Time to re-learn art of anchoring

Anchoring is a perfect example. Before the days of fancy boats with shiny metal flake finishes, snarling outboard engines, and quiet electric trolling motors, most Sunset Country anglers were skilled at the art of laying out an anchor.
Today, most of us don’t even carry one in our boats. If we do, it is usually for safety purposes only.
Contrast that with some of the most skilled anglers I know. People like big bass specialist Dick Bengraff. Better known in fishing circles as “Mr. Jig,” Bengraff is anchoring’s poster boy—and probably has caught more four-pound-plus smallmouth bass than anybody living in North America today.
I don’t need to tell you how many he’s hooked from a meticulously-anchored position.
On the other hand, Ted Takasaki, winner of the 1998 Professional Walleye Trail world championship, lays a lickin’ on walleye like “Mr. Jig” does on bass.
Not surprisingly, he is one of the smartest (and nicest) anglers you’ll ever meet.
For many years, Takasaki soared in the high-tech corporate world of mainframe computer sales before becoming president of the Lindy Little Joe Tackle Company. He’s also a river rat who delights in carefully anchoring his boat so he can fish an area properly.
Indeed, when you ask anglers like Bengraff and Takasaki why they drop anchor so often, they’ll tell you it is because no other technique offers the same benefits.
Anchored in a river, Takasaki can pick apart the current seams and breaks that gather walleye. Similarly, when he finds the fish tucked up tightly along the edge of a steeply-sided main lake structure, he believes few other boat positioning options let him catch walleye as efficiently or effectively.
Especially when the wind is howling, and the fish want a light Fuzz-E-Grub and livebait presentation.
Ditto for “Mr. Jig.” In fact, Bengraff will go so far as to point out that when fishing conditions are at their absolute worst, an anchored boat often is the best place from which to catch bass.
Especially, when the bottom is littered with rocks, logs, and other snags that eat your lure every time you drop it over the side of the boat. And when the fish are spooky, cruising knee-deep shallows in crystal clear water.
Ironically, most anglers think they’ve become too sophisticated, too experienced, and too smart to use an anchor. They had better think again.
They’ve never learned the tricks of the trade, or the profound details that Takasaki and Bengraff have. Watch them set out an anchor once, and you’ll see it’s as much of an art as it is a science.
Using 1/4 to 3/8-inch nylon rope (the thinner material better absorbs shock and stretches up to 25 percent of its length when tensed by a wave), anchoring aficionados like Bengraff and Takasaki motor well upwind of the precise spot they intend to fish.
They bring the boat to a complete halt before quietly sliding the anchor over the side of the boat and into the water. Then they spill out gobs and gobs of rope. Often in excess of 6:1.
In other words, if the water is 25 feet deep, they’ll routinely let out 150 feet or more of anchor line.
Both pros also splice a three to four-foot long 3/8-inch chain between the anchor and the rope—to act like a bungee cord absorbing shock, protecting the line from being nicked by sharp objects and keeping the anchor secured to the bottom.
Bengraff often ties the bitter end (the named bestowed long ago by ancient mariners to the end of the anchor rope) to the stern of his boat. That way, he can fish unencumbered from the front and yet still carefully swing the boat in an arc using his bow-mounted electric trolling motor.
Locked into position this way with super long anchor ropes, Bengraff and Takasaki often will pull in and let out line several times without disturbing the anchor in order to pick apart a fishy location.
Indeed, while most anglers rarely use one anchor when they fish, Bengraff and Takasaki routinely use two. It is called double anchoring—and it spells double trouble for the fish.
Bengraff is so particular about his final position when he double anchors that he often spends 30 minutes or more adjusting the lines before making his first cast.
He starts by dropping a buoy where he wants the boat to be finally located. Then he motors upwind and well off to one side. He slides an anchor into the water and feeds out line—far more, in fact, than he’ll actually use.
There is method to his madness. Far to the opposite side, he lowers the second anchor. Now, he allows the wind to drift himself into position (as noted by his marker), pulling in and letting out line.
When he has carefully manoeuvered himself into place, he snugs up and ties off both lines—satisfied in the knowledge that he is permanently, and perfectly, positioned to catch fish.
All thanks to an oft-forgotten skill called anchoring.

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