April 2006

The Kayak Angler
Advanced Kayak Rigging: Anchor Systems
By Cory Routh

Here are the most popular anchors for kayaking, the 1.5 pound Bruce and the 3-pound claw. Both should be rigged for quick release and with a float.

The easiest way to stay on a hot spot is to anchor. The problem is that in some cases an anchor can be dangerous. Many have learned that just tying an anchor to the side of your kayak can lead to disaster. So kayak anglers have developed a way to anchor that is more effective and less dangerous. This system utilizes a shuttle system that is not unlike the pulley clotheslines often seen between buildings. This system allows the anchor to be placed inline with the kayak, so there is less chance of capsizing. It also allows for quick disconnection in case of emergencies, or to fight a fish.

Anchor Types
There are several types of anchors, the most common used for kayaking are, folding claw, Bruce and stake-out poles. The claw anchor is a good all around anchor that can be folded up for storage. It will work in just about any condition with moderate to slow current. They are especially good in fresh water. The Bruce or manta anchor is designed for muddy and sand bottoms and this is my personal favorite. The stake-out pole is used in shallow water (up to 2-foot). It consists of a pole that is pushed into the bottom and attached to the kayak. This is the quickest anchor to use and good for staking out the kayak when you decide to wade. Scupper holes on sit-on-top (SOT) kayaks can also be used with stake-our poles. Just stick them down through the scupper and into the bottom.

This is a close up of the tie that will break and reverse if the anchor gets hung.

Anchor Rigging
All your anchors should be rigged so that they will reverse if they get stuck. The claw and Bruce anchors have holes at the bottom that allow you to rig them this way. Use a small shackle to attach the rope to the bottom of the anchor, and then use a small cable tie to attach the rope to the end of the shaft of the anchor. Regular use will not break the tie. If the anchor is snagged, give a good yank, the tie will break and reverse the direction of the anchor. You should also install a float at the other end of the anchor line; this will allow you to dump the anchor if the need arrives. You can always go back and get it later. If conditions get bad (currents, waves, etc.) dump the anchor and return when conditions are safer. You should never anchor in very fast current, or in big swell.

Installing the Shuttle System

1.) Decide which side to mount the shuttle; I prefer the side opposite of your casting hand. Attach the Harken pulleys to the bow and stern of the kayak. Get them as close to the end as you can without interfering with other systems such as the rudder. You may have to use pad eyes and rivet them to the kayak. On the Wilderness Systems Tarpons, you can attach the pulleys to the carrying handles at both ends of the kayak. Use the bungi to attach the pulleys to the pad eyes or to the handles.
2.) Run Niteline or 550 cord through the pulleys and make a loop in both ends of the line. Make sure that they are tight enough so that the bungi stretches and keeps them taught. Connect these two loops using a stainless carabineer
3.) Use heat or shrink tubing to clean up any tattered ends.
4.) Install a small boat cleat at the mid point of your kayak on the same side as the shuttle system.

Here is a good picture of the anchor shuttle system.

Here is a good picture of what the anchor system looks like deployed.

Using the Shuttle System
This will work with all both anchors and the stake-out pole. Deploy the anchor as usual; when it holds, snap the rope in to the carabineer. Make sure the rope can flow through the ring. Using the pulleys, move the carabineer to the front or to the rear of the kayak. When it gets there, attach the rope to the cleat. The kayak will position itself inline with the anchor. Let out additional line if you need to. To retrieve the anchor, remove the line from the cleat and pull it in while the carabineer is at the end. This will use the length of the boat to bring in the anchor. When the anchor reaches the surface, pull it to the center and take the line out of the carabineer. If things go wrong, dump the anchor and get it later.

I hope that this article has been informative and will get you on you way to having the perfect fishing kayak. Looks like warm weather is just around the bend and fishing is going to be good as ever.

Just remember to always wear your PFD. See you on the water!

Editor's Note:
Cory "Ruthless" Routh, is truly a dynamic angler, from farm ponds to coastal flats. "Ruthless" has a natural ability for finding and catching fish. He is comfortable with flyfishing techniques, as well as light tackle. Cory is a nationally ranked kayak fisherman, and was named the Extreme Edge Fishing Tournament Series 2005 Mid-Atlantic kayak angler of the year. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marine Biology and is the former coordinator of the Virginia Saltwater Recreational Fishing Development Program, where he earned recognition as a forward thinker in conservation and was awarded the Virginia Marine Resources Distinguished Service Award. When not at work in the water quality lab for the City of Virginia Beach, you'll find Ruthless giving kayak fishing lectures or guiding kayak fishing trips in and around Virginia Beach.


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