This is not as simple as it may first appear.
This article however is my personal opinion and you may wish to check with Gareth and Carmel to see if their advice is different.
At all times when dealing with Boats and their Equipment Safety must be the Number One Priority.
Be careful at all times when on or near water.
Now the anchors at Coldingham are Mud Anchors made from window sash weights.
The anchors only very partially rely on their weight therefore the first requirement they need to be able to take a good hold in all but the lightest winds is MUD!
You should perhaps know that not all parts of the Loch have a muddy bottom. From the Loch Side Cottage up to Rainbow Point is mainly stone so getting a hold here in strong breezes will be difficult. The same applies to the top of Swingate Bay and around Gull Rock.
So when you do decide to anchor the first thing to do is to make sure the boat is stopped dead in the water. This does not mean just switching off the motor or stop rowing. The boat will continue on for some time if you just do this. Use the motor or oars to make sure the boat is stationary in the water. Watch a bubble or something similar in the water to judge this.
If you do not the weight and momentum of the boat plus the anglers and tackle which together may be approaching half a ton could well just pull the anchor back out of the mud or at least severely weaken the hold it has.
Also make sure you are putting the anchor in on the upwind side of the boat. I often see people putting it in on the downwind side and wondering why the boat spins round…………….. 🙁
To put the anchor in do not just lower it except on the calmest of days.
It has to penetrate the mud a good distance so that as the mud closes in behind it the rope then has to pull against a vacuum as well as the anchors own weight and grip.
First of all make sure the rope is completely clear of all feet and tackle and anything else it could catch on.
Then gently throw the anchor into the water point first an let it freely fall to the bottom.
In stronger winds to get an even better hold you may have to throw it in fast like a spear but be extra careful doing this.
Once the anchor has hit the bottom pay out a reasonable amount of line before you tie off so the rope is at a good angle.
If you have the rope straight up and down even the gentlest rocking of the boat as anglers shift their weight will be pulling the anchor straight out. By paying out rope you create an angle and so greatly reduce the force pulling up the anchor. The additional length of the rope allows for a bit more stretch and so shock absorption as well.
Incidentally when you get a good hold you usually see a good load of bubbles coming up.
Now in some circumstances if you anchor as above you may find it hard to pull the rope and anchor back out. It can take a really serious grip!
To get it out what you need to do is pull the rope tight and use a gentle rocking of the boat to inch it out. As you rock the boat down tighten your grip with the rope in good contact with the side of the boat for friction and on the upward rock the weight of the boat will pull it out a little bit each time.
You must warn your partner and have him sitting down before you do this.
Now when you bring the anchor up to move position do not bring it into the boat!
I repeat……….. do not bring it into the boat!
You will just mess up the boat with weed and especially mud. Only bring it to the surface and tie it off on the cleat with it just hanging in the water. Then by the time you get to your next position it should be clean enough to throw in again without getting you or the boat dirty.
When you are finished for the day do the same thing and then when you are almost back to the jetty you can bring it fully aboard by which time it should be washed off.
Carmel and Gareth as well as myself and your fellow anglers will appreciate a clean boat!!
Putting the rope and anchor tidily back in the box will also be appreciated.
Rope first with the anchor on top. 🙂
As in all aspects of boat handling be slow, deliberate and sensible and you will enjoy your fishing even more and please make sure you wear your Lifejacket and Eye Protection at all times.