So you've found it, that perfect spot. Now is the time to drop anchor and get down to the business of fishing or relaxing. But if your anchor isn't up to the job and for whatever reason it just won't set up, then perhaps it's time to get a new anchor. You need one which will stop your boat when you want it to, and will keep it relatively motionless.
Before you begin offshore anchoring, it is important that you are far away from other boats, and that you do not drop your line across another boater's line, which may foul the anchors. It is generally recommended that you find a location roughly equidistant from other boaters to avoid collision or any other disastrous consequence. If you do not know where a neighboring boat is anchored, ask them. Anchors are not always immediately out towards their bow, as winds may shift.
Anchors differ in design, and it's important to note the kind of surface which your anchor will be tasked with holding to. Fluke anchors are great for mud and sand. Plow anchors are good for rocks, weeds and sand. Claw-type anchors are also good for rocks and sand. Grapnel Anchors are perfect for small boats and dinghies but inappropriate for larger vessels. Same with mushroom designed anchors, which are generally only for skiffs, canoes and inflatable crafts. Shoreline anchors are perfect for anchoring on land, while the boat is beached.
Proper anchor equipment includes the line, a section of chain, shackles and the anchor itself. The amount of line that should be deployed should be five to eight times the water depth. This is to ensure that the force exerted on the anchor is nearly horizontal, rather than vertical, which would dislodge the anchor. Any angle diminishes the holding power of the anchor and the greater the angle of the line, the more likely the chances of a failure in the holding power. The section of chain should be about the same length as the boat, so if your boat is 20 feet long, the chain should be about 20 feet long as well. A chain is also desirable over a line for the bottom, as a line may be damaged by a rocky surface, whereas a chain is much more durable.
Next, point the bow towards the wind or upstream of the current, whichever is stronger.
Then, drop the anchor until you can feel that it touches the ground. Put the craft into a slow reverse and let out line. The method here is to give the line tension until you feel it dragging, let tension off, and then reapply tension until it drags, again and again. When you have reached the desired length of line, let tension on the line until the boat suddenly stops. Now the anchor is properly set. Break out the fishing poles and rest assured that you're not going anywhere until you're ready.
Below are trendsetting anchor companies which are designing the next generation of anchors to consider for your next anchor purchase.
Digger's 15-pound anchoring system promises to increase the holding power of your anchor by 300 percent. Its patented design includes two digger flukes and grabber cleats which give the anchor constant downward pressure. It will immediately grab on to the bottom and keep digging in. When you're ready to raise the anchor, you must either pull it vertically or perfectly horizontally as any angled pressure will only force this steadfast anchor to sink further in. It simply will not let go and will keep hold of the surface of the ground in windy or rough water conditions.
The 15-pound pivoting steel fluke anchor is the latest from Digger, but there are several different designs for salt and fresh water, as well as being available in 10, 12, and 15 pounds, all available at www.diggeranchor.com. The prices vary, but are generally under $100.
These anchors have a surprising feature: they contain absolutely no welds to weaken the metal. They are made of high-tensile aluminum-magnesium alloy, which means they are incredibly light and strong! The alloy is also highly corrosion resistant and nonmagnetic. The anchor can be easily assembled or disassembled into five pieces for easy storage as it is precisely machined.
The Fortress can also be modified to ensure the greatest holding capacity. The anchor can be set at either 32 or 45 degrees depending on the ground conditions on which it will rest. For softer ground, like silt or mud, set the anchor at the 45-degree setting and for more course material like sand or gravel, set it to the 32-degree angle. For purchasing information, visit www.westmarine.com. The anchor is available in many different sizes, but for a pontoon a seven-pound anchor is recommended, priced at $182.99
This popular anchor continually garners attention for its great holding power. It has recently won first prize out of a field of 14 manufacturers in Germany and won second out of a field of 16 in France. It recently received a Super High Holding
Power or SHHP classification designation from the Lloyds Register. The design is innovative with a spearhead tip which cuts through weeds and sticks into any type of seabed. It also features a roll bar to ensure proper setting angle every time.
The Supreme has two different slots to ensure that the anchor will hold to whatever lies beneath. It has an upper rock slot which is elongated along the entire length of the anchor and when the anchor becomes stuck the line will simply slide to where the traditional trip line would be located and then can be easily recovered. The lower sand slot is ideal for all kinds of sand, mud, and weed/grass conditions. The sand slot is also recommended for anchoring in windy and inclement conditions. It is priced anywhere from $100 to $900, depending on how large an anchor is needed. For a pontoon and deck boat, it should range from $144.99 to $209.99 and can be purchased at www.westmarine.com.
Powerpointe Anchor Systems
Bottom anchors are inappropriate and dangerous to use on the shore. For the absolute best in shoreline anchoring, look no further than the Powerpointe system developed by Wagner Products. The system features an innovative design which makes anchoring fast and easy. First, it has a built-in five-and-a-half pound slide weight which helps the installer easily hammer it home in sand, gravel, rocky soil or whatever material is on the shore. Then, it holds fast with a 10-inch wide steel fin and
MIG-welded frame. And to remove the anchor, just use the slide weight in the opposite direction to drive it out of the ground. It is powder coated in yellow for visibility in low light, weighs only 12 pounds, and is extremely
versatile. It can do double duty being used for tents, tarps, umbrellas and holding pets, among many other uses.
The 100 percent American-made Powerpointe is available in sets of two which is recommended for absolute worry-free anchoring. The two-anchor set includes two lines, one for each stern cleat, two Powerpointe anchors, and a carrying case for $189.95 plus actual shipping charges from the St. Louis, Mo., manufacturing facility. Wagner Products guarantees your satisfaction for life and will take back any set which doesn't meet your standards. Yet, in 15 years of operation this has never happened. The system will outlive your boat and may even outlive you. Check out www.wagnerproducts.com or call 314-966-4444 for more details.
Rocna Anchors prides itself on the extra blade area, along with a chisel tip which helps the anchor set easily in all kinds of seabed; the efficient use of weight, which uses no lead; and also features a roll bar which helps the anchor land on the right angle for maximum penetration. In 2009, this innovative design helped the anchor achieve the highest ranking possible from the RINA or Registro Italiano Navale for holding strength, the coveted "Super High Holding Power" or SHHP classification.
From Rocna comes a new design called the Fisherman. Designed for a fisherman on the move, who may drop anchor several times a day, it is available in 9- and 13-pound versions. It features two modes of attachment. First is the secure mode, a connecting point at the rear of the anchor shaft which is generally used for overnight or secure anchoring, where fouling is unlikely to occur. Second is the retrievable mode, which showcases a new "shackle rail," a long connecting slot which makes it easy to retrieve fouled anchors. This mode should be used in areas where fouling is more likely to occur, but should not be used for overnight anchoring or in rough weather.
The 13-pound anchor costs $209.99 and the nine-pounder costs $159.99. Both can be found at www.westmarine.com for customers in the US and Canada. But if you're having trouble finding a retailer near you, visit their main distributer's website at