Santee Cooper Cats - Catfish USA
What you need to know about anchoring your Pontoon.
Even if you've never drifted into the path of a barge or to the brink of a
dam while taking an afternoon nap aboard your boat, You know the
importance of a good anchor hold.  An anchor was intended to keep
your boat firmly in place and not let you down.  Large and high profile
watercraft like deck and pontoon boats catch the wind like a sail on
Christopher Columbus' Mayflower. For this reason, it even more
important for owners of these types of boats to know the basics of
anchoring.
Anchor types
When you buy an anchor you're really buying the holding power.  
Weight is secondary and does not mean that an anchor will hold better
just because it's heavier. The anchor you choose should be determined
by the type of lake bottom you will be attempting to get a "hook" on with
your anchor, chain, & line.
The most poplar anchor for pontoon, deck, & other pleasure & fishing
boats is the Danforth, or "fluked" type which has a high holding power
to weight ratio.  These lightweight anchors rest flat on the bottom until
upward pressure (from your anchor line) turns the flukes down where
they dig into the bottom. The broad stock at the crown of the anchor
prevents it from flipping over. The Danforth's holding power is good in a
variety of bottom types, including mud, sand, and clay. However, on
bottoms that are grass or rock covered, the flukes may skip or collect
weeds preventing them from getting a grip on the bottom. In these
conditions you need to change anchor style or move to another area
with a different type of bottom.  Plow and Bruce anchors are
alternatives that bury themselves and can hold better in grass or rock
bottoms but they are expensive.
Mushroom anchors are also popular anchor type, but they aren't a good
choice for pontoons or deck boats because they rely on weight only to
hold the boat in place and can only be useful in NO-wind and
NO-current conditions.
Anchoring
Most anchors must be "SET" to be effective.  Setting the anchor means
digging the anchor into the bottom to get the most of it's holding power.
Using your motor to power into the set is recommended with traditional
anchors. However, You can sometimes set the anchor by hand or using
the current, wind, or drift to force the anchor into the bottom. To
"Power-set" the anchor...You drop it of the bow until it hits bottom,
making sure that it does not foul itself on the rope as it descends.  
Once the anchor is on the bottom, put the boat in reverse and slowly
put out enough line to reach the proper "scope" (scope will be
explained later) from the boat to the anchor.  Tie off the anchor rope
and power slowly in reverse until the line is tight. The anchor should
then bite into the bottom.  If it holds with the engine in reverse just
above idle speed, then the anchor is set.
Scope or Angle
The key to setting a Danforth or fluked type anchor (and most other
types) is the angle of upward pressure from the boat.  The lower the
angle, the easier it is for the anchor to set or dig-in to the bottom rather
than skip across it.  That's why a long scope (line length) is important.
The standard scope recomended by most experts is 7 to 1 meaning a
length of line that is at least 7 times longer than the depth of the water
in which you are anchoring over.  If you are attempting to anchor in 10
feet of water for instance, you would need 70 feet of line from your bow
cleat to the anchor chain.  Several feet of chain should be used to
weigh down the anchors shank to keep the angle low. The chain can
also help reduce abrasion when anchoring over rocks or other debris
that could cut or tear plain anchor line.  The amount of scope varies
greatly in relation to the anchor type, wind, and water conditions.  In
condition with little wind. less scope could be required BUT play it safe
and adhere to the 7 to 1 ratio when using a Danforth or fluked type
anchor.  When in doubt, increase your scope by letting out more line
and set a second anchor for added security.
Using your GPS unit to check for anchor slipage.
To test your anchoring skills you can use a GPS unit. IF you intend to
stay in one spot for a while and you have a GPS unit on your boat, you
can check for anchor slippage by using the anchorage function
available on most GPS units to detect movement while at anchor.  By
setting it at 50 feet for example, an alarm will sound when the boat has
dragged anchor that distance from where you originally anchored and
set the GPS position.  It's not always easy to tell if your anchor is
slipping, especially if it's just moving or dragging anchor a few feet with
each swell or breeze. But, even at that rate you'll be suprised at how
far a poorly anchored pontoon can drift in the course of an afternoon
or a long summer night aboard.
Please view our complete list of How-To's, Tips, and other fishing
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