Weedmaster Weedguard – Guaranteed to Slow You Down

Weedmaster Weedguard circa 1974.

Weedmaster Weedguard circa 1974.

Here’s another for the Bass Fishing Darwin Awards – the Weedmaster Weedguard. You used to see them on just about every trolling motor in the 70s and even the 80s. The concept was pretty understandable. Keep the weeds away from the prop and you wouldn’t have to clean them off the motor.

But things weren’t that simple.

The problem with running a trolling motor in weeds is that although the weeds wrap around the blade and motor head – rendering it useless – they also accumulate on the trolling motor shaft. Add a big bucket to the head of the troller and you get – even more weeds get hung up on the basket.

Yes, not that many weeds got wrapped in the blade but the mass of them hung up on the Weedguard would, at times, make it nearly impossible for Hulk Hogan and a gang of goons to lift the troller to clean it. Also, with no water flowing to the head from the forward direction, you ability to move was nearly lost. It worked in areas not-so-littered with weeds but take it to a place like Guntersville or Okeechobee and you might as well use an paddle and anchor.

Mister Twister's Shear Magic prop blade circa 2009.

Mister Twister’s Shear Magic prop blade circa 2009.

What helped the industry immensely and essentially took this dandy product off the market was Doug Hannon’s weedless prop. Hannon, as usual, looked into the science of propeller design. He looked at the way water moved around a prop and designed one that actually moved weeds away from the prop. Although it doesn’t work 100%, it was far and away a better design than the Weedguard.

The next step in trying to make a trolling motor weedless came from a gentleman I call a friend back in the late 90s or early 2000s. His name is Troy Jens and, as most country bumpkins in the south do, he came up with what was the most ingenious design for ridding trolling motors of weeds. His product, called the Jens-Su, was actually a knife blade that was attached to the head of the trolling motor – the blade positioned just in front of the leading edge of the prop. As weeds accumulated on the prop, they’d be cut by the rotating motion of the prop against the Jens-Su blade. I bought one of the things and installed it before a trip to the California Delta in 2001 and was surprised by its effectiveness. Too bad they aren’t made anymore – hint hint T-Roy.

Mister Twister's Shear Magic circa 2009.

Mister Twister’s Shear Magic circa 2009.

Because there was a demand for the Jens-Su, on or around the 2009 time frame Mister Twister actually started making a reasonable copy of Troy’s product called “Shear Magic.” What Mister Twister did was make the device so it had two blades – made of plastic – instead of one. I never saw one of these devices in hand and believe that Mister Twister soon discontinued making the product. To me that’s more of a reason for Troy to get off his guitar-pickin’ butt and start making the only product that ever worked to help solve the weed issues on trolling motors.

  • Bob Uhrig

    I had several Weedmasters in the 70’s in North Florida. My recollection was they were effective in scattered Kissimmee grass, reeds and pads.

    Once hydrilla was introduced to the lakes in the mid-70’s, it would bog down and cut off water flow to the prop. You have to remember that the majority of our trolling motors had 12 to 28 lbs of trust back then

    They also made a more aerodynamic version which was a little more effective and reduced the bulk of the basket than the one shown above.

    • Yes Bob, they did well in sparse grass for sure. But get it in stuff like milfoil or hydrilla and man it was a bear. 🙂 Yeah, and you’re right, I forgot to mention the fact that trolling motors were pretty weak back then.

  • RichZ

    I made one out of a laundry basket. It worked almost as well as the real thing, which is to say not all that well.

    The real Darwin award for TM weedguard though goes to the “Cutting Edge” from a guy named Paul Devine up in Mass. It was a triangular stainless steel blade with a knife edge on it. It extended from the front of the TM to just below the bearing on the shaft. The idea was that because of it’s angle, weeds would slide up the front edge as the boat moved, and get sliced in the process. The water resistance trying to steer a foot pedal motor was insane. But Bassmaster wouldn’t accept his ad. They were very concerned about liability with this giant razor blade out front.

    Hanon told me the weedless prop was an accident. He didn’t know anytrhing about prob design, and made a metal prop with the same pitch at the hub as at the tips. Prop needs a progressive pitch to accomodate for smaller diameter near hub, etc. But his design meant all the thrust generated came from the tips of the blades, far away from the hub, this kind of sucked the weeds away from the motor and out to the tips of the blades, and kept them from wrapping. Even after he sold the idea to MG and the prop engineers put some progression in the pitch to make it more efficient, he still rand one of his homemade ones for years.

    • Rich, I never heard that story about Hannon’s weedless prop. That’s interesting for sure and pretty ingenious how he came up with it.

      I also never heard of the Cutting Edge. Sounds like a complete disaster!

  • paul wallace

    I used both products at various times. Weedmaster…not so good. The other product Jen Su?? I don’t know if that’s the one we had or not. I assume it’s off the market cause how many people reached down to clear weeds from the head and sliced their finger open?? lol It did work OK though. If you want to make your own, take a couple ice fishing auger blades and epoxy them to you motor head..Watch out though…

    • You know Paul, I ran one of the Jens-Sus and you’re right, you had to be careful with it on there. But…..it sure as heck worked.

  • Andy Williamson

    Another neat article I can really relate to! I used at least a half dozen Weedmasters from the 70s thru the late 90s. I loved them. They were a GREAT idea and really helped on my Electra Pal Marlin troller and various Minnkotas. Regarding blades for shearing weeds, I still use a WeedShark, a heavy duty double edged razor blade mounted with epoxy ( that came with the product), where the housing intersects with the prop. I bought several in the 80s, but the last one I have is on my Minnkota Maxxum 80 bow mount. Many people ask me, “What’s that” when they come to the bow of my Blazer 190 Pro V. And I reply, “Watch out! Don’t cut yourself”. The Weedshark helps a bit, but the design of the weedless prop is the major factor in shedding weeds.

    • Thanks Andy! I’ve never heard of the WeedShark. It sounds a lot like the Shear Magic piece.

      • andy williamson

        You can learn a little bit more about the Weedshark at trademarkia.com/weed-shark. The company that made them was Mac Wel Packaging Corporation in Marcellus, NY.
        Also, in the May/June 1984 and July/August 1996 issues of BASSMASTER magazine, there are articles on how to attach a knife blade to the shaft of your trolling motor to cut the weeds.

  • We used weedsharks back in the mid 80’s on Okeechobee
    The problem was they still bogged down in thick weed
    Also they wouldn’t adhere to most high gloss painted trolling motor heads
    So over time they would break off, often taking the paint off the trolling motor

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