Most Common Problems with Minn Kota Talon

You say shallow water talons, I hear Minn Kota Talon!

Shallow water talons are anchors. They hold your boat in up to a few feet of water. Minn Kota Talons can hold your boat up to 15 feet. Most talons do that range. 

Since 2011, Minn Kota Talon has been pervasive in the market. However, it does come with some common issues. Read down below as I describe what the common problems with Minn Kota talons are.

A Quick Overview to Minn Kota Talon Issues and The Reasons Behind Them:

Cable SnapsSaltwater debris collects inside the unit of the talon. Complicated design.
Talon Does Not RetractBroken switch.Low battery.Loose nuts and screws.Bad software.
Deploys too early.Does not deploy all the way. Complicated pulley and cable system.Too many moving or sliding parts.
Requires More Maintenance And CleaningThe inner mechanism is prone to a collection of debris. No flush system in the design to get rid of the debris and mud. 

1. Cable Snaps 

A cable snap is pretty apparent. You are prone to experience it while fishing. More so in seawater than in freshwater. 

Apparently, these design issues are very common. Talon graveyard is a good source of income. It has become quite the business. 

Reason for the Problem:

  • When the talon is put in seawater, a problem arises. Sand, silt, and other dump exist in seawater. More than that in freshwater. These get inside the talon unit. It harms the 1/4” stainless talon cable.  
  • The design of the talon is complicated. There are too many sliding parts. As the debris collects inside, it rubs against the cable. Therefore, the cable snaps. 

Possible Solution:

Changing the cable from a service center should help. Afterwards, get the servicing of the Talon done from professionals. 

To fix this:

Step 1: Dismantle the Broken Cable

Before repairing, you need to get out of the mess first! 

While you’re away fishing and you find a broken talon cable, do this:

  • Dismount the Talon from the Bracket.
  • Cut out all the electricals between the cable and the talon. 
  • Get it to the boat. Keep at a dry and safe place. 

Step 2: Servicing

You cannot change the talon cable yourself. The design is simply too complex for that. You can do this:

  • Call Minn Kota Talon Customer Service.
  • Ask them for the best servicing center close to your area. 
  • Drop the Talon there. Depending on the model, the cost should be around $500.

The Talon performs better in freshwater. Moreover, sometimes the size of the boat also causes damage. Keeping these things in mind should help. 

2. Talon Does Not Retract 

Sometimes, your talon behaves very stiffly. It does not retract after use. The customers have reported the spike to not retract completely. They also complained to experience the problems just 6 months after. 

The talon sometimes gets stuck all the way down. Other times, it just becomes sluggish. 

Reason for the Problem:

  • The deploy switch may be stuck due to debris or no reason at all. 
  • Talon takes a lot of electrical power. So if the battery is low, it won’t deploy properly.
  • There may be loose nuts where the driveshaft and clutches are attached. 
  • Software malfunction occurs. You may find the Auto-Drive not working anymore. 

Possible Solution:

Change the Deploy Switch. Make sure to always go fishing with a fully charged talon. Screw the nuts and bolts in tightly. Change or update the software. Replace the Spike. 

To fix this, things You’ll Need:

  1. Screwdriver.
  2. Charging socket.

Troubleshoot 1: Changing the Deploy Switch

Get it changed from the service center. 

Troubleshoot 2: Fully Charge the Talon

A Minn Kota Talon battery needs charging for about 4-6 hours. Give it an all-nighter before the day of fishing. 

Troubleshoot 3: Screw the Nuts-bolts Tight

With a screwdriver, screw in any nuts or bolts that need securing. 

Troubleshoot 4: Change Or Update The Software

Take the talon to the service center. Ask them to solve your software issues.

Troubleshoot 5: Replace the Spike

Sometimes a replacement of spike is necessary. The Talon comes with a detailed maintenance book. Follow the steps thoroughly to replace the spike. 

Find the book here.

Usually, Minn Kota Talon’s retraction problem needs servicing. It costs around $250 to get it done and installed. 

3. Deploying Problem

The talon may not deploy all the way. It may deploy halfway and then get stuck. Sometimes, the 2nd stage won’t deploy.

This is frustrating as your 12” talon does not go that deep anymore. Moreover, the talon may sometimes deploy automatically while the boat is running. 

Reason for the Problem:

  • Aluminum extrusions can be found with 3 different stages in the talon. These slide within each other employing a cable or pulley system. Many spring-loaded guides exist for the extrusions. Add a bunch of retainer clips to that. 

Possible Solution:

Getting the broken parts serviced. The talon has too many parts that are prone to damage. If one of the parts stops working, the talon stops working. 

To fix this:

Troubleshoot 1: Servicing

Unfortunately, this problem persists even after trying DIY solutions. Customers reported servicing the talon. After which the problem seems to dissipate. 

4. Requires More Maintenance And Cleaning 

The talon not deploying, cable getting broken, not retracting, all are examples of an unclean unit. 

Regular maintenance becomes more regular. If you go fishing daily, you need cleaning daily. Sometimes the talon snaps due to dirt. This strips away your money as you have to invest in repairing repeatedly. 

Reason for the Problem:

  • In saltwater, the talon gets dirtier. There is no flush system built in the design. This is why you cannot get rid of the dirt collecting in the unit. So after each fishing, one or more problem arises. Trouble occurs during fishing too. 

Possible Solution:

The only solution is if you change the Talon. Get something else to work as a shallow water anchor. 

To fix this, things You’ll Need:

  1. A Garden Hose.

Troubleshoot 1: Cleaning the Unit

  • There is no automatic flush. But there is one washout port at the top of the anchor assembly. Use a garden hose to clean this. 
  • Wash in warm water for 30 minutes. 
  • The lower roller assembly should be kept lubricated. This is a part of the regular maintenance of the talon. 

What Majority of the Users Feel About Minn Kota Talon?

Not going to lie, people hate it! Majority of the owners advice against it. 

The talon is way too complicated. It comes with a bunch of problems. Solution of these problems mainly include servicing. And the servicing is severely costly. 

Most customers switch to a Power Pole and stick with it. 

Moreover, the customer service just sucks!


Although Minn Kota Talons are widespread, they have some performance defects. These talons are reasonable in price. However, Power Poles are better than Minn Kota Talons.

More customers suggest against buying a talon. They blame the complexity of the thing. 

So, my suggestion would be to go for the Power Poles rather than buying Minn Kota Talons.

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