Anchoring and boat handling: Written by Dennis Hull ( Bite Me Guide Service )
Important Safety Rules that will Keep you Alive!!!
1. Never anchor in the shipping channel.
2. Always have at least 3 times the depth in anchor rope length MINIMUM. The coast guard recommends 5 to 7 times the depth. A good length for most situations is 300-400ft.
3. Never anchor a boat from the stern, or let the anchor rope get caught on anything towards the back end of the boat. Anchor backwards and you will SINK!!!
4. Always have a sharp knife handy when anchoring.
5. Wear your life jacket when handling the anchor line.
Always keep safety in mind when anchoring or pulling anchor. A large percentage of boating accidents that involving fatalities are related to anchoring errors.
For sturgeon fishing the most common type of anchor is what is called a rocking chair anchor, with the standard weight between 20 and 40 lbs. Use of at least six feet of drag chain to attach your anchor rope to the anchor. On the anchor rope use a anchor puller with a inflatable float big enough to float the anchor. The anchor puller is a mechanism that allows you to pull the anchor up off of the bottom using the boats power to do the lifting, when the anchor is up to the float and you stop the boat the puller locks into position and wont allow the anchor to sink. Also always have about 30 feet of tag line or an additional rope attached to the free end of your anchor rope with another small buoy attached so that if you have to let the boat loose from the anchor to fight a big fish you have a piece of floating line to grab when you come back to your anchor. Most rocking chair anchors are designed with a piece of chain that is hooked to the bottom of the anchor and then tied to the top of the anchor with a small piece of string. This setup is to allow the anchor to pull from the bottom if it becomes stuck. always hook your anchor chain to the chain on the anchor and not to the eye that is welded to the anchor.
Dropping the anchor; Bring the boat to a stop keeping the bow pointed into the current. Hold the anchor puller lock in the disengaged position and make sure your feet aren't tangled in the rope. Let the anchor go until it hits the bottom. Slowly back up with the current while releasing more anchor rope keeping the boat pointing into the current. When you have about 3 times the anchor rope out as it is deep toss the buoy over and tie off to your bow cleat. make sure that the rope is in the guide on the bow of your boat. The amount of rope you will need depends on the amount of current and water conditions.
Stopping boat swing while anchored; It is important to minimize the swinging action of the boat. To do this use sea anchors or drift socks, or buckets tied to rope. tie them off the the stern cleats on either side of your boat and let them drag in the current. If the wind is blowing or you don't have enough current to pull on the socks you may have to use your trolling motor or the main motor to hold you straight.
Always leave yourself plenty of room away from other boats when anchoring especially if you are new to the anchoring thing. Allot of times your anchor wont hold or you can misjudge the current and very quickly be up against someone else's boat.
Pulling the anchor; Some people tie the rope off to the back of the boat for this, I leave it tied to the bow. The most important thing is that you start your pull at an angle slightly to one side or the other of the direction your anchor rope is going then go upstream parallel To your anchor rope until the anchor is up to the buoy then turn your boat pointing at the anchor and retrieve the rope and anchor. Use caution not to let the rope get under the boat where it can become tangled in the motor or pump.
Expect to loose an anchor from time to time and bring a spare if you have one it can save the day.
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