When boat owners talk, the hottest topic of discussion is usually their motors. In the boating world, motors get all the glory. They get anglers to their favorite fishing spots and back to the landing, so the glory is well-deserved, but that’s little help if you can’t stay on the right spot once you get there. Anchors have had their place on boats long before motors, and even though materials and shapes have changed, an anchor is still basically a heavy object tied to a rope.
Things changed a decade ago when the Power-Pole shallow-water anchor hit the scene. Freshwater and saltwater anglers alike have taken to the Power-Pole and similar devices like the Minn Kota Talon. These extendable, remote-controlled poles deploy at the touch of a button and can hold a boat still in water up to 12 feet deep. They hold well on all bottoms, even rocky, sandy or muddy ones. For guides and tournament anglers, they are invaluable, but many recreational anglers also use them for their ease. No traditional anchor can stop a boat as quickly or quietly, but they aren’t the only alternatives to traditional anchors.
Another popular way to anchor is with anchoring sticks or pins. They work on the same principle as Power-Poles but aren’t motorized. An angler pushes the stick into the bottom, then attaches it to their boat. It’s a low-tech, low-budget alternative to the motorized versions, but many are made of high-tech, lightweight materials that make handling and storing them fairly easy. These don’t work well on hard bottoms, however, because unlike the motorized version, downward pressure is not being constantly applied.
Another advantage Power-Poles have over anchoring sticks is that they can be mounted to and hold any sized vessel. But even they have their shortcomings. Until recently, even with all the space-age electronics and gear aboard offshore and nearshore fishing boats, they were limited to anchoring the old-fashioned way because the water is simply too deep for anchoring sticks or Power-Poles.
Luckily, anglers fishing at any depth now have a much better option than tossing out a heavy weight on a rope to hold their position over fish. GPS-enabled trolling motors are the latest anchoring technology; they can help anglers fishing in freshwater lakes, streams and rivers, and aid saltwater anglers fishing inshore, nearshore and offshore. The real beneficiaries are the anglers fishing in water deeper than 12 feet, because they’ve never had any alternative to tossing out a heavy anchor.
Minn Kota’s iPilot, MotorGuide’s Pinpoint and Rhodan’s GPS Anchor are the three leading products keeping offshore anglers on top of their fishing holes. Much like the Power-Pole, when anglers like their boat’s position, they simply push a button on their wireless remote. This locks their trolling motor onto the GPS coordinates, keeping the boat in place until the angler wants to move.
Fishing guides who split their time between inshore and nearshore waters are especially enthusiastic about using GPS-enabled trolling motors. Capt. Rick Percy of Reel Chance Charters in Beaufort said he would rather fish a nearshore reef than fish inshore, as long as the weather and time permits, but he always loved the anchoring part of fishing inshore much better.
“I ran my trolling motor a lot over the nearshore reefs, because it’s just easier than anchoring sometimes, but when doing that, a lot of my attention is on keeping the boat in the right spot. I was constantly pushing buttons on my remote control and watching my depth finder to make sure I was in the right spot. It is tough to focus on fishing when you’re trying to keep the boat positioned that way.
“Traditional anchors are a chore to throw out and set, and it takes a lot of time to use them to properly position your boat. With the iPilot, I watch my depth finder, and when I find the right spot, I just push a button, then focus on fishing. The trolling motor now does the same thing the Power-Pole does, just with a different technology. When I want to move, I can move in short increments, or just run the trolling motor like normal. It is truly a revolutionary piece of gear that simplifies fishing whether inshore or out deep,” said Percy (803-535-6166).