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Your Yak or Mine? Anchors Aweigh? Or Stick it?

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On: Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 3:48PM | By: Mel The Guide

Hi, guys; welcome to paradise, Matlacha, and Pine Island. Today I want pass on some info and my views on how to anchor your vessel. An anchor is a device normally made of metal used to prevent a vessel from drifting due to wind, and current.

Some of these anchors are permanent, or moorings, others are temporary. There is also the sea anchor, a bag or bucket you drag behind your boat to slow it in wind and a fast sea.

Probably the most common anchor is the fluke type. It has large metal flukes which hook on the rocks or bury themselves in a soft bottom. Also known as the Danforth, it does a pretty good job of holding most boats.

There also is the CQR (Clyde Quick Release)/plough, which looks like a plough that a farmer uses to till his field. Another anchor used today for large commercial ships and fixed stations, such as oil rigs, is the Bruce/claw.

Most of the anchors we mentioned so far won’t work too well if you are in a kayak or canoe. Because of the limited space in the kayak you don’t want anything that has sharp points or edges. So, what are your options?????

Well, the first, and least expensive, is a river rock. Tie a piece of rope around it, and throw it overboard, and there you will stay. Now, if you don’t like a rock, find a cinder block; it works great in shallow water. Keep in mind there are some modern designs that may work a little bit better. Like the mushroom anchor which is for a seabed made up of silt and fine sand, like the mangroves and sand bars in the back bays of Pine Island and Matlacha.

Another kind is the grapnel hook. It folds into a ring that covers the points at the end of the anchor and stores compactly. In addition, it comes in about three different sizes. I find that anything over 3 lbs is overkill in a kayak.

So, just when you think you know all about anchors, a new one comes out. One that works very well for my kayak is the new Stick It Anchor Pin. I stick an old ski pole in the scupper hole (that’s a hole in most sit-on-top kayaks made to let water out of the boat) on my ocean kayak, and it worked well, holding me in one place. But, I was like a compass needle when the current or wind got too strong; it would spin my kayak around to the direction the tide was flowing, which may or may not have been the direction I wanted to fish. Also, the pole would rust out by the end of the season. So, to stop the spinning, I now recommend an anchor trolley system. It’s pretty easy to make. All you need is two small pulleys, a rope, and a metal ring. Secure the pulleys on each end of the yak and run the rope through them, and tie it to the ring just like a clothesline. Don’t know what a clothesline is? Ask your mom or grandma, they will know. Now, to make this work all you need is a stick or pole, and put it in the ring, position the yak where you want it, and you are set. Now if you still are having a problem with this set up and can’t get it to work, stop by Florida Paddle Sports in the cape and ask for Jory. He can set you up with what you need, and may even install it for you. Just tell him you want the anchor system Mel, the Guide, has on his native craft.

I still carry a folding anchor with lots of line for deeper water, but I find that this Stick It Pin anchor works great for most of the Back Bay and flats. When you first look at it you think it will never work; it’s a 5-foot long pole with a T-bar handle on it. However, this is not a piece of old pvc pipe. This is a professional tool, made of solid reinforced polyester resin with a T-handle, no metal, and no maintenance. In addition, its warranty is for five years. They come in different lengths and still work, even if you have to push them under water.

Now, I know I should probably stop writing now, but I also have a boat. For those who also have a boat, listen up, this could save you a ton of money. I have a 19 foot DLX Carolina Skiff I purchased a few years back, at Mike’s Marina, 193000 South us 4 in Fort Myers. Mike, the owner, is a real nice guy and if you are looking for a boat, Carolina Skiffs, Sea Chaser, Bennington pontoons, Hydra Sports, Sea Fox, and Blue Wave, Mike’s the guy to see. He will give you a fair deal and treat you right. On the other hand, should you just need parts stop by and see Stefanie in the parts dept; she knows her stock and can set you up with what ever you need.

I was at one of the boat shows a while back and was looking at all the toys I would like to put on my boat, from new 3D G.P.S. with photo maps overlay view to a thing called a power pole. Now this is living. All you do is push a button with a remote control, a stick driven by hydraulic pistons comes off the rear of the boat and sticks in the sand Oh, one other thing; it’s only $3,000. By the time you get it installed with the remote.

Now, some say I am cheap, or frugal as I like to think of myself. However, to me three grand is many kayak and canoe rentals. I guess if you have it, it’s not. So I sit back and say there must be a better way. Well, it turns out that there is. All you have to do is go see Steff or Mike, and ask for the Stick It Anchor System for your boat. They come in different sizes and can be used on boats up to 24 feet. I got the 8' system in white, and it was around $100.

I mounted it on boat’s inside wall, and it works great, plus I don’t have all the extra weight for the power pole and battery, but you can mount it just about anywhere as it is only about the size of a good fishing pole. Now I just coast up to where I want to fish, take the pole from the holder, grab the bow or stern line connected to a deck cleat, put the pole in the hole at the end of the line, and stick it in the sand. Then we're anchored solid and ready to fish. When we want to move along the sand bar or mangroves, I pull up the stick, lay it on the deck, run the trolling motor, and move up a bit and stick it again.

Well, I hope this helps you with your anchoring problems for both kayak and boat, and saves you a little money. Please write to me at gulfcoastkayak@msn,com if we can help you with any kayak problems you are having, or if you know something that we could share with our readers: tips, new places to paddle, whatever. We at Gulf Coast Kayak, 941 661 8229, want to hear from you. Hope to see you on the water, and remember its always a great day in Matlacha, and thanks for paddling with Mel, the Guide.


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