Yep that's what it looks like – trolling motors mounted on "shallow-water anchors." They're made by a MS company called Magnolia Tooling owned by crappie fisherman named Jonathan Johns, who made them for Scoping crappie. But I bet you can see real quick that they'd be great for much more than just that.
Talked to Jonathan and a MS bass-head named Blake Daugherty (^) who's had 'em for 6 months – said he's never going back. Starting with Blake:
> "Since LiveScope has pretty much taken over and dominated [the crappie scene], there's times on that LiveScope when you're not able to perform with it because your boat's going too fast on these windy days. Guys started mounting trolling motors on the back of their boats, which is just a complete eyesore and a hassle. The reason for that was to be able to stop your boat if you're going with that wind without spooking the fish in front of you.
> "If you're boat is going too fast and you can't get a jig on it, you have to spin your trolling motor around, turn it on high, kick it backwards to stop your boat or slow it down, then spin back around and try to find your fish and hope you haven't spooked him. That just doesn't work – you're gonna spook the fish, you're gonna blow 'em out.
> "Jonathan designed these brackets that go directly to your Power-Pole [or Raptors]. What it is is 2 40-lb thrust Minn Kota trolling motors...you have a stomper button switch on the front [deck] of your boat.
> "...you're going along...[Scoping] for these [suspended] fish...out there in front of you...if you're going with the wind and you need to stop...you can deploy your Power-Poles down or keep 'em deployed, and you can feather that button to slow your boat down, or stop it, or back it up without ever spooking the fish up there in front of you.
> "...especially these pressured fish around here, if that fish 10-15' in front of your boat...you're talking about a 20' boat, these 2 trolling motors are now 35-40' away from these fish which is a safe-enough distance that it doesn't bother them. So we're able to stop our boat without them ever knowing that we're there. And then back up if they're swimming...."
Bass fishing uses
Flippin, docks and wood
> "As soon as I saw them, I'm like, 'Man I've gotta have these on my bass boat.' If I'm going down through there flipping boat docks, sometimes if you're going with the wind, you're going too fast and you have to spin that trolling motor around and you blow out your next target...the next float that you're fishing or the end of that next laydown [because] the water's too deep to Power-Pole down.
> "[With the Brakes] I can keep that boat positioned 100% every time. If I miss a fish I can back right up and I'm never blowing out my next target, I'm never spooking the next fish that's in front of me. I guarantee all of us have lost tournament where we blew fish out we didn't even know were there.
> "...somewhere like Smith Lake where there's tons of boat docks – you can go in and out of these boat docks, go around 'em, and stay back off these fish without ever spooking them --
> "...we're fishing cypress trees that are in super-shallow water...I was able to stay back off of these trees when the wind would try to push me in there too fast. I could keep backing off these trees without ever spooking these fish just by simply pushing that button and holding it down for 1-2 seconds.
> "If I got a bite I can back off from it where normally you'd have to spin that trolling motor around and blow that cypress tree out."
Saving props and baits (and rod tips lol)
> "...get the boat stuck [shallow], I could deploy those things down and it would drag me right out of those places without tearing my trolling motor up and all that. ...you get bait hung up on the bank, you're hutting dadgum rocks with your trolling motor, you're breaking props...those days are over with....
Not blowing out grass beds
> "I fish Pickwick lake a good bit. There's scenarios where I'm not just fishing docks – I'm gonna be fishing shallow bars and stuff like that...catching fish in 3-4' of water and I might be sitting in 17-18' throwing up there to 'em. ...if you catch one, we want to always keep our line tight when you're fighting a fish [using the troller]. If the fish is to the side of the boat when you're doing that, you're blowing out the eelgrass bed. Now when you catch one...hold that button down for just a few seconds...and you're scooting backwards.
Swimbaits, glide baits and jerkbaits
> "One more example that to me is huge...if I'm fishing a jerkbait, a glide bait and even a swimbait...if they're suspended on points or whatever else – you get a lot of followers, especially in that clear water. If they follow too close to your boat, uner 20', they feel your boat, they hear the ticking on the sonar, and sometimes they will shy away.
> "[When they're following and] come up on it a little bit late where they're getting a little too close to the boat, I'm able to give myself another 10-20' of room you normally wouldn't have...and continue working that fish....
> "You can't anchor your boat in 20' of water, but you can stop it and back up in it.... It's absolute must for LiveScope, but it's got so many other uses....
> "So it is a game-changing tool to have in your arsenal. I think it's a must. It's more efficient, it keeps my boat in a better position and it eliminates blowing the fish out."
Apparently now with forward-facing sonar, in crappie tourneys guys will target one big fish at a time so:
> "Once you find that big fish...we kept running over the top of fish...or fish try to swim toward [the boat...if you reverse your trolling motor, you'll blow all that out and the fish is just gone. [With the Brakes] you can ease back away from the fish [and the bow troller] is not making a racket.
> "The most important thing is how well they allow you to control your boat. ...when the wind is blowing super hard, you can still control your boat.
> "You learn all kinds of tricks. Like you can take the front trolling motor and turn it to the left, mash the button to turn the back trolling motors on, then turn your front on and it will turn the boat around on a dime. The center of the boat will never move.
> "Once you play with them awhile, it's amazing. ...once people get on a boat with 'em, they gotta have 'em."
1. Blake says the units "do not affect the performance of Power-Poles" and Jonathan backed that up.
2. Jonathan says he runs a 36v troller using 3 12v batteries, and he just hooks his 2 Brake motors up to one of the 12v batteries – "since you don't use them all day long."
3. His company does install 'em and it takes about 90 minutes, but he says the self-install isn't hard: "The way we fix 'em up, we have the wire plug 'n play ends on them, it comes with an instruction sheet, it's really not hard at all. Maybe the hardest part is pulling wire from the front to the back of the boat for that footswitch."
4. Looks like they don't need to be mounted on Poles: