"Anchors Away!" By Justin Hoffman
From the basic "cement-in-a-bucket" to the
tried-and-true fluke or grapnel, anchors come in a wide variety of
shapes and styles. No matter what size boat you skim across your
favourite lake in, having an anchor on board assures safe boating,
while also permitting the angler to have a controlled and drift-free
Choosing the appropriate anchor can be a frustrating
task if you don't know the merits of each particular design. Follow
this handy guide, and prepare to become a boat anchor guru.
What Should I Buy?
Although this question may seem basic, there are many variables that
come into play when purchasing your first anchor. Environmental
conditions (such as weather and lake structure), the size of your
craft and the weight of the anchor itself are all significant parts
of the puzzle. Perhaps it's best to look at how an anchor actually
Anchors "attach" to the bottom structure of a body
of water in order to hold a boat securely. This is done in one of
two ways. Firstly, the anchor can penetrate the bottom surface,
creating a suction through the penetration and the weight of the
material above the anchor itself, in turn creating resistance.
Secondly, when dealing with hard, rocky bottoms, the anchor actually
snags in order to create hold.
Out of the many roles that anchors serve, the most
prevalent are securing the boat while fishing, keeping boats away
from rocks or dangerous structures, or allowing the occupants to
enjoy a relaxing meal on board without drifting away.
What To Look for in an Anchor
As you will realize after reading this article, not all anchors are
created equally. There are, however, common attributes that you
should look for when making your choice.
* Holds well in all types of bottom - weed, rock, sand, mud.
* Can be set and re-set quickly and easily under all conditions.
* Strong craftsmanship.
* Good holding power.
* Can be released easily and effortlessly from the bottom.
* Can be stored easily on deck - compact.
Styles of Anchors
The following represents a list of the most common anchor designs
currently on the market.
River Anchor: This anchor is designed
specifically for river currents and heavy drift conditions. The
grappling action of the three individual blades provides secure
holding power, while the flow-through holes provides easy pull up.
Grapnel Anchor: Most grapnel anchors are made with four arms that
easy fold up, providing a compact and easily stored apparatus. This
style of anchor is ideal for small boats, and is ideal for dinghies
as there are no open flukes to puncture the sensitive fabric of the
Mushroom Anchor: The mushroom anchor offers a
wide area cap that offers effective holding power in mud and weeds.
The drain holes in the base allow for easy retrieval, allowing water
and mud to quickly be displaced.
Navy Anchor: This is the traditional style of anchor. The stock is
made to fold flat against the shank for easy storage, making these
ideal for smaller craft. Navy anchors work well in rocky bottoms,
and will also penetrate easily through weeds.
Fluke Anchor: The fluke anchor, or Danforth
has two "flukes" or appendages that are used to hold on the bottom.
The 'stock in head' design is what makes this anchor work, not the
weight, and it provides extremely high penetration. Flukes work best
in sand or loose gravel, literally burying themselves out of sight
when lowered. One drawback is rocks or boulders - they can become
wedged in so tight that the only option is cutting them free.
Electric Anchors: This type of anchor is a
hands-free style with a base that is attached to the bow of the
boat. With the simple flick of a switch, the anchor can be raised or
lowered, allowing the boater more time for the other things in life.
The one drawback this system has is that the anchor itself is
usually in the style of the mushroom - great for muddy or sandy
conditions, but a poor choice for rocky areas. However, for people
with disabilities or back problems, this anchor system certainly has
What Size Do I Need?
Deciding on a certain size of anchor can be a bit of
a guessing game. Since conditions are always changing, there is no
"right" size for the job at hand. One misconception people make when
shopping for an anchor is the heavier the better. This is just not
true. Physical size, rather than weight, is actually a better
indicator of the anchors holding ability. (Some anchors that only
weigh 5lbs. can hold in excess of 1,000lbs!)
When it comes to choosing an anchor, bigger is
always better. Bigger anchors have more strength to resist breaking,
occupy more of a surface area to resist pullout and will have more
weight to penetrate deeper. Go with the biggest anchor you can get
by with for the size of your watercraft. The last thing you need
when rough weather arrives is an inadequate anchor that doesn't do
Cost and Construction
It goes without saying that buying a cheap or inferior product will
usually only turn to heartache. When dealing with something that
could possibly save your life, please don't scrimp in order to save
a few bucks. Try to buy the best anchor that you can afford, making
sure to be on the lookout for spotty galvanizing, poor welds and
other noticeable inconsistencies in the metal. Always remember - you
often get what you pay for.
Many people buy anchors yet fail to realize that they need something
to attach the rope to on their boat. This is where cleats enter the
picture. Deck cleats are of a simple design, meant for anchor ropes
to be wrapped around for a secure hold. Look for strong, large
cleats that will withstand the punishment and pull that inclement
weather can throw at them.
The Link to the Anchor
Nylon rope is the most common way of attaching an anchor to a boat.
These ropes are strong, flexible and have a very high breaking
Choosing the appropriate size of nylon rope can be
made easier depending on the size of boat you are using.
|Boat Length (Under)
Having an anchor is a necessity when it comes to
boating and fishing. Choose wisely, and the benefits will become
quite evident the very first time you drop it overboard.