I have an Esquif Cargo, which is a 17' version of the Heron. I have both a 55ft/lb thrust electric trolling motor and a 2.5HP gas engine for it.
I **STRONGLY** prefer the gas motor. First, while it may be roughly the same horsepower as the electric motor, the boat moves much, much more quickly and effectively upcurrent with the gas engine. Second, it is much lighter than a trolling motor and battery. Third, the batteries run VERY hot when operated for a long period. I have burned myself on the battery several times using the trolling motor. Fourth, it is easier to carry a little gas to refill the tank for a second burst of energy than it is to recharge a battery or carry a second battery on board.
I have rigged my Esquif with oars. I primarily use it for fishing a largish river (Potomac River between Harper's Ferry and Riverbend) to run upriver then float back down, allowing me to go solo and avoid having to work out a shuttle or to get a shuttle bunny.
Now, I have both because the gas motor is not welcome at some lakes. For those lakes, I use the electric trolling motor and it is OK. Best uses are for slowly cruising the shoreline or making long passages where rowing would be too slow.
You pay your money and you make your choice, but having used for three years the big brother of the same boat you are considering, my advice would be gas if you have to choose one or the other.
- Big D
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