Canoe and Anchor question

I’ve spent the better part of the afternoon searching the net for a definitive answer to anchoring a canoe. No luck as far as definitive. Tons of info on kayaks however.

I fish frequently at a nearby lake that can get a bit breezy and and would like to fish a few spots with no shelter from the wind.

I have a tandem OldTown that I use solo as well. Help with the following questions will help greatly:

  1. will a 3# claw or bell be sufficient? how much weight for a non-claw type anchor?

  2. one kayak rig shown on several sites shows the claw anchor being attached via the claw end and ziptied at the “rope” end. Too much force (quick release) or stuck …1 good yank breaks tie, flips anchor, no swamped yak and retrieval a snap. I can see the point with sea or river yaking but is it neccessary with a canoe on a breezy (no white caps)lake. Is it neccessary to rig a claw this way?

  3. is a chain between anchor and rope necessary?

  4. quick release neccessary?

    Thanks for any input

If you are using it in bays, a claw
might work ok, but I’d go with at least 5-8 lbs because of windage. The canoe catches more wind than a kayak, especially a tandem. But, for fresh, I’d tend to stay away from claws, the do tend to get hung up on branches, rocks, logs, etc. A mushroom anchor will do ok, that’s what bass fishermen use mostly. The least weight I’ve seen in one of the mushrooms is 8 lbs. You can also find plastic bottle type anchors, bell shaped, that you fill with sand or dirt, then empty when through. I’ve used those rubber coated dumbells mostly in 3 lb size, bu t you can get them with more weight, or get one tha’s just iron. Sometimes, I’ll carry a 2.5 lb or 5 lb barbel weight for extra anchorage. Or, I use it as a solo anchor. Nice thing about those kind of weights, they store flat. DO NOT use a barbel weight with the anchor rope centered in the hole of the weight. I loop mine so that it drops on edge, not flat side down. Flat side down raised and lowered from the center can create a suction of muddy and silted bottoms, making it difficult to retrieved the anchor.

Anchors are not a good idea in moderate or faster waters, like on a river. You don’t need a chain between the anchor rope and canoe for the most part, though there may be applications where its handy.

My limited advice
I have only one piece of advice. Run the anchor line from the front to where you sit - whether that’s the center or the stern or whatever. Use padeyes or something similar with lots of space for the line to run through. Keep a knife handy. If you drop the anchor and can’t get it up quickly enough to prevent water from coming over the bow or capsizing you, cut the line! Be sure that the padeyes are large enough that the line will run through freely without snagging.

Then, assuming you can swim, give it a try.

  • Big D

A quick release is handy, but it only
needs to be a good size caribiner, not too big, but big enough to handle with ease. Consider putting a piece of pool noodle or other float on the end of the rope, that way, if you have to let go the rope, it’ll float away. Actually, on lakes, unless its whitecapping, and you don’t need to be out then, you want have much need of anything but a rope and anchor or some sort, but I wouldn’t go with a claw, and if you do, look for a Bruce type (West Marine), they seem to work best. I fish lakes that get windy and my current anchor is about 5 lbs of lead poured into a can for a mold with an eye bolt in the center. It works, came with the kayak when I bought it used.

One key is to use plenty of anchor line.
The general rule of thumb I’ve seen is seven times as much line as the depth of the water (70 feet of line for 10 foot water depth, for example). The closer the line is to vertical, the easier it is for the anchor to drag. My Kmart 3 lb dumbbell hasn’t dragged yet with 100 feet of line, but then I haven’t been out in any gales, either.

Usually, I just double the length of
line according to depth if there is much wind blowing, otherwise, just anchor at appoxiamate depth with only slightly more line out. 70 ft of line for 10 foot depth is an awful lot of line to carry for a small craft like a canoe or kayak. Most people I know carry about 25 ft, no more than 50.

Try a boat bridle?

– Last Updated: Jul-18-06 12:43 PM EST –

I’ve been pondering if and how I could anchor my kayak in a big swift river, to try a fishing technique impossible for me any other way. Prior to this, I’ve considered anchoring a kayak in such swift water too dangerous, though I have clipped to pilings or stick ups from sunken logs on slow sections of the river. Here is my thinking, still not sure if I will do it.

When towing a boat, especially something like a canoe, it will only pull straight if you rig a bridle on the towed boat. When anchoring from the end, swift water will pull the end of a kayak under. But if I were to rig a bridle, with two tie points just behind the cockpit for example, water force should keep the end of the yak on the surface, actually making it plane upward. It would also hold the yak straight in the current, stern upstream in this case.

This water is too swift to ever paddle back and retrieve the anchor so I’m thinking of using a big rock of 25 lbs or so and tying natural fiber biodegradable light rope around it. I would leave the anchor behind. To that rope around the rock I’d add a rust away iron ring. Instead of a normal boat bridle, I would run a double line from the yak to the anchor ring and back. Each end of my anchor line would tie with a quick release slip knot to opposite sides of the rear deck bungees just behind the cockpit.

When I hook a big fish and need to follow him, one pull on either side of the anchor line would release the boat. The anchor line, (clean ends with no knots etc.) would slide through the anchor ring as my yak drifts downstream, pulling through and then trailing behind the yak.

I’d use natural fiber bio degradable anchor line in case I needed to leave it also. If it snags in the ring or on the anchor, the yak will be pulled sideways in the current, and will require quick action to stay afloat. Bad situation. A quick pull on the other tie would release the yak from the anchor rope and leave it behind also. I have a Wenoka serrated dive knife I sharpened to razor edge in one hand release position, upside down on the left breast of my PFD, for just such cutting needs if the quick release failed for some reason.

You know, as I look at this, it is too dicey. But the bridle concept for an anchor line might be useful in other situations with less current or wind.

With a canoe, a more typical bridle would have a line tied to both sides of the boat well behind the bow, or ahead of the stern. The bridle line is long enough to extend well beyond and around the nearest end of the boat. The anchor line is then attached to the center of the bridle line, halfway between the tie points on the boat, and can be fixed or sliding.

The main purpose of a bridle is to pull the boat straight when towed instead of constant swings one way and then the other. In an anchor use, it also reduces the tendancy to pull the anchored end under.

Another vote…
…for the 3 pound dumbell weight and a lot of line. Cheap enough to cut off if I get it stuck in the rip rap (which has never happened yet, knock on wood), doesn’t drag unless the wind is so obscene that I can’t fish, anyway.

A better option for a kayak is the
anchor trolley system. Basically, you run a loop line from the bow to stern. I’ve attached the line (1/8" diameter) to a ring and clip my anchor rope to it with a caribiner. The looped line runs between two padeyes, you may need a third or more in the middle depending on the length of your vessel, but run only one part of the loop through the middle ones. This allows me to position my anchor at bow, stern or mid point. If you are going to double anchor, install a trolley on each side. Some use small pulleys to run the line through to make it easier to change positions. However, if I were i fishing swifter waters, my choice, if I were going to try to anchor, would be a length of chain, used primarily to slow my drift.

No claw needed
Wally World sells a five-pound bar bell weight for three bucks and fifty feet of cloths line for four bucks. I just cinch it to my seat with a slip knot, never had a problem.

Dumbell vote
I too use a 3 lb rubber coated dumbell. I attach it to the canoe with a cheapo carabiner for quick release, but also keep a knife handy in case I have to cut the rope. These things are cheap enough that losing one every once in a while won’t break the bank so you won’t be tempted to do something foolish to retrieve it…unlike fishing lures.

1) will a 3# claw or bell be sufficient? how much weight for a non-claw type anchor?

The Lewmar Bruce Claw anchor sold by West Marine weighs a mere 2.2 lbs and will hold much better than a dumbell especially on hard bottoms. They cost a mere $8.

2) one kayak rig shown on several sites shows the claw anchor being attached via the claw end and ziptied at the “rope” end. Too much force (quick release) or stuck …1 good yank breaks tie, flips anchor, no swamped yak and retrieval a snap. I can see the point with sea or river yaking but is it neccessary with a canoe on a breezy (no white caps)lake. Is it neccessary to rig a claw this way?

Necessary? Probably not but it’s simple enought to do and means you’re less likely to ever lose it.

3) is a chain between anchor and rope necessary?

Again, nor "necessary but it helps and it’s simple. 1’ of chain added to the claw anchor can reduce the amount of road you need to put out. Less line out = less hassle.

4) quick release neccessary?

IMHO, yes. Ya never know when you’re gonna wanna be gone… now! You might want to take a sleigh-ride behind a big honkin fish or you might run across some wierd safety situation. An eyelet mounted where it can be reached easily allows you tie a Highwayman’s knot. That’s a VERY inexpensive route and works great.

<br />
All that being said... A buddy of mine has been flyfishing the marshes of south Loozyanna for over a decade in a wood strip canoe he built himself.  His CALM WATER anchoring method goes kinda like this...<br />
<br />
I think he uses two 3# dumbells (3-4# sandbags work well too), one fore and one aft. I've also seen people use two 1.5 # dumbells tied together so they are more irregular and less prone to dragging.<br />
Each "anchor" is tied to a line that runs through a small eyebolt - one on the bow and one on the stern.  <br />
He secures each line with it's own clam cleat.  The clam cleats are mounted near the seat where he can reach them easily.<br />
<br />
By having one fore and aft he can position himself pointing any-which-a-way and set up for those perfect casts. <br />
<br />
The 7-10 rode rule isn't needed for most yak or canoe fishing.  I know a guy who used to fish the Columbia River in a yak and he used about a 5x rode.  In calm waters a 2-3x rode is plenty.  Our smaller, lighter craft don't need nearly as much rode as a motorboat.  A canoe will need a little more than a kayak mostly because of the additional wind resistance.<br />
<br />
Dat's my opinions.

You can use a lot of things, but the Bruce style of plow works great, in all bottom conditions, and it also can be used to hold it on shore, for a fast stop-over.

I have some experience with anchors…
mostly yatches, barges, and rafts, less experience with anchoring my yak. (that was a disclaimer)

The chain is important, but you don’t need a ton of it.

Some chain will keep the anchor on its side, so it holds better, and when yanked from above as the craft rides over a swell or wake the chain will keep the upforce from being directly applied to the anchor.

I use a 5lb folding anchor, rigged with a zip tie for easy recovery, 5’ of light chain, and I carry two 100’ lines, since some of my local paddles are in deeper lakes.

For fishings sake, I would give up my rod before my anchor, in my experience, boat control when yak fishing is far harder than the actual fishing, I hope drift sock I got may be another tool in that arsenal.

Good luck.

Going out…
I run 50 feet of rope and drop a 10 pound claw for my 16 foot canoe. Works well whether in a lake, river, or inland lakes.