Staying on Point: Choosing and anchor system for your fishing kayak
Every angler knows that catching fish means you must first find them. Every kayak angler means this is only half the battle – you also need to stay on the fish. Even in calm water your craft will drift. Add current or even battling a fish and you will spend more time paddling back to your perfect spot than actually fishing. So what is the answer? You need an anchoring system.
In the early days of kayak fishing anchoring usually meant dropping a small weight to the bottom, tying it to your kayak and hoping it worked as intended. Today the options are far greater and before you can use an anchoring system you need to select the correct one for your situation.
The first choice for an anchoring system, and the one many first time paddlers expect, is a traditional anchor. This is similar to the anchors used on larger power boats but much smaller ( 1.5 – 3 lbs.). Early models were generally claw, mushroom or davenport designs but no days you also have the options of several folding versions.
While traditional anchors work well, after all they have been successfully used for centuries, they are not always the perfect fit for paddlers. First, they had extra and often unwanted weight. Second, they and the associated hardware do take up space which could be otherwise used. Third, anchoring a kayak in moving water can be difficult and dangerous ( think flipping hazard).
If fishing calm water, especially if over 8-10 ft deep, the anchor may very well be the best choice. Otherwise you may want to keep reading.
If you are not concerned about staying in a specific spot but more interested in staying in a general area, such as when drifting a reef or ledge, the drift sock may be the answer. No this is not really a sock, but I guess that is the best some sailor could come up with. Although the design varies most resemble a cone or parachute which is deployed from the craft. As you drift the sock fills with water and slows you movement and helps keep you on a fairly straight path.
Again, a drift sock is NOT and anchor as it does not keep you in one spot. Many would not even consider it an anchoring system at all. But it does have its place and sometimes that place is in your boat.
Stake Out Poles
Stake out poles are all the rage with modern kayak anglers and I doubt you will see anyone fishing the national circuit without them. As the name implies they are stakes which are pushed into the bottom, attached to the kayak and keeps you in place. When it is time to move you simply pull up stake ( sorry, couldn’t resist) and paddle.
Stake out poles are excellent on moving water and greatly reduce the chance of rolling. But they do have some serious limitations as well. Fishing water deeper than 8-10 ft? Better look elsewhere, most models do not come in longer lengths. Rocky or shell covered bottom? Better have a Plan B as the stakes only work if they can dig into the bottom – sand or mud works best.
The best way to determine which anchor system is best for you is to check with your kayak’s manufacturer, review the pros/cons of each option and then consider where & when you will be fishing .