First time I saw one of the ’77 JohnRude trollers I was a bit confused. The dang shaft wasn’t straight and the shaft didn’t attach to the mid-section of the motor head. It looked goofy to me.
Then around 1980 we bought a 16-foot MonArk V-16 and the trolling motor that came on it – primarily because Marine Associates of Bellflower only sold Johnson – was a Johnson like the ‘Rude you see in the picture. The thing was a 24-volt motor and I think it had 36 or maybe 42 pounds of thrust, nearly twice as much as the ’76 Shakespeare we had on the Sea Nymph.
The first time out in it I took a bit of getting used to. First off, the pedal was 180-degrees off of what the Shakespeare was. In other words, push down on the front of the Shakespeare, the motor would go left. Push on the rear, it’d go right. After a day of fishing, my brain finally gave up and let my foot do the work. Within a couple of trips, I could never operated that backwards Shakespeare again.
After using the motor for a while, though, I began to really appreciate the design features in the JohnRude. They were the first trolling motor company to angle the back of the pedal to help overcome torque – it was really noticeable. The other cool thing was – just like they said in the ad – the head didn’t hang up in the weeds as much as the other trolling motors because the shaft met the motor at the front.
The other thing that was really noticeable, and I didn’t understand this until physics in college, was the angle in which the motor head was placed at actually was the main reason the torque of the motor was so little. I mean you could have this thing on a setting of 10 and it turned as easily as if it were set on two.
Not sure why other trolling motor companies didn’t pick up on the design features and incorporate them into their motors (except for maybe patent reasons) but OMC/Bombardier has been out of the trolling motor business for a long time now and those patents surely are no longer valid.
Another aspect of that motor was we never had a cable break on it and it saw the water 52 weekends a year minimum. My buds that had MercThrusters (aka the Coffee Grinder), MinnKotas and MotorGuides always had to carry a spare cable with them. Not with the JohnRude.
Great memories, great motor. Too bad they’re no longer made.