The water slightly lapping at the shore can create a great scenario for anglers. The wind sets the food chain into motion, and being in the right place can be extremely rewarding.
However, kayak fishing in these conditions can be tough if you aren't prepared. An anchoring system can allow you to take advantage of these situations rather than being at the mercy of the elements. Presentation and casting ability factor into the type of anchor system or device that should be used in a given situation.
In shallow water, almost anything will hold a lightweight kayak and angler in position. Over the years, I've used golf club handles, tent or ski poles, sacrificed children's toys and tried most everything in my local hardware store.
If I plan to relocate regularly, I opt for the stakeout pole or use a drag anchor to move forward slightly while incrementally covering an area. This works extremely well for grassbeds and other submerged vegetation. There are a number of ways to limit your movement, but we're going to focus on anchoring, staking out or other types of immobilization. There are inexpensive and creative ways to develop an easy to use system that offers flexibility, doesn't inhibit casting or present an entanglement hazard.
With a little ingenuity, you can develop a system that is intuitive to operate. I use a large offshore swivel to connect my main line to a shorter section attached to the anchor. This reduces line twist, prevents coiling and keeps line management from becoming a maddening experience. For longer trips, I bring along lengths of rope in small sandwich bags in 10- or 20-foot sections with pre-rigged loops at each end for a quick loop-to-loop connection. Select a small diameter line (parachute chord) for deep water, swift current or any time an extremely long anchor line is used to reduce drag and line flutter (which causes wobble or line slap).
For thick vegetation, a drag anchor, window weight, sand-filled sock or water bottle works best on a thicker diameter floating dock line. Using an anchor can provide a lot of relief to an angler, but certain considerations and precautions should be taken to prevent a potentially disastrous encounter. Always rig your anchor line or other attachment point for quick release.
The most common and effective way to accomplish this is with an anchor trolley. A basic system consists of pulleys fore and aft and a continuous loop with a plastic or metal ring in the center to attach an anchoring device or lanyard that changes the pivot point of the craft while at anchor. Never anchor from the middle of your boat or tie directly to any hard point in moving water.
Always deploy your anchor upcurrent and drift into position. Avoid wrestling the boat against a taught anchor line. Pull the anchor line through the anchor trolley ring and install a float on the end to enable recovery if the line is dumped in an emergency or to fight a big fish. In situations where cover, water depth or bottom consistency inhibit the use of a traditional anchor, I use a loop, lip gripper or bush hook to attach to available cover.
For slow moving rivers, I generally use eddies or wedge my kayak against rocks to hold my position. However, when those become difficult to manage, I use a drag chain covered in heat shrink or inner tube to slow or stop my drift. In shallow water, simply slipping a foot in the water will usually do the trick. Check in next week when we discuss organization and rigging options that take the headache out of managing your gear.Editor's Note: Chad Hoover is originally from Louisiana and is currently on active duty in the U.S. Navy, stationed in Norfolk, Va.