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Paul Roberts

Boat Positioning with Kayaks

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I'm a boat position freak. Gotta have it -NOW! :)

 

So... I can imagine kayaks blowing all around, wherever they are tethered from. I know I'll need to just get out there and play around. But, in the meantime...

 

I'm considering:

 -hand paddle (Made one already; Guide in the Philippines used one to great effect from a banca -a heavy wood "canoe".)

 -anchor lock (bow, stern -both? I'd double anchor a boat, but a yak? Is that even safe?

 -anchor trolley (heard these can cause your yak to "snake" in current. True? Worth the time?)

 -stake out pole(s) (considering making a dropping pole for the stern)

 -clothesline retractor to handle anchor line.

 -cutters to cut lines if needed.

 

Advice? Experiences? Loves? Hates?

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I actually like the swing in breeze or current.  Get a trolley all the way.  I installed on on my new Hobie Compass, but haven't used it much since I can hold position with the pedal driven Mirage Drive.  I also have a sculling paddle.  Took it out once, never used it again, totally useless.  I don't fish too many places a stakeout pole will work, but I have considered a Powerpole Micro.  Again, Mirage Drive has been solving most of the issues.  I've use a fish grip with a retractable dog leash as a sort of brush anchor.  For a knife, I recommend the NRS Coplilot: https://www.nrs.com/product/47303.02/nrs-co-pilot-knife.  Clip it to your vest, and use the quick release when you need it in a hurry.  Last of all, newer hull designs are not nearly as prone to getting blown around.  Look for a sleek aero top deck design.

 

Take a look at this, to see me using the Mirage Drive to hold position in wind.  I've also started using the drive for small corrections while standing.  It's easy to make a couple of pumps one handed without setting the rod down.

 

 

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Never liked a knife in an emergency, and I carry a set of medical shears from my scuba gear.  Nice retraction holder and done.

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An anchor trolley works great for positioning. 

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I use a trolley.  I fish quite a bit in current, tidal movement AND wind...at the same time.  Makes for tricky positioning.  Trolley is nice, but I still get plenty of swing.   Fished 'dynamic' conditions yesterday around two guys who both had twin anchors and I have to admit that they positioned far better than I did.  One used two Anchor Wizards.  The other kept two dumb bells in small buckets.  If I was to go with two anchors, I'd get another Wizard and mount the chutes at bow and stern.

  I do have a Backwater Assault hand paddle, but, like @J FranchoFrancho, I used it exactly once.   I keep it onboard just as an emergency backup in case I ever lose my paddle.

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21 hours ago, J Francho said:

I actually like the swing in breeze or current.  Get a trolley all the way.  I installed on on my new Hobie Compass, but haven't used it much since I can hold position with the pedal driven Mirage Drive.  I also have a sculling paddle.  Took it out once, never used it again, totally useless.  I don't fish too many places a stakeout pole will work, but I have considered a Powerpole Micro.  Again, Mirage Drive has been solving most of the issues.  I've use a fish grip with a retractable dog leash as a sort of brush anchor.  For a knife, I recommend the NRS Coplilot: https://www.nrs.com/product/47303.02/nrs-co-pilot-knife.  Clip it to your vest, and use the quick release when you need it in a hurry.  Last of all, newer hull designs are not nearly as prone to getting blown around.  Look for a sleek aero top deck design.

 

Take a look at this, to see me using the Mirage Drive to hold position in wind.  I've also started using the drive for small corrections while standing.  It's easy to make a couple of pumps one handed without setting the rod down.

Thanks, John. I can see how the pedal drive would solve a lot of ills, since my float tube prob works in a similar way and its precisely maneuverable. Since I'm new at kayaking -using it for the (slightly) larger waters here- I'm not investing too heavily. No pedal drive. I'll be manually-powered all the way around. Will trade up as warranted. Eventually I will want to stand. That'll be the biggest reason to upgrade. May consider pontoons, but will start trimmed down.

 

Fish grip sounds good, maybe to clip to the pole too.

8 hours ago, Choporoz said:

I use a trolley.  I fish quite a bit in current, tidal movement AND wind...at the same time.  Makes for tricky positioning.  Trolley is nice, but I still get plenty of swing.   Fished 'dynamic' conditions yesterday around two guys who both had twin anchors and I have to admit that they positioned far better than I did.  One used two Anchor Wizards.  The other kept two dumb bells in small buckets.  If I was to go with two anchors, I'd get another Wizard and mount the chutes at bow and stern.

  I do have a Backwater Assault hand paddle, but, like @J FranchoFrancho, I used it exactly once.   I keep it onboard just as an emergency backup in case I ever lose my paddle.

Thanks, Choporoz. Very helpful. Your 'dynamic' conditions put you in the seat I was hoping to hear from! Mine are not so dynamic though. Wind is about it. And you hit my biggest debate: trolley, or fore and aft anchors.

 

A question about the trolley:

I notice that people always rig their trolley's back from the bow and stern. I assume this is where stability is apt to be lost. Can a trolley be rigged so anchors could go all the way up and back?

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Yes. The whole point of an anchor trolley is that you can position it anywhere from the bow to the stern. 

 

 

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I have an anchor and anchor trolley but haven't used it in a year.  I almost always in pretty shallow water and prefer to use my stake out pole.  I bought a cheap, 8' fiberglass garden stake off of Amazon and will tie the lanyard from my fish grips onto my kayak handle then clip onto the pole.  Not only does it work great but it's very quick to get anchored and to pull up and move.

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I had an anchor trolley, lost the anchor so i bought a stakeout pole (I woulf avoid an anchor unless your lakes are super deep but even then youre better off drifting)  Work excellent when sliding it through anchor trolley ring.  You adjust trolley location for wind and the direction you wish to fish.

 

The problems with a stakeout pole is that they can sometimes work loose in deep water/soft bttom/strong wind.  Also they can be difficult to store which is how i lost mine when a lilupad jumped up and snatched it from my paddle holder.

 

So my step this year was the purchase of a powerpole micro anchor.  I LOVE it.  Fast deployment and SOLID.  Only issue is increased weight can cause kayak to spin more readily in breeze when undeployed requiring more paddling adjustments.  A second con is needing to plan approach for deployment in conjunction with wind to set up right, thr anchor trolley allows you to adjust to wind conditions anywhere you want to deploy.

 

Lots of options out there

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Thanks, all. Very helpful. Much appreciated.

 

So far, I went ahead and ordered a trolley. Also bought a 7' and an 8' garden stake to try -diff diameters/weight.

 

Rigging projects are always fun, whether its boats, tackle boxes, bags, backpacks, ... . :)

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11 hours ago, Montanaro said:

I had an anchor trolley, lost the anchor so i bought a stakeout pole (I woulf avoid an anchor unless your lakes are super deep but even then youre better off drifting)  Work excellent when sliding it through anchor trolley ring.  You adjust trolley location for wind and the direction you wish to fish.

 

The problems with a stakeout pole is that they can sometimes work loose in deep water/soft bttom/strong wind.  Also they can be difficult to store which is how i lost mine when a lilupad jumped up and snatched it from my paddle holder.

 

So my step this year was the purchase of a powerpole micro anchor.  I LOVE it.  Fast deployment and SOLID.  Only issue is increased weight can cause kayak to spin more readily in breeze when undeployed requiring more paddling adjustments.  A second con is needing to plan approach for deployment in conjunction with wind to set up right, thr anchor trolley allows you to adjust to wind conditions anywhere you want to deploy.

 

Lots of options out there

Interesting.....my mileage may vary :)

  I didn't address in my posts above, but in addition to my trollyed anchor wizard anchor, I also use a 6' YakAttack ParkNPole in relatively shallow waters.  I use it through a scupper hole - but the range of depths that it is useful is sort of narrow - deeper than about five feet, it won't stick; less than 30" or so and the pole sticks up high and in my way.  I never thought about sticking it through the trolley triangle ring, but it sounds like a good idea, if it will fit.  My pole straps alongside (starboard; opposite the port side trolley) and completely out of the way when not in use.

    As to "(I woulf avoid an anchor unless your lakes are super deep but even then youre better off drifting)"....I couldn't disagree more -- then again, I suppose 'super deep' might mean different things to us.   As I mentioned above, I can't stake in 6'+ depths....or in rocky rivers, for that matter.  Saturday, I was working ledges in current - boat sitting over 20+ FOW -- if I just drifted, I'd have never been able to work the bottom at all; by the time my rig hit bottom, I'd have been 10 yards farther down river.

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So many good comments already, good advice.

 

I'll mention what I find valuable, some over-lap with others.

 

1) If you fish seated, for now, a Backwater Assault Hand Paddle is indispensable. I use it in my Propel 10 to make tiny adjustments, my canoe, too;

 

2) Unless the anchor line attachment (like a Harken pulley), whatever is last in contact with the vessel, is more or less exactly off the bow or the stern, wind and current will swing your kayak a bit through an arc. Even a tiny offset "*****" your vessel a bit and the wind and current will take advantage of this to push against it. Not a big deal normally, but expect this. And, it is very hard to get the anchor line with an anchor trolley mounted all the way forward or back on most kayaks unless you attach something centered;

 

3) A stake-out pole is super effective in the shallows, say up to 8 feet. I prefer it to an anchor. I agree with others that anchors are better for deeper water kayaking. And, a heavy chain is often the best choice over many anchor designs and shapes.

 

***One very effective substitute for a traditional anchor is an old heavy rod, an old large casting reel, some really strong braid in a large test, what, 100/200 lbs.?  Just hang it over the side where you want the anchor or chain to drop, then let it fall to the bottom. Use the reel to let out whatever amount of line you desire. If you mount one of the attachments (see below) off the very back center of your kayak, and if you are flexible in your torso to twist around, just use your rod to guide the line into the anchor guide. Set the reel to no drag, find a place to secure it.  When you are ready to leave, just reverse the process and reel up the anchoring device.

 

Brad

Kayak anchor line guide.JPG

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I'm inclined to agree with @Choporoz thoughts on anchoring, though I fish in little current.  Wind would be my issue.  Super deep means 2-3 miles off shore in 30-40 FOW.

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Great stuff.

 

What Choporoz, Brad, and John describe are my concern. I don't want to drift/spin around. What I really want is a bass boat, but my waters, and priorities, say otherwise.

 

How about anchor styles? I'm leery of the folding spider type bc of sunken brush. I hear Brad's suggestion on the chain: How heavy a chain? 

 

I'm considering 5lb mushrooms. If it's too windy -white-capping- I'm not likely to be out there.

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I use a 3.5 lb grappling anchor (four 'pronged'.)

 

Anchor line is attached at the bottom of the anchor, runs up the anchor and is attached to the top with small zip-tie.  If it snags, I pull hard enough to break the zip and lift the anchor from the bottom.  Then replace the zip when I get done for the day....suppose I could take a spare along....I don't take enough stuff as it is :)

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I run the same rigging.  I'll try to get a pic later.

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22 minutes ago, Choporoz said:

I use a 3.5 lb grappling anchor (four 'pronged'.)

 

Anchor line is attached at the bottom of the anchor, runs up the anchor and is attached to the top with small zip-tie.  If it snags, I pull hard enough to break the zip and lift the anchor from the bottom.  Then replace the zip when I get done for the day....suppose I could take a spare along....I don't take enough stuff as it is :)

Stealing this one ..... thanks.

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28 minutes ago, Choporoz said:

I use a 3.5 lb grappling anchor (four 'pronged'.)

 

Anchor line is attached at the bottom of the anchor, runs up the anchor and is attached to the top with small zip-tie.  If it snags, I pull hard enough to break the zip and lift the anchor from the bottom.  Then replace the zip when I get done for the day....suppose I could take a spare along....I don't take enough stuff as it is :)

I've seen those, and the zip-tie rigging, online. Thought they might end up a hassle. Will reconsider the mushrooms; Don't need the added weight.

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I do like how it stows in a rod holder

5613-338x600.jpeg

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You don't want a mushroom....trust me.

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The anchor when I use it is a 8lb dumbbell with 75' of 5/16" line. I don't use it much since I graduated to a PA14. But I do use it when I feel like sitting in a spot or to raft up with my sweetheart. 

FM

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It just depends on so many factors, anchor weights. But, just a general observation that unless you are fishing in strong currents or windy conditions, for most kayaks not built like kites (ha!), 3 lbs. will often do the trick. On my Big Rig, I used about an 18" piece of chain but I don't recall its gauge. I'd say it weighed something less than 3 lbs.

 

Some tricks, too, to learn. One is that on really windy days, if you'll position yourself on the leeward side of any islands, there is usually a dead spot in the water and you can cast to the active water or its edge. Too, on sharp points sticking out, there'll be one side with waves, right around the corner, deader water. Under dams when the wind is blowing overhead, fish the rip-rap. Coves, especially tree-lined ones where the wind is blowing over perpendicular to it.

 

Pull up and glide into lily pads, other vegetation and you will find that it "arrests" the wave action. You can sit in the weeds and fish the weed line.

 

Finally, don't forget that in circumstances where you can get out of your kayak, do it. On rivers, there are almost always gravel banks to stand on, on lakes there are endless shorelines inaccessible to bank fishermen. Lots of places like these to walk around and stretch out.

 

Brad

 

P.S. Be sure and buy a bush clip. I attach them to standing timber, little stumps, even a lily pad stem.  br

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50 minutes ago, Choporoz said:

I do like how it stows in a rod holder

5613-338x600.jpeg

Nifty!

 

Man, I don't have a lot of deck space left, and I haven't even got it wet yet! But, that's where the fun is. :)

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Sorry, a couple of lakes I fish can drop off into 60+ FOW close to shore.  It would be a bit of a chore to let out the anchor and retrieve it, not to mention having to calculate where to drop anchor to allow you to drift into a stable location near your target (trigonometry).

 

I'd rather just drift and paddle back.  Few times I actually need to anchor to fish and those are shallow water situations (beds, lily pads, lay downs) where I can use my PP.

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I fish some very similar glacial lakes, and this is one of the reasons I actually like the swing.  Allows me to cover a bit more water when anchoring on a location.  You can also use the resistance of a diving crank bait to position the boat or even affect your drift.

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