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Anchoring on the Rocks

Drag Chain

By Gregg Rockett from The

I used a lightweight fluke anchor the first few years I kayaked. I was fishing relatively docile bay waters with sandy bottoms in the Miami area. This anchor type worked perfectly and never presented any issues for me.

When I moved to the Washington, DC area I often found myself navigating waters with a rocky bottom, like the Potomac River. In certain sections of the water just down river of the Chain Bridge the river bottom is a ‘garden’ of giant boulders. This also happens to be prime fishing area for shad, bass and catfish. So anchoring in this section of the river is key to catching fish.

I quickly learned that a traditional fluke anchor was a liability on this water. When the flow was low and the anchor wedged into structure on the river bottom, the remedy was to paddle upstream of the anchor and give a good tug or two to dislodge the anchor. But on one occasion the current was too strong for this maneuver, and in fact I was in serious risk of capsizing because of the pressure of being stuck downstream of an anchor that wouldn’t budge. After a tense couple of seconds, and almost taking a dip, I figured the only remedy was to release my anchor.

Back on shore, a fellow kayaker suggested I consider using thick chain link as a more practical option, even in the absence of bottom structure. Besides rarely getting hung up, a heavy gauge chain link can be doubled and tripled up to provide different levels of drag for slow-drifting in current.

So I purchased a 6 foot length of ¾” chain link and plastic sheath to cover it from a national hardware supply store and now use this as my anchor. The ends of the chain attach to a snap link that is secured to a length of rope, and cleated down to the deck of the kayak. I haven’t had another white-knuckle moment since!

Lesson Learned

Match your style of anchor to the water you’re fishing.

Gregg Rockett is an avid fisherman and can be found on various waters surrounding the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area. If you want to read more about his adventures in fishing and life you can do so at The RockettMan.