Helms Mate – Review


As many of you will know the way I position and hold my boat for the majority of my Zander Jigging is with a Minn Kota electric outboard that is fitted on the front of my boat. It’s not a bow mount per se, but effectively works like one, as I have turned the head around on the unit so it works backwards – so to speak. Now there are many types of bow mounts you can have and different ways to control them. I have tried remote units and foot controls in the past, but for me nothing beats the direct feel of using a tiller. This is especially true if you are trying to hold over a specific spot in significant flow with a side wind! Quick turns of the outboard is needed in these conditions, and foot control isn’t up to the task.

You can, of course, get I-pilot for some of the Minn Kota range, this fixes your position with GPS and can keep you on a spot, but I haven’t had the chance to use one yet, so can’t say what it is like.

So I use a reverse tiller control electric fitted on the front -this has served me for several years. The only problem I did have, and put up with, was the lack of ability to control the engine from anything other than the casting deck of the boat, which, in reality, wasn’t much of a problem as I only ever used the electric when jigging, and I would be at the end of the boat anyway.

However with a couple of new seats installed I needed the ability to control the engine from slightly further away, which was an impossible for anyone other than Mr Tickle. So I needed some form of tiller extension.  In the end I decided on the Helms Mate jointed tiller extension. This simply pushes on to the tiller of the Minn Kota and tightens down with a couple of thumb screws to hold it in place. You need to get the jointed one so not only can you alter the speed by turning the handle, but you can push and pull the engine around as well.

By using one you do limit the turning circle a little bit, but not so much that it causes a problem when jigging. The one I got has an extendable handle that works on a push ratchet system, so I can use it more or less anywhere on the boat. The handle is a solid non- corrosive aluminum painted in a mat back.

It’s simply a brilliant bit of kit that does exactly what I wanted it to do, you can pick them up for around £50 from most chandlers.