Anchoring in deep water is a very effective way of positioning your boat over a bottom structure that holds fish.
However, if you are anchoring in more than 100 feet of water you may have to make a few modifications in your regular anchoring gear.
Most folks have a regular fluke-type anchor, several feet of chain and enough rode to play out for inshore waters. The Coast Guard recommends a ratio of 7:1 when anchoring to give close to 100 percent holding power. This is good advice when anchoring in for the night and you want to be sure your anchor will hold when you are sleeping.¬
This ratio would mean that if we were anchoring in 200 feet of water we would need 1,400 feet of line. In a small 23-foot boat like mine, I would have to bring along a row boat just to hold the line. For fishing you can cheat a lot and shorten the scope.¬
Shortening the scope does mean that you are reducing the effectiveness of the anchor. The direct pull on the shank of the anchor now shifts a bit upward, lifting the flukes rather then driving them deeper.¬
One way to help eliminate that problem is to add more and heavier chain. By attaching another 15 feet of chain, you will gain a lot of weight that will keep the end of the rode down on the bottom. This will result in a pull on the shank of the anchor that will keep it driving the flukes into the bottom. In most cases my boat holds well with a 2:1 ratio rather than the recommended 7:1.
Adding more chain does mean that you will want to drop the anchor more slowly. This will prevent the chain from getting wrapped around the lighter rode. If by chance you do pull loose from your spot you can simply reset. Also, make it easy on your hands by getting a larger line. Although 3/8-inch line is heavy enough for most boats, it is easier on my hands if I use 1/2-inch.
Carrying and storing 500 feet of line can be done quite simply if you follow a few suggestions. My basic anchor line is 50 feet long. That is usually more than enough for my inshore fishing. To the end of that line I have attached an alpine clip.
When I am anchored I attach a small tuna ball to the alpine clip so that if I hook a big fish I can simply uncleat the anchor and throw it overboard, picking it back up after I have landed my fish.¬
When fishing in deep water, I have two, 200-foot coils of line in baskets under my seat. Each end of these sections has an attached alpine clip. As the anchor line is played out I simply add more line by attaching a clipped section. Again, to the end of the last section I attach a small tuna ball for quick release.¬
Setting the anchor in deep water can be a bit of a pain, especially when the structure is small; a wreck, for example. You have to judge the current and wind direction and set accordingly. Try to visualize where the structure is located using your chart plotting receiver. When you are right over it, ease into the wind or current and go upstream.
Let's say the rock pile is 200 feet down, go at least 450 feet past the point and stop the boat.¬ Drop the anchor straight down and then let the breeze blow you back over your target, playing out the line as you go. Once the anchor catches on the bottom, you can ease yourself back that last 50 feet until you are right over the targeted area. If you miss the spot, pull the anchor and start over. It is better to expend the effort to get it right than to waste your time fishing in dead water.
Pulling 500-feet of anchor line when you are done can be a pain. There is a simple setup you can buy that eliminates most of the work. It consists of a stainless steel ring, a clip, a short rope and a small tuna ball. Believe me when I tell you, it is one of those small investments that pays big dividends.¬
When you are ready to weigh anchor, ease your boat toward the spot where the anchor is holding on the bottom and pull up the slack. When you are there, simply clip the steel hoop around the anchor rode at the boat. The tuna ball is then clipped to the hoop and it is thrown into the water. Attach the line to a stern cleat.
Quarter on by the anchor spot at a slow speed, breaking the anchor off the bottom. Now drive away at a moderate speed, keeping the line away from the prop. The ball will dig down into the water, the line will slide through the hoop and the anchor will come to the surface.
The shank will pull through the hoop and the whole rig will float on the surface. Once it does, simply move toward the ball, storing your anchor line in the crates as you go. It beats hand lining the anchor and chain up some 300 feet.
Right now the haddock and cod fishing is excellent. Study your charts, find the structures, anchor over them and get ready for the main ingredient for some excellent fish chowder.