Fishin’ with Capt. Gus: Fishing boat anchors
The fishing world, like everything else, has changed considerably over the years.
Some can remember when crappie and bream fishing boats were equipped with only a bush hook and enough line to tie the boat to a tree along the shoreline. That was OK, but it was hard to cast when the boat swung under the tree limbs, and there was always the possibility of a snake falling into it.
More creative fishermen tied a rope to a cinder block or to a couple of window sash weights to keep it from drifting. Others welded several re-bars together to form a grappling hook.
Then along came bass boats and everything had to be neat and professional in appearance. Rustic anchors of the past where replaced with vinyl-coated navy, river and mushroom versions.
Not only did they look good and blend well with the color of the boat, but they didn’t mar the finish on the boat like the old galvanized or cast iron anchors did.
Next came the anchor-mate, a device that allowed one to store, deploy and retrieve the anchor by free spooling or cranking a handle attached to a spool mounted on the bow or stern. Better yet, an electric anchor winch was devised that would eliminate the need to hand crank.
In recent years, bass fishermen and back country saltwater guides have replaced rope, chains and anchors with power poles and stainless steel rods.
The power pole anchor is a device mounted to the transom. It has a hydraulic arm that silently deploys in seconds. Even though a bit expensive, the speed, quietness and convenience of remote control anchoring is worth the cost to serious anglers.
Depending on the unit and the accessories, a shallow water power pole ranges in price from $1,000 to $2,000 or more. The most popular models hold in water to 10 feet deep.
The Cajun anchor is a ¾-inch diameter stainless steel rod available in lengths to six feet. It attaches to a line and is thrown like a harpoon into water over a soft bottom.
It is used quite successfully in saltwater marshes where the bottom is mucky. The holding power of the Cajun anchor is unbelievable, and when retrieved, it is not coated with gobs of mud. It can easily be stowed in a rod locker. A two piece version is available for small boats, canoes and kayaks. The Cajun anchor is very quiet. No anchor chain is required for additional weight or holding power.
Minn Kota, maker of electric trolling motors, has a GPS guided remote control model with a feature known as “Spot- Lock” that works like an electronic anchor. Simply push the anchor button on the remote and the motor will hold the boat within 5 feet of the designated spot.
Modern anchoring technology is great, but always keep a traditional anchor, chain and line on board just in case.
Tips from Capt. Gus
When white perch refuse to hit, add a live crappie minnow or a small strip of cut bait to a Sabiki fly or jig. The additional action and/or scent might tempt a bite.
The 34th Annual Lake Norman Shrine Club - Dogwood Bass Tournament is scheduled for 7 a.m.-4 p.m. April 6 at Midway Marina in Terrell. Based on 100 boats, first prize for this charity event is $2,500. For additional information, call Bill Cork at704- 516-0506
Hot spot of the week
Look for bass in coves and pockets where they are staging to spawn. Best bets are Ramsey and McCrary Creeks.
Crappie and white perch fishing is good-to-very-good on small minnows. Drop fish them around submerged brush and fish attractors.
Striper fishing is fair for “hot hole” fishermen using bloodworms on the bottom or casting Zara Spooks on the surface.
Capt. Gus Gustafson is an outdoor columnist and a full-time fishing guide on Lake Norman. Visit his website www.fishingwithgus.com or call 704-617-6812.