

Try not to laugh, but I wanted to see what would happen if I mounted the rudder on this setup. Just in case anyone else was thinking of trying it… it doesn’t work.

The rudder makes the motor incredibly hard to turn due to the extra resistance and when it does turn it will swing all the way to one side and stop.

If you’ve got a setup similar to this you’ll need to add a fixed rudder to the back of the boat or go without one. I’ve found I don’t need one based on the control that I get from my particular trolling motor.

The vast majority of small plastic boats I’ve seen run a traditional, hand-controlled trolling motor on the stern and the simplest way to improve control is to add a Bullnose Rudder to your motor.

3 Best Trolling Motors for Pelican Bass Raider 10e

Choosing a Trolling Motor for your Bass Raider

So you bit the bullet and picked up the Pelican Bass Raider 10e or another small fishing boat so that you could get off the bank and really get after the fish.

You’ll probably agree that your trolling motor would be the next most important purchase for your boat (other than the boat itself) and there are a ton of options out there.

In my case, it took trying multiple trolling motors and other accessory combinations including rudders, anchors, and seat pedestals to get the perfect setup (or at least MY perfect setup).

In this article I’m going to cover the best trolling motors for the Pelican Bass Raider so that you can avoid some of the guesswork in choosing a trolling motor and completing your perfect boat set up.

MotorGuide Bulldog 40 Trolling Motor


MotorGuide Bulldog 40 Trolling Motor

This is my current trolling motor and I absolutely love it. After a year or so with my Bass Raider I was determined to figure out how to make a foot controlled trolling motor work with it.

I looked into how I could possibly add a bow mount trolling motor onto the Bass Raider but it just seemed like a horrible option.

Finally, I found the MotorGuide Bulldog and it was exactly what I was looking for!!!

What’s good?

This trolling motor is perfectly designed for the Pelican Bass Raider 10e and other similar boats that have a motor mount on the bow like the Sun Dolphin Pro 120.

It has a typical transom mount bracket that you just screw to tighten over the motor mount on the boat.

The motor is connected to a pedal that lets you completely control your boat by foot. Mine is mounted at the bow of my Bass Raider and I’m able to adjust my boat while keeping both hands on my rod and reel.

The motor offers 40 lbs of thrust but if you want more, you can spend a little more money and get the MotorGuide Bulldog 54 with, yes, 54 lbs of thrust.

I find the 40 does just fine for my purposes. When I’m making a run to the other side of the lake I switch it to the highest speed and with another person in the boat we usually move at about 3 mph.

If you think you need more, step up to the 54.

What’s bad?

This trolling motor is ALMOST completely perfect for the Pelican Bass Raider 10e except for one thing – the foot pedal needs to be screwed into the bottom of the boat.

Now for some of you this may be no problem at all but I have kept from putting any holes in my boat and I didn’t want to drill any for the foot pedal either.

motorguide bulldog 40 foot pedal

I ended up cutting two pieces of 2”x7” PVC and screwed them in along the front and back of the foot pedal.

bass raider trolling motor foot pedal

Then I used some heavy duty velcro and put one side on the PVC and the other directly on the floor of my boat.

foot controlled trolling motor for pelican bass raider

Now I can put my foot pedal in place when I’m using the boat and then easily remove the trolling motor when I’m done for the day.

foot pedal trolling motor for pelican bass raider 10e

The PVC works great but you could use plywood as well. Just make sure to paint or seal the wood as it will definitely be getting wet.


Something else to keep in mind is that you’ll have to add the 3-prong plug to your trolling motor if you want to use the 12v outlet at the front of the Bass Raider.

I ended up buying the male side of the plug directly from Pelican. I then cut the ends off the trolling motor wires and used waterproof, underground butt-splice connectors to attach the male plug.

trolling motor plug

That’s about all I’ve got for this great little trolling motor. From what I can tell they are not super popular and there’s not that much information about them online.

To be honest I was a little worried that they would stop making them. They’re not even really featured on the MotorGuide website.

UPDATE: I bought my Bulldog 40 from Academy Sports + Outdoors but they are no longer available there. Unfortunately I was not available to find them anywhere else either.

They probably don’t work great with Jon boats unless you have built a deck to stand on in your boat, but they seem to be made perfectly for these mini bass boats.

Minn Kota Endura C2 40 Trolling Motor

When it comes to trolling motors you cannot go wrong with Minn Kota. They are the biggest and most recognized name in the industry and they make fantastic products.

The Endura C2 30 was actually the first trolling motor I bought for my Bass Raider. At the time, I just wanted the cheapest thing to get me on the water and this thing did the trick.

Although I have no complaints about the 30lbs of thrust, I decided to step it up just a little bit and recommend the C2 40.

The size of the lakes you fish most often should determine which way to go here.

My main lake is about 60 acres however it is an “oxbow lake” and looks more like a river or canal.

My home lake in Fulshear, TX.

That means I do have to make decent runs up and down the lake and I would step it up to at least 40lbs of thrust if I had to buy one again today.

What’s good?

As I mentioned before – this is the motor you want to buy if you just want to get on the water, not have any headaches from complicated electronics or power issues, and do it without breaking the bank.

Although I swapped mine out for the MotorGuide Bulldog 40 I still keep my C2 30 as a backup.

I’ve run it into logs and completely clogged it with grass and it keeps running. In most cases this little trolling motor is all you’ll ever need.

What’s bad?

This is a standard transom mount trolling motor which means you control it by hand and mount it on the back of your boat.

While the majority of all small fishing boats are powered with a motor just like this one I could not stand fishing with it, especially in the wind.

I added a clamp-on rudder to the shaft of my Endura C2 30 which helped keep me from spinning in the wind a lot.

minn kota c2 30 trolling motor
My Minn Kota C2 30 with the Bullnose Rudder installed

Ultimately, I couldn’t stand having to take my hand off my rod to adjust the boat after almost every cast so I switched to the Bulldog 40.

In retrospect, if I had my shallow water anchor pole back then and could quietly anchor the boat in an area I wanted to fish I might not have had as much of an issue.

I’m not sure about what shaft lengths are available now but mine was 30” and the Endura C2 40 may be available in 36”.

Either way, part of my frustration was that I was making those constant adjustments while standing and I’d also have to bend over to reach the handle.

If you see yourself having this issue as well you could consider adding an extension handle so at least you wouldn’t have to bend over.

As you can tell by now, going with the cheapest trolling motor is great on the one hand but you may also be adding a rudder, shallow water anchor pole, and extension handle.

I still use the anchor pole with my Bulldog 40 but you get the idea… All that stuff starts to add up.

Minn Kota Endura Maxx 45 Trolling Motor

minn kota endura maxx 45 trolling motor

To be honest I have not had the pleasure of testing out the Minn Kota Endura Maxx trolling motors but I felt like the features it offers were worthy of mentioning in case you don’t need the foot control of the Bulldog 40 and would prefer something a little more luxurious than the Endura C2.

I already mentioned how you can’t go wrong with Minn Kota and there are plenty of good reviews on the Endura Maxx series from small fishing boat owners out there to confirm it’s a popular option.

What’s good?

There are couple of features here that I’m just a plain sucker for.

The first is a Digital Maximizer technology that supposedly allows for a longer run time. I have no idea how much effect this feature actually has and I would guess that it would be hard to determine based on online reviews.

The second feature is a built in battery meter. Anything that gives me more confidence that I won’t be stranded and paddling back to shore will get my money.

bass raider trolling motor

There’s also a variable speed control feature that helps smooth the transition from one speed to the next.

Keep in mind if you like the idea of a battery meter you can also purchase the Minn Kota Power Center for your battery and use it’s built in meter with any trolling motor instead.

minn kota battery box
Checking the battery meter on my Minn Kota Power Center battery box.

I have one and love having the ability to check and see if it’s time to head back to the truck or not.

What’s bad?

While most of the online reviews are positive, there are several that report the trolling motor to hum louder than expected along with a little extra vibration.

Not sure what the cause of that could be but there are a lot of different variables involved.

It looks like the shaft is offered in 36” and 42” lengths so be sure to choose the one that fits you best considering whether you prefer to sit or stand.

What’s the best trolling motor for the Pelican Bass Raider 10e?

Anything that gets you on the water and off the bank is a plus in my book.

There’s also nothing wrong with checking Craigslist or any other online marketplace for a used one as well. Just plan to bring a battery with you so you can test it out.

While these are just three options and you have plenty more to choose from, hopefully this at least gave you some things to consider when choosing a trolling motor for your boat.

Think about how and where you want it mounted, how you would prefer to control it (hand or foot), how much power you think you might need based on the size of water body, and the price range that fits your budget.

Good luck and tight lines!