Never take anchoring for granted
“What do you think those guys are fishing for out there in all those waves?” asked one of my clients as we started across Coffee Ground Cove. I was more focused on safely negotiating the next 3-foot wave immediately in front of my boat than scanning the lake at that moment. When I was able to glance in the direction that he was pointing, I did not like what I saw.
I could not see any fishermen standing or sitting in the boat and that scenario seldom if ever has a happy ending. I turned my bow into the teeth of the wind, speared a whitecap and headed in that direction. As feared, there was no one in the big flats boat, but because it was drifting stern forward, I hoped that a group of wade fishermen had just anchored poorly.
The youngest of my clients managed to jump in the drifting boat and retrieved a short length of rope attached to a fouled anchor. The big engine started easily and as we idled nearer to the only stretch of protected shoreline, I saw exactly what I was hoping to see.
Standing waist deep and ignoring us as though we were a mirage, stood a single wade fisherman picking at a backlash.
Because I saw no other boat, we idled in his direction hoping that this was his rig. As we closed the gap, he turned and started in our direction. “Thanks for getting my boat,” he yelled into the wind. “When my anchor pulled loose I was too far away to chase it and I hoped one of those crew boats would grab it.”
“I wasn’t too worried as I have some buddies a little further down the lake that I could have called,” he sheepishly added, “but I was hoping someone else would come along so that no one would ever find out about this.”
“I know you’re happy to get your boat back,” announced my client as he climbed back into my boat, “ but you may wind up wishing that you had made that call if you were trying to keep this quiet!”
Much to my surprise he refused to give it a rest. “Yes sir, you had the wrong guide go chase down your boat. He does a weekly radio show and writes columns for two magazines and a newspaper with a pretty healthy circulation,” he continued without pausing to take a breath. “Everyone in Texas is gonna know about this. I tell you what though: pay half our guide fee, the towing fee is on us and we’ll make sure he forgets this ever happened!”
I was laughing too hard to interrupt their mock attempt at extortion, but it was evident by his silence that our wader had given up any hope of his miscue quietly disappearing with the next outgoing tide. I was much too relieved by the fact that this had ended well to join in their teasing.
While I have no intention of sharing any names, he did do one thing really good and one thing not so good. The fact that he left the boat with his cell phone in hand was insurance against a long night sitting in the marsh grass with the mosquitoes. I would rather be embarrassed than stranded!
On the other hand, he had tried to anchor with a length of rope that was too short to provide enough scope and a Danforth anchor that did not include a few feet of drag chain. Without the added weight of the chain, the shaft rolled over and the flukes could no longer dig into the bottom. These are very effective anchors, especially in deeper water, but a lot of rope and a length of chain attached directly to the tie-eye of the anchor are necessities!
Because 90 percent of our anchoring is in water less than five feet deep, most fishermen now rely on the remote controlled Power Pole or the locally manufactured fiberglass Stake-Out Stik. Either will easily hold boats up to 24-feet in length when buried in a solid bottom.
Aside from a sizeable difference in the cost of the two, I prefer the Stik because I can anchor from either end of the boat and the molded duckfoot on the tie-off end doubles as an emergency push pole in shallow water. It is also handy around the dock and could be a life saver as a first option in assisting someone treading water!
Don’t forget the Cabela’s Speckled Trout tournament to be held out of the City of Orange Boat Ramp on Simmons Drive this weekend. There will be a Captain’s meeting at 7 p.m. Friday following late registration from 5 to 7. There will also be a kid’s fishing rodeo held at the launch site from 9 until 11 a.m. Registration takes place from 8 until 9 a.m.
For more information check out www.speckledtroutusa.com