Choosing the Right Anchor for Your Boat While Reef Fishing: Why a Grapnel is Best and How to Use It.
A balanced environment.
Safety under the overhangs.
Just passing through.
Choose the best size Grapnel.
Know the terrain you fish in.
Choosing the Right Anchor For Reef Fishing: What is Best and How to Use It; by Pearldiver; explains the importance of the humble anchor and how that importance is often overlooked by so many recreational anglers. Most boaties have had days when hauling the ’pick’ back in again, has not been as easy as it should have been; because they have somehow snagged the anchor.
Occasionally, the anchor works too well. At those times when your anchor becomes snagged; it is generally because you have used the wrong style of anchor for the terrain that you are fishing in. If you are fishing over offshore reefs or similar types of terrain; then make sure that the anchor that you use, will not get stuck or destroy the fragile balance that exists in such spots.
It also really does pay to familiarize yourself with the various designs of anchors and recommended weights for the size of your boat; measured off against the most common fishing terrains that you frequent. Often just reading the relevant marine charts will provide you with the ability to safely match up the right anchor for your chosen fishing spots.
If you are considering the benefits of reef fishing, you will need to anchor while fishing. If you need to anchor then it would pay to look at the primary reason why you are going to need to have an anchor on board your boat in the first place.
That reason is likely to be that you want to allow the boat to be held fast in a stationary position against running seas, or a current which could potentially place your boat in a dangerous situation; for example onto the rocks, or into the path of another vessel.
Many recreational boats carry either the Danforth, plough or the Hall design anchors; which tend to serve them well in a multitude of terrains, especially on mud or sand bottoms. All three work on a similar principle, in that they have moving ‘teeth’ panels which will ‘bite’ into the bottom, when the anchor is pulling under tension against the boat weight.
These designs are perfect for open water or channel fishing as they handle the majority of bottom composites that you are likely to encounter if you are not reef fishing. However, if you are planning on reef fishing and your boat is rigged with either of these types of anchor; then it would be a smart move to ensure that you also carry a spare anchor; of the Grapnel design.
One of the many reef benefits.
The very handy Grapnel anchor.
Reef Fishing at its Best.
Some of the most enjoyable fishing along with some of the better fish that you are likely to catch; can come about as a result of the skillful use of your boat and anchor working in tandem; to put you above or in front of reef-hugging trophy fish. Top fishing results will generally always be achieved from burleying into an offshore reef or extensive areas of foul ground; you are going to improve your fishing this way.
But if you fish areas like this with an anchor best suited to mud or sand; then you can expect to loose a certain amount of gear, as a toll for the opportunity. However, you will also generally be damaging the reef structure unnecessarily.
With the single-most important factor with reef fishing being the holding ability of your anchor; clearly you need an anchor to work well; but not get lost or destroy the reef. The grapnel anchor will hold your boat in surges or a backwash current; but to ensure ease of recovery and minimum reef damage; a minor adjustment needs to be made to the grapnel to make it the ultimate tool. When it is rigged 'back to front' it becomes and can be used as a ‘breakaway’ anchor.
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All reefs are communities.
The 'breakaway' grapnel anchor.
Many species of younger fish mingle and feed together before reaching maturity.
Respect the reef by not using anchors that are likely to destroy the structure.
For fishing over reef or foul ground terrain; the best type of anchor is the Grapnel design. Instead of having moving parts, it is really just a pronged anchor. The perfect grapnel anchor for reef or foul ground fishing; is a unit that has two attachment points built into the design. This grapnel will have a conventional ‘eye’ built into the end of the shaft, but also have a secondary ‘eye’ built into the centre of the prongs. If you can not purchase a unit like this then it is relatively easy to weld the second ‘eye’ onto an existing unit.
A ‘breakaway’ anchor is made by using the grapnel this way: Attach the anchor chain to the front ‘eye’ not the ‘eye’ at the end of the shaft as you would generally expect to do. “Hang On, That can't be right?” you may be saying to yourself, because I have just suggested that you attach your anchor back the front. Good that is exactly what you need to do.
Once you have secured the shackle to the front eye; bring a length of chain back along the length of the shaft. Count off two chain links above the shaft end eye and mark that link. Now using a 25 to 35lb breaking strain mono, tie one end of that mono to the chain link that you have marked. Take the other end and pass this end through the eye on the shaft end of your grapnel. Tie this off so that there is approximately two - three inches of gap between the two tied ends.
Now have a look at your anchor. What you are seeing are the prongs in the right place, but this anchor is really only held together by that mono. That is the Breakaway. This anchor will hold your boat efficiently in most seas and when retrieving the anchor; you only have to break the mono tie with a sharp tug on the warp line. This in turn now reverses the pulling point to the front of the prongs and ensures absolutely no snagging on the reef.
This is a safe, fast retrieval method of anchoring, which is very important and recommended if or when you are fishing within a ground swell or in rougher conditions, near any rocky outcrops. But more importantly, by rigging your gear this way, you are going to protect the reef structure and the balance of life surrounding a special fishing spot. Spread the word to others and maybe, that place will remain in pristine condition and always help in supporting the thousands of creatures that call the offshore reef: Home.
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