Anchoring anxiety no more: three critical anchor systems for safer boating and better fishing.
Because we're using such a heavy anchor, and the heavy weight of the chain, we don't have to put out quite as much scope. I try to use a 2 to 1, rode to water depth, but you always have to vary that depending on how deep you are and how fast the current is running. Some times I'll go to a 3 to 1 or 4 to 1. You have to see what's happening on the scene.
Probably our most common depth to anchor in is 120 to 140, but we'll also go out and anchor as deep as 240 or 300, because that's where some of our wrecks are. At that point, we'll have the primary anchor line, but we'll take 500 feet of extra line with us and quick connect them with a shackle. We don't want to carry that extra line unless we're going to use it. These connections are made with the pre-made, metal-reinforced thimble loops eye-spliced into the line.
You've got to make sure that your anchor has pre-drilled holes at the head of it and the back of it for the tie wraps to hold the chain for your quick-release mechanism. There's no drilling through that anchor on your own. [Softer Danforth anchor may be penetrated with a titanium bit.--ed.] If you get stuck in a rock, if you pull it with your ball it will pop that tie and lift the anchor from the way it went into the rock.
With the anchor ball you've got your ball ring that you run underneath, and some people just clip it under, but I'll just twist the clasps of the clip to give a much more reinforced connection on the line. Get yourself forward of the anchor, so you can see the anchor ball running back and quartering the boat itself, and then once you've pulled farther than the distance that you think the anchor ball has sunk, lifting the anchor, you run straight ahead or if there are other boats around you, start doing a circle. Because when this comes up, the one thing that you want to watch for is that this ring with the ball comes up actually over the shackle and doesn't get hung there. If it does and you think it's up, as soon as you stop the boat, it's going right back down, and that can put you in a terribly bad position, to be anchored where you shouldn't be. So what I'll do is, run until it's at the very end, and I can tell that because I'll see the anchor ball itself start to wobble back and forth and you can sometimes see the anchor dragging behind the ball. When you're pulling the anchor with a ball always try to go into deeper water instead of shallower water, because that way even if it goes back down it shouldn't hit bottom. You're still cleated up, of course.
We've also found that sometimes, these pins in these shackles will come out, so we tie wrap them into place for the extra insurance. It keeps them from being able to back out.
You might tie the very end of the rope to the boat. But since we like to sometimes add rope to the main length with a quick connection, we shackle the rope to a lead deep drop weight, so that whoever is putting out the anchor feels the weight at the end of the line and doesn't let the line go overboard, which in fact happened once before we tied it to that weight.
When anchoring in shallow water we prefer the Danforth as it digs into the sand a little better. Plus, we may avoid having to pull it out back ward from reef, rocks or other structure. You still want to rig it with a breakaway method such as the Anchor Saver because it is common for it to drag until it catches. You will know when your anchor has set as the boat will begin to spin around allowing the bow to face into the current.
We try and use this method when bottom fishing structure which may not be very big. By letting the anchor set in the sand it will often keep you up in front of your structure and allow you to drop your baits down just in front of the structure. This method is very important as many fish, including snapper, feed on the scent and move upcurrent to find your bait. It tends to pull the larger fish off the structure and keeps the little guys from stripping your bait.
Using a breakaway system, if your anchor gets stuck, you can still retrieve it after fishing without the worry of losing an expensive and important anchor. You continue to apply pressure to the breakaway connection until it pops. Then you are able to pull the anchor out backward from whatever it was stuck on. Once aboard, you simply reattach the chain to the top of the shank and you are ready to drop again.
We use the Anchor Saver system because it has a stainless steel cable to attach to the anchor and comes equipped with a breakaway bolt. These bolts are strong when at anchor but easy to break when your anchor becomes wedged. Using this device, I do not have to worry about wire ties coming loose or wires rusting out and breaking. Losing an anchor can put you in an unsafe situation at sea and ruin a good day.
We use 30 feet of 5/6-inch chain which keeps me from ever having to drop more than once to get a good set. This also holds down the shank of the anchor causing it to help dig in better. The rope attached to the chain is spliced and is 1/2-inch rope. Our rope is 600 feet long because we anchor in 180 feet of water some days. Multiply the depth of water by three to figure how much rope you need to anchor in rough water or moving water.
A good rock anchor is a grapnel type anchor. I use an anchor bend knot to tie the rope to about 4 to 6 feet of 1/4- to 3/8-inch Marine 316 Grade stainless steel chain. The size of the boat and anchor will dictate the diameter of your rope, however %-inch braided nylon will work for most boats. I have anchor ropes from 150 feet to 300 feet. I then hook the chain to the bottom of the anchor and run the chain up and tie-wrap it to the ring so I can pull the grapnel anchor up backward.
I make sure to tie a good knot from my rope to the chain. This is something I need to do before I get to where I want to anchor down. When I am trying to anchor around jetties or rocks it helps to be ready ahead of time. I make sure my anchor line is not tangled before I start to lower the anchor. A tangled line could cause me to miss where I want to drop the anchor. Next, I make sure to know how deep the water is that I am in as I will need to let line out five to seven times the depth. Let the anchor down gently. It will make it easier pulling it back up. Anchor from the bow. Anchoring from the stern can sink the boat.
I also buy anchors that the grapnel will bend when it's stuck so that it comes out. Then I just bend them back for the next drop.
Interviews by David Conway Illustrations by Joe Suroviec
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|Date:||Jun 1, 2011|
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