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May 19, 2009

Tips for deep water anchoring

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.

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