by Gary Brown
I find that when anchoring my boat it is not just good enough to drop the anchor over the front of the boat, let out a bit of rope and then start fishing. To get the best out of anchoring there are so many different variables that can come into play. Some of which are the direction of the wind, flow of the water, eddies, waves, other boats and how deep or shallow the water is where you are fishing.
Not always, but quite a number of times I will anchor up at a drop off and work the area for flathead with either baits or lures
To help you with your anchoring techniques I will explain how I would anchor at six different spots that I would fish.
Reef or rocky bottom: Firstly, you need to pass over the spot that you intend to fish. Once located you can either anchor directly on top of the reef or rocky bottom (use a reef pick) and let out enough anchor rope (no chain) to allow your boat to be positioned where the reef meets the sand or mud, or you can anchor up current of the reef (use a sand anchor with a length of chain attached) and position your boat so that the stern of the boat is at the start of the reef. These two positions will allow your berley to flow over the reef or where it drops off onto the sand or mud.
Channel markers and or Bridge Pylons: As you are travelling around your local waterways you would come across a lot of channel markers and bridge pylons. Each of them would have their own characterists and you may find that they would have to be fished slightly different. This will depend on the size, position, way they are fixed to the bottom, direction of current and what they are made of.
In Sydney harbour there is a maker that is constructed of timber and metal and is built directly over a small area of reef. It looks very much like a wedding cake and is about five to six metres in diameter at water level. The water is able to flow through and around the structure causing eddies at the sides, front and back of it, attracting bream, luderick, yellowtail kingfish, mulloway and many other fish species.
Due to the popularity of the Wedding Cake the best ways to fish here would be to either drift past or set one anchor off the bow of the boat and then allow the boat to be positioned about five to six metres from the edge of the marker. This would allow your berley and baits to be worked through the whole of the water column, from top to the bottom.
Sand bar or flats: When fishing on sand flats or bars I will always fish with two anchors out. Having an anchor out the bow and stern of the boat will stop your boat from moving around dragging the lines all over the place causing them to tangle up with each other. It also allows you to also cast up current and fish a lightly weighted bait back towards your boat for those fish that have not yet found your berley trail.
Break or retaining wall: Whether you are fishing a break or retaining wall that leads to the open sea or holds back the land or even changes the direction of the flow of the water you can effectively fish them by either having one or two anchors out. Depending on which part of the tide you are fishing, you will find the current that flows in and around break or retaining walls fairly quickly. For instance if I was chasing luderick or bream, while fishing adjacent to a break or retaining wall I would have a sand pick out in the main channel fixed to the stern of the boat and a small reef pick tied off to the springer at the bow of the boat that would be anchored onto the break wall. This would allow your floats or baits to travel along with the flow of the current that would be running parallel to the wall.
. If you were unable to anchor with two anchors due to the amount of room or other anglers fishing the same spot you could always put out one anchor out the front and bridle your boat so that it doesn’t move around as much.
Sea Anchor when drifting over the flats: Drifting when chasing bream, trevally, flathead and mulloway is a great technique. If you are drifting to fast and you cannot stay in the prime fishing zone you could deploy your sea anchor. If you have never used one before you will be amazed at how much it will slow down the drift.
This means the angler is able to the stay on the fishing ground longer, use very light tackle, less fuel because he does not require you to move as often. However should conditions deteriorate and the boat is disabled the sea anchor is designed with the capacity to save both boat and crew. The sea anchor can also be used to keep the boat moving in the direction that you require. For example, you could use it to keep the boat at ninety degrees to the shoreline if required.
I don’t have a Minn Kota I Pilot, but after going out with a mate of mine who has one I am thinking about converting my 80lb Thrust Minn Kota. I recently fished a BETTS bream tournament in the Hawkesbury River. What we were able to do was position the boat with the aid of the I Pilot so that we could cast at a wash. When the boat moved about 1.5 metres away from the original spot it just sped up and re-positioned us back to the starting position. The results for the day had us come in at 10th place out of 89 teams.
Power Poles fitted on boats are worth a look at as you can anchor the boat to a spot in shallow water without an anchor.
For more information about how to get the best out of anchoring up go to this You Tube clip I put together for Pure Fishing/Pflueger: