anchoring in current

-- Last Updated: Jul-05-05 7:11 AM EST --

Is it safe to anchor in current as long as you anchor off the bow or stern? I was fishing a river the other day with about a 3 mph current and wanted to fish a run using the drop back method like you would in a drift boat. The problem is, what do you do if you hook a fish? Droping an anchor off the stern to fight the fish is what i'd like to do, but i also want to stay out of trouble. Jeri: Thanks for your concern about anchoring off the stern. You definately do NOT want to anchor a powerboat off the stern. Not even in a lake. Another powerboat comes along and throws a wake and it WILL swamp you. And i know better to anchor a canoe or kayak off the beam.



– Last Updated: Jul-04-05 1:25 PM EST –

What kind of boat are you fishing from? I've rigged a bow mounted anchor system on my canoe that allows me to anchor in current without a problem. With a canoe, It seems that the anchor must be perfectly centered off of the bow or stern in order to avoid problems with the current. To insure anchoring safely in current, I always try anchoring techniques first in shallow water with an empty canoe so none of my gear ends up on the river bottom. When it comes time to go to deeper water loaded down with gear, I always have a very sharp sportsman's knife ready to cut the anchor line if necessary.

Was thinking of mounting an anchor system directly off the stern. I was also thinking i could keep the drag loose on my reel and when i hook a fish back paddle to the shore or out of the current before i grabbed the rod.

anchor in fast water
I use a old window wight on a line ( or a big pice of chain ) so if I get any thing big or have to pull up fast it will slide and go with you . It is stong enough to hold when down flat and easey to pull up …

The Coast Guard advises against stern
anchoring. That may be just for power boats, I don’t know. Anchoring both stern and bow seems a good idea if you plan on fishing a site for a while, but a bow anchor from a kayak is more practical then the stern. You can see the anchor line more easily. Important when actually catching a fish .

We don’t have that many fast currents here in Texas, but I seem to remember some of the guys on TexasKayakFishing use a length of heavy chain as an anchor when fishing rivers. It allows for a slower drift.

What you describes sounds okay to me
I’d expect you to do okay in that situation and be safe. To make it easier, I’d suggest you do a search or ask another question about anchoring rigs. Some kayakers here have special rigs that let them handle their anchor lines quite conveniently from the cockpit, including a sliding-rope rig that lets them move the anchor-line attachment point to any location along the whole length of the boat. Sure looks like the cat’s meow to me. I bet someone would be glad to tell you about their rigs if you ask.

First I’ll say every that almost every disaster in a kayak or canoe I’ve heard off involved anchoring in wind or current. Usually the anchor was attached at midpoint in the canoe or kayak and the current then caused the gunwales to dip and the boat took on water and the rest was history.

However, I have used an anchor in current by insuring it was either stern or aft. I also attach a float and a quick release carabiner so that if I manage to catch a fish that wants to pull me I can disengage the anchor quickly then return to retrieve it later. I would also recommend a sharp sheath knife to cut the line quickly in the event the carabiner fails to release.

I rarely anchor in current anymore as the prospect of losing a few hundred dollars to catch a fish just isn’t worth it to me. A better method is to beach either above or below the area you wish to fish and wade or shore cast.

Thanks for the replies
First off, i wouldn’t anchor if i could beach and fish the area from shore effectively. I don’t know how many of you have any experience with drift boats, but they what i’m talking about doing is similar. Position your boat above the hole/run you want to fish and in the case of drift boats, row against the current to keep you in place. The person/persons in the bow let out a diving lure into the hole and let it work while the stick-man lets the boat slide forward and side to side slowly to work the bait all the way through the whole. The problem with the yak is that i’m the stick-man and the fisherman all in one. So anchoring above the whole makes more sense because you are hands free to work the lure/bait. I know i can hold my yak in position with my paddle, because i’ve done it and could let out a plug and put the rod in the rod holder and work it down through the whole, but the problem would come when the fish hits. I need to get this worked out before the salmon hit the river in late august. I’m thinking that if i can hold my kayak in position with a paddle in the current then an anchor should be safe. But i agree that i should have a knife ready in case i need to cut the line. As far as attaching a float goes, i can’t quite figure out how to attach one since each time i drop the anchor it will most likey be different lengths of line depending on depth of water.

The float I use is the plastic buoy type with a hole through the middle. They usually come in red or yellow. I let it slide on the line, so the depth of rope I put out doesn’t effect it. When I need to let it go the float will kick in regardless of the amount of line I have out.

Another type I’ve used is a brush anchor, just a big clamp you use on bushes and tree limbs, etc. But, from what you are describing I don’t think it would work.

I have a clamp for brush
I also have an anchor trolley system rigged up. What i’m thinking is to run the anchor rope through the “O” ring on the anchor trolly and run the line to the stern and tieing it off to the cleat i have mounted, but keep the anchor in the yak until i need to drop it over the side. I’m going to give a try on my next river trip but start out in the shallows just in case.

Anchoring safely
Anchoring a Kayak or Canoe in current is always a dicey proposition. If you have alternative…don’t. Too many things can go wrong. Although I DO have a 3 lb dumbbell anchoring system rigged up on my Loon, I rarely use it if I have a rock or log or even the river bank to ground out on. A mid river eddy behind an exposed rock or log works great as well. 3 mph current, although it doesn’t sound like much, can be quiet strong and given that an average paddler can make 4 mph with not much effort, You have to ask yourself, do I want to hold a yak or ‘noe in water moving almost as fast as I can paddle?

I spend most of my time on the Shenandoah. The river flows over Limestone karst ledges and cobble bottom. My rule of thumb is: If my 3 lb dumbbell won’t hold me in place…I have NO business putting it down in that particular spot. And even then, I want to ‘know’ what’s on the bottom before I put it down. Sharp angled ledges, submerged wood and what not can easily snag an anchor, and stained, muddy or murky water makes that difficult to determine. Pulling too hard on it trying to free it can cause the bow to nose underwater and if you have strong current, the yak will plane to the bottom in a hurry…with you in it.

Granted the Doah only averages about 18-36 inches deep, but there are deeper holes in places and you can easily drift over one very quickly.

Make sure you can ditch the anchor quickly if nessesary and keep that rescue knife handy in all cases. Anchor ONLY from the bow in moving water, period. Stay away from “pronged” anchors in a river. That three pound dumbell and the SS clip it’s attached to cost me all of about 5 bucks tops. My life is worth way more than that to me. If I ever get in trouble with it…it’s GONE Baby!

“controlled” drift
Something I have practiced when fishing for smallmouth in my beloved rocky rivers in NE Ia. Take a stout gallon jug (don’t use milk jug…plastic is too flimsy) and fill it w/ sand. I tie to the thwart in front of me and vary the length of rope for a controlled drift. Use a knot that you can quickly pull loose (sorry don’t know the name of the knot) and this will allow a somewhat quartered float through your fishing hole. I have never had to release the drag rope but the option is there. Have not had fish tangle and from my expereince does not seem to spook the spot.


Seems as though the initial stability might suffer some skamaniac. If you have the choice, try to find a good buy on a spey-style flyrod, they can throw a ton of line…


Drift sock
Try a drift sock it is safer than an anchor. Looks like a small parachute . FishHawk

I’ve gone even lighter.
Last month I retired the 8lb. mushroom anchor with a real anchor line. I picked up a cheap 2 lb. weight at Target and have it attached to a reel of mason’s line from Home Depot. I used it Monday fishing from my Pungo retrieving a bucktail across eddys just below a small ledge on Main Stem of the 'Doah. I know I can cut that light line in an instant if needed (and be out less than 5 dollars).

drift sock
Isn’t a drift sock in a river’s current a really bad idea?


– Last Updated: Jul-16-05 10:22 PM EST –

all the ides are great but I have used the chain or window wight for a long time in fast and slow water .. In fast you let out more line and will not get hung up and slower water pike it up some and all is great ..It well slide along if you need it to and not dip your kayak or any boat.. try it > it is chep and not out much if you have to cut it . I have not ever had to cut it .Safe yaking

Stern Mount
I used an anchor in 8mph current before. It worked but was a hassle. I needed two lines so that I could easily pull it off the bottom when stuck between rocks.