I finally got my new trolling motor installed and was able to try it out at POC this past weekend. I went with the 36v 112lb 72" shaft and the RTA-54 quick disconnect bracket. Installation wasn't too bad except these TM's need to hang off the bow quite a bit. The RTA-54 has four holes that connect it to the deck. If the TM is positioned properly, only two of the predrilled holes could be bolted down. I had to drill and countersink extra holes in the bracket. It wasn't too difficult but someone at Minn Kota should rethink that bracket.
The TM itself has a bit of a learning curve to it and the manual is split in several parts (a installation manual, operation manual, and a iPilot manual) which complicates things. There are several calibration steps that must be completed. They are easy enough to do but need time, space and quiet water to do it on.
I put the TM through it's paces at, primarily, the jetty and saluria bayou. Wind was straight down jetty at about 18 mph which was creating a strong incoming tide and some chop. I fish this jetty a lot and this is the worst possible combination of conditions. Just for kicks, we tried a comparison between our grapple anchor and trolling motor. The grapple anchor would catch then straighten. It would barely slow us. The TM set on spot lock would put up a valiant fight but at full speed would lose spot lock after several minutes. It appeared that, if the TM could not maintain the spot at max speed, it would give up and turn off. With the stiff breeze in our face, the TM was able to hold us while reading 2.3 mph+-. We moved inside the jetty and the spot lock held us rock solid for over an hour. We also ran to saluria bayou and fished several locations. Toughest spot was directly across from old coastguard station which was fully exposed to the wind and tide. TM held spot lock dead on.
My first impression is that the TM is going to be great in normal fishing conditions. Once on spot lock, it was easy to forget that I was not anchored. Being able to deploy and run the TM while at the boat's console was also a plus. In the conditions I normally fish in, I think the new TM is going to allow almost pinpoint anchoring. I've been told I could I can break a cannon ball. So, I hope this unit will hold up (fingers crossed).