Anchoring For Deep Water Catfish

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by WylieCat, Apr 8, 2006.

  1. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    I got a question for you deep water fishermen.

    When going after fish in old river channels in lakes that are 20-30 feet, and you want to anchor up, how do you approach it?

    It seems that trying to drop an anchor in 20-30 feet of water requires a LOT of anchor rope to do it effectively. Do you anchor in shallow water and cast to the deeper water? If you are doing this, do you use a special rig to keep from snagging on steep channel banks?

    I have trolled and drifted through deep water channels, but never tried to fish them while anchored. My curiosity is up because I have marked a lot of large fish, maybe cats or maybe not, in deeper channels under bait fish schools and would like to give it a try to see if they are Mr. Whiskers.
  2. Kutter

    Kutter New Member

    Arnold, MO
    Yes, it does take a lot of rope. Normal length is 3 times the depth. So, if your fishing in 30 ft of water, 90 ft of line is needed under normal conditions. Heavy current would require more like 4 times depth. I use two anchors in the Mississippi River. The front anchor has 200 ft of 5/8 in braided line. As an anchor, I use the largest Digger, from Cabella's. When I find the area I want to fish, I motor upstream enough to drop the anchor straight down and let the current pull me downstream, letting out line as I go. When I reach the spot I want to stop at, I drift about 20 ft further down, toss out the rear mushroom anchor, and pull the front line till I am back in position. That leaves me anchored tight in the front, with the rear anchor 20 ft downstream to hold me steady in the current.
    I alway carry a fixed blade hunting knife on my side when anchored out. You never know when conditions such as a barge visiting your side of the river, will not allow you the time to pull in the anchors. I also have a boat bumper, inflated well past what it normally has in it, tied to the end of the anchor lines. Several times I have had to untie the line and toss it in a hurry and this way I don't lose the anchor or the line which is about as expensive.

  3. Dreadnaught

    Dreadnaught New Member

    Here, we usually anchor above the hole and cast baits on the shelf of the hole so they come to the bait naturally. I have found that casting the bait directly in the hole is not very productive at times. I keep 150ft of anchor line on the boat and use drift buckets to keep the boat steady in windy conditions.
  4. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Little Rock, AR
    Seems like I remember that in swift current or high wind, you need something like 7 times the depth. Lotsa rope!
  5. FishMan

    FishMan New Member

    Jerry is correct for deep water, I anchor in 30 to 40 feet at times with 200 feet but only in very slow current. I try to anchor in shallow water close to the deeper water. Anchoring can be very dangerous.
  6. Larry

    Larry New Member

    I do it the same way as Kutter does on the Mississippi and MN rivers in Minnesota.
    Question for you guys. I have floats at the end of my anchor ropes, But as Kutter mentioned previously about carrying a blade incase the need to cut loose arises. (Luckly I have never had to cut my ropes), But suppose the need arose in an extreme emergency and you couldnt free the rope and you had to cut loose. Afterwards you look down and realize and see the anchor rope and float in your boat with the other half of the rope attached to the anchor on the bottom of the river. There has to be a way that you can have a float on rope. I'm drawing a blank on how you would rig something that would slide up your anchor ropes as your setting them or are you tying floats on to the rope?? are are we SOL (lost anchor) if we have to cut loose?
  7. davesoutfishing

    davesoutfishing New Member

    Menominee Michigan
    Selecting Anchors and Rodes

    Boaters tend to be opinionated about anchors, but you should regard such opinions-whether praise or scorn-with a healthy dose of skepticism. The inconvenient truth is that no single anchor is the best in all conditions.

    Anchor types
    What anchor should you carry? That depends almost entirely on what type of bottom you most often expect to plant that anchor in. Just because an anchor is normally good in a particular bottom is not a guarantee. Sand that is too hard, mud that is too soft, weed that is too thick, or rock that is too smooth can frustrate any anchor.

    Large mushroom anchors are used for moorings, and small, plastic-coated mushrooms-sometimes modified to have flukes-make convenient and foul-free day anchors for the soft ooze of river bottoms. Otherwise, however, neither grapnel nor mushroom anchors provide adequate holding power (relative to their weight) to function as a working anchor on anything but a small skiff or canoe in smooth waters.

    Stowability can also influence your anchor-selection. The lightweight anchor stows flat, which (along with light weight) accounts for its overwhelming popularity for small craft. The plow and the scoop types are both awkward to stow on deck. These two are more often stowed on special bow fittings that carry the flukes outboard. Such fittings also make these anchors easy to deploy and retrieve. The yachtsman anchor is the most awkward of all to stow unless it folds or dismantles, but when it is stowed dismantled, it is also the least convenient to deploy.

    Anchor size
    Once you have decided on type, what size do you need? Anchor manufacturers provide convenient size recommendations based on boat length. Unfortunately, anchor loads are far more dependent on weight and windage, so use manufacturer's recommendations as a starting point only. If your boat is heavier than other boats of the same length, or if it has a higher above-the-water profile, you need a larger anchor than the chart recommends. Likewise, if your boating area could be called windy and/or your anchorages are relatively exposed, get a bigger anchor. Be aware that holding power claims are based on ideal anchoring conditions. In ooze or grass or gravel, holding power will be less-often much less. When it comes to holding, there is only one absolute-the larger the anchor of a given type, the more holding power it will deliver. An anchor one or two sizes larger than the chart recommends helps to compensate for real-world bottom conditions. No anchor ever dragged because it was too big.

    You can attach the boat to the anchor with rope, chain, or a combination of the two. Rope is the overwhelming favorite, usually with a length of chain at the anchor end. Use nylon rope only. Nylon rope is strong, light, easy to handle, and elastic, the latter a most desirable characteristic in an anchor rode. Three-strand offers the dual advantages of greater elasticity and lower cost, but where the anchor line will be fed through a deck pipe for stowage, the added flexibility of braided nylon can make it a better choice.

    Determining how long your anchor rode should be is as simple as multiplying the deepest water you expect to anchor in by 8. As for rope size, the rule of thumb is 1/8" of rope diameter for every 9' of boat length. So if you expect to anchor your 26' boat in 30' of water, you need 240' of 3/8" nylon rope. Unlike oversizing the anchor, oversizing the line is not recommended because that reduces its beneficial elasticity. As a practical matter, however, rope with a diameter smaller than 3/8" is difficult to grip.

    In an emergency the line can be tied to the chain or the anchor using an anchor bend, but for regular use give the end of the line an eye splice around a thimble, and shackle the line to the chain.

    An all-chain rode has the advantage of being impervious to abrasion, making it the choice where sharp corals are a risk. But chain is heavy to lift and heavy to carry. Pleasure boats not headed for the South Seas will find a chain lead inserted between anchor and rope rode sufficient to take most of the abrasion. If the chain is long enough, its weight also helps the anchor to set more quickly and securely. How long is long enough? I like to see at least 20' of chain between anchor and line. I have 30' of chain on my anchors.

    Of the four types of chain commonly available-proof coil, BBB, high-test, and stainless steel-proof coil is the least expensive and always the default choice unless you have a specific reason to select one of the others. The shorter links of BBB make it slightly heavier but no stronger. Choose it only if you have an anchor windlass configured for BBB chain. High-test chain is half again as strong as proof coil and BBB. Because that typically allows you to use a size smaller, high-test chain reduces the weight of the ground tackle-a benefit for performance boats. Stainless steel chain is very expensive, but its corrosion resistance assures a long life.

    Proof coil is available with a vinyl coating that serves to protect the deck from marring. But because chain with a vinyl coating will no longer stack into a compact pile, it is only suitable for short leads.

    Chain leads should be half the diameter of the line they attach to-for example, use 1/4-inch chain with 1/2-inch line. Shackles should be a size larger than the chain, and be sure you wire the pin to keep it from coming unscrewed.

    Scope is the ratio of the length of deployed anchor rode to the height of the bow chock above the seabed. The greater the scope the more horizontal the pull on the anchor, and the better it will hold. Pegging 10:1 as the maximum practical scope, the table shows the average relative holding power associated with shorter scope.

    Scope Holding Power
    10:1 100%
    7:1 91%
    6:1 85%
    5:1 77%
    4:1 67%
    3:1 53%
    2:1 35%

    To determine how much rode to let out to get a 7:1 scope, you measure the depth of the water, add the boat's freeboard at the bow, and multiply that sum by 7. But knowing the needed length won't help you a bit unless you can determine when you have let out that much rode, so the very first thing to do with your new anchor line is to mark it. You can do this with a marking pen, but short yarns or tapes inserted through the strands is more durable and can be identified in the dark by feel. Five-fathom (30') increments are adequate and compatible with depth measurements in feet, fathoms, or meters.

    Abrasion is your anchor line's worst enemy. Chafe protection should be an integral component of your anchor rode. My rodes run through a length of reinforced hose that is always ready to slide into place, but you may find some other means-commercial split-hose protector, for example-more convenient. Even with chafe protection, make sure chocks are smooth and without sharp edges. One thin I will add always carry a sharp knife