When hitting the water to fish you have to decide on how you want to fish, do you feel like paddling/peddling whilst trolling a lure, this is a great method to find fish, but for some it’s a little to much like hard work.
There are three more options; you may choose to drift with your bait travelling at the speed of the wind pushing or tide; or you might use a drogue to slow the drift down to a more fish friendly speed while covering lots of ground (a very pleasant method of fishing, and one I do quite often); your third option is to anchor up and fish the area immediately around your kayak.
Anchors come in various sizes, shapes and weights and choosing one that suits your needs for the type of bottom your anchoring in and one that you know your going to get back at the end of the session can be a difficult choice.
Anchoring over sand is relatively easy, there are three main types of anchor to choose from for these conditions, the folding grapnel (which is the most popular choice) folds easily for storage, can be set to trip should it become stuck and is relatively cheap. The most popular sizes used are the 0.75 kg and 1.5 kg, both would be used with around a meter of chain to ensure that the anchor lies correctly along the bottom and the tip digs in.
Grapnel anchors: 0.75kg and 1.5kg plus chain
Then we have the Bruce anchor, this is very similar to that used by fishing boats, designed to dig in should you start to drift, again it would be used with at least a metre of chain to ensure the correct angle when deployed. A line can be run from one end of the anchor to the other to allow it to trip should it become stuck. Personally I find these stick a little too well for my liking, but many of my friends love them.
The Danforth. This is another folding anchor, similar to the type used on ships, two large flat pointed blades (flukes) lay flat along the shank of the anchor, on deployment the blades trip and lay at an angle which then digs into the sea floor, again this would be used with chain.
For rocky (rough) ground there is always the problem of getting your anchor back as most designs have a habit of snagging and in mud getting your anchor to stick can also be an issue.
So with this in mind there are a few anchors that kayak angler’s use in the hope that they can get them back and if they can’t, it’s a cheaper option to lose.
Wire grapnels, home made from stiff bendable wire anchors with lead added to add some wait, these are designed so that the wire bends and straightens as you haul your anchor out of the rocks, these work well but not everyone has the tools and materials to make one.
Heavy ground homemade wire grapnel
The mud anchor. Perfect for river, lake, rough ground, mud, can be brought as a 'mushroom' anchor, usually covered in a plastic coating to ensure that they don’t scratch your boat/kayak. Alternatively you can make one very easily. There are two types I have seen used. One is the lighter engineering brick; a rope loop is tied through the central hole so you can tie your anchor line to it. The brick can be covered in gaffer tape to stop it falling apart in the water and also protect your kayak.
Home made mud anchor with anchor line
And finally my favourite the flower pot mud anchor, this consists of a flower pot with a hole drilled centrally in the bottom, an old tent peg bent around and slid into the hole, the round head on the outside of the flowerpot, then simply pour some mixed fence post concrete into the pot making sure the tent peg is central within the pot, the concrete goes off very quickly so you can’t take long filling your pot(s). Once dry cover the base in gaffer tape to ensure that they whole thing is kayak friendly. The great thing with this type of anchor is that you can make lots of different sizes to suit your needs. I recently made a 4 kg one which I would say is perfect for all my saltwater needs; I will be making some lighter ones for freshwater.
Well that’s anchors, which one you choose to use is down to you, just remember to always carry a spare just in case.