Like its name, Minn Kota’s new Raptor has features somewhat like a bird of prey — it sticks to its ground and when threatened, digs its claws in deeper.
The shallow water anchor makes its heralded debut at ICAST this week, and manufacturer rep Jeff Kolodzinski said it lives up to its billing.
“The interest in them has been off the charts,” he said. “It’s going to be a hot one right out of the gate.”
That’s mainly due to two new technologies. The first is called Active Anchoring, where the Raptor detects its contact with the bottom and adjusts continuously to keep the boat in place, no matter the wind, waves or current. The tagline is “It doesn’t just stop your boat. It never stops stopping.”
Kolo said he’s tested Raptors around the country and found it keeps the boat pegged in all types of conditions, like on Bull Shoals when another boat passes and sends wakes your way.
“I’ve used them in probably one of the most physical places, in saltwater and soft bottom, in the marsh of Louisiana,” he said. “The active anchoring is what is unique. It’s different, and it’s impressive. My biggest sort of ‘A-ha moment’ was when we came back to shore after fishing all day and pulled up to a seawall.”
Gathering gear to depart, he said he walked from one end of the boat to the other, shifting weight.
“I saw them adjust on the opposite side. I put one leg on the seawall, and it adjusted. Then I lifted the other leg out, and it adjusted again,” he said. “I said, ‘Wow! That adjusts each time for that kind of little weight change in the boat. That thing’s working all the time.’
“It’s really smart. You can make a case to say it’s Artificial Intelligence. It does all the things a human would do, but it’s all programmed in there. It’s like a set it and forget it kind of thing.”
The other new technology is the Auto-Bottom Mode, which detects bottom hardness to determine how deep to set its spiked end.
It also has stronger retraction power so you won’t miss any fishing time trying to get unpinned.
“The Auto-Bottom feature monitors the hydraulic pressure and knows if it’s hard or soft bottom, or clay, or what have you,” he said. “It assesses what you’re anchoring into, then adjusts force accordingly. It can dig into rocks but won’t get stuck in mud or silt.”
So what’s the secret behind this technology? Special sensors? What are the mechanics behind this, Kolo?
“I’m a geology major, but I spent a fair bit of time cutting class to go fish,” he joked. “My sisters and brothers in Mankato, Minn., were actually studying math and science. They got together up there and made something really smart.”
So, you don’t really know?
“If you’re asking me to describe the mathematics, I got nothing,” he deadpanned. “I just know that the machinery and intelligence inside are smart enough to know the difference in hydrologic pressure and make the adjustments automatically.”
Kolo also knows it features Minn Kota toughness, with solid construction of extruded aluminum brackets. Raptors comes in 8- and 10-foot lengths with color options of black, white, red and silver.
It can be controlled by wireless remote and wireless footswitch. It’s part of the Minn Kota One-Boat Network, where the arms can be operated from a Humminbird fish finder, i-Pilot remote or the Raptor app.
The Raptor retails for $1,499.99 for the 8-foot and $1,899.99 for the 10-foot. Orders are being taken, and Kolo said Raptors will begin shipping in the next few days.