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Paddling with Mel the guide

February 15, 2011
Pine Island Eagle
Hi guys welcome to paradise, Matlacha, and Pine Island — where there is some of the best kayaking in the world, not to mention the fishing.

Today I thought I would pass on some info and my views on how to anchor your vessel. Often times I receive e-mails asking how to anchor or keep your kayak, or canoe, in one place while wade fishing or shelling.

An anchor is a device normally made of metal that is used to connect a vessel to the bed of a body of water to prevent the vessel from drifting due to wind, and current.

Some of these anchors are permanent, or moorings, others are temporary. There is also something like an anchor and that is a sea anchor. The sea anchor is like a bag or bucket you let drag behind your boat to slow you down in wind and a fast sea.

Probably the most common anchor is the fluke type. The one that has large metal flukes which hooks on the rocks or bury them selves in the soft sandy or muddy bottom. This is the one most recreational boats have also known as the Dan forth, it does a pretty good job of holding on most boats.

Then there is the anchor you see tattooed on many sailors’ arms, like Pop Eye’s, the admiralty pattern also known as the fisherman.

You also have the CQR (Clyde quick release) plow. That’s the one that looks like a plow that a farmer drags behind a team of horses to till his field.

Still there is another anchor used today for large commercial ships called the BRUCE/CLAW. Also used for holding fixed stations such as oil rigs.

Most all the anchors we have talked about so far won’t work too well if you are in a kayak or canoe.

Because of the limited amount of space in the kayak you don’t want to be using any thing that has sharp points or edges on them. So what are your options?

Well the first one and least expensive is a river rock. All you do is tie a piece of rope around it and through it over board and there you will stay. Now if you don’t like a rock, find a cinder block, they work great in shallow water if you don’t forget to tie the other end of the rope to the boat.

All kidding aside, they do work and in a pinch you won’t drift. Keep in mind there are some modern designs that may work a little bit better. Like the mushroom anchor which is used in a seabed made up of silt and fine sand, like the mangroves and sand bars in the back bays of Pine island and Matlacha.

Another kind is based on the Grapnel hook. It folds and unfolds in to a ring that covers the points at the end of the anchor and stores compactly. In addition, it comes in about three different sizes, depending on what size boat you want to use it with. I find that any thing over 3 pounds is over kill in a kayak.

So just when you think you know all about anchors, there comes a new one out. One which I find to work very well for my kayak, that’s the new stick it anchor pins.

I used to use a old ski pole and stick it in my scupper hole (that’s a hole in most sit on top kayaks made to let water out of the boat) on my ocean kayak sit on top and it worked well, when trying to hold me in one place. Except I was like a compass needle when the current or wind got too strong and it would spin around my kayak to the direction the tide was flowing, which may or may not have been the direction, I wanted to fish. Also, the pole would rust out by the end of the season. Now to address the spinning around like a top, I recommend an anchor trolley system. If you are not familiar with one it’s pretty easy to make. All you need is two small pulleys, a rope, and a metal ring. You secure the pulleys on each end of the yak and run the rope through it and tie it to the ring just like a clothes line. If, you don’t know what a clothes line is, then ask you mom or grandma — they will know. Now to make this work all you need to do is get a stick or pole and stick it in the ring, then position the yak were you want it and you are set. Now if you still are having a problem with this set up and can’t get it to work, stop by Florida Paddle Sports in the Cape and ask for Jory He can set you up with what you need, and may even install it for you. Just tell him you want the anchor system Mel the Guide has on his native craft.

I still carry a folding anchor with lots of line for deeper water, but I find that this Srick It Pin Anchor works great for most of the water in the Back Bay and flats. When you look at it you first think this will never work, it’s a 5-foot long pole with a t-bar handle on it. However, let me say this, this is not a piece of old pvc pipe. This is a professional tool. It is made of solid reinforced polyester resin with a t-handle, no metal, and no maintenance. In addition, its warranty is for five years. They come in different lengths and still work if you have to push them under water.

Now I know I should probably stop writing now but I also have a boat. For those who also have a boat listen up, this could save you a ton of money. I have a 19 foot DLX Carolina skiff that I purchased a few years back, at our friends at Mike’s Marina, 193000 south U.S. 41, in Fort Myers Mike, the owner, is a real nice guy and if you are looking for a boat, Carolina skiffs, Sea chaser, Bennington pontoons, Hydra sports, Sea fox and Blue wave, Mike’s the guy to see he will give you a fair deal and treat you right. On the other hand should you just need parts stop by and see Stefanie in the parts department she knows her stock and can set you up with whatever your boat needs are.

I was at one of the boat shows a while back and was looking at all the toys I would like to put on my boat, from new 3d G.P.S. with photo maps over lay view to a thing called a power pole. Now this is living. All you do is push a button with a remote control a stick comes off the rear of the boat and sticks in the sand that is driven by hydraulic pistons. Oh one other thing — it’s only $3,000, by the time you get it installed with the remote.

Now some say I am cheap or frugal as I like to think of myself. However, to me three grand is many kayak and canoe rentals. I guess if you have it, it’s not. So I sit back and say there must be a better way? Well it turns out that there is. All you have to do is go see Steff or Mike and ask for the Stick It Anchor System for your boar. They come in different sizes and can be used on boats up to 24 feet.

I got the 8-foot system in white, and it includes:

— I-8x3/4 inch solid pole with t-bar Handel.

— 2-lanyards (anchor lines) strong 3/8’’ floating dock line with a 6’’ loop at one end for attaching to your vessel, and a 1 and a 1/2 inch loop at the other end for placing your anchor pin through for anchor. They are 24 inches and 84 inches one for the bow and one for the stern.

— 2- mounting clips molded to hold the pole

— 2- stainless steal screws

— 2-Velcro rough water safety straps

In addition, it was all around $100.

I mounted it on the in side wall of the boat, and it works great plus I don’t have all the extra weight for the power pole and battery, but you can mount it just about anywhere as it is only about the size of a good fishing pole. With it mounted where I have it, I just coast up to where I want to fish, shut the motor down and pick up the pole from the holder, grab the line (bow or stern) that is connected to a deck cleat put the pole in the hole at the end of the line and stick it in the sand. Pick up my fishing pole and we are fishing and anchored solid. When we want to move up along the sand bar or mangroves I pull the stick, lay it down on the deck, run the trolling motor and move up a bit and stick it.

You can do this all day and not use much battery juice for a power pole but use it for the trolling motor.

Well, I hope this helps you with your anchoring problems for both kayak and boat, and saves you a little money.

I love my Stick it pins and I know you will to. Please write to me MEL THE GUIDE at gulfcoastkayak@msn,com if we can help you with any kayak problems you are having or if you know some thing that we could share with our readers, tips, new places to paddle, what ever we at GULF COAST KAYAK 941-661-8229 Want to hear from you. Hope to see you on the water, and remember its always a great day in mat-la sha, and THANKS FOR PADDLING WITH MEL THE GUIDE


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