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Drag chain style anchors are commonplace in the East, so much so that Jackson Kayaks built the Coosa and Big Tuna with drag anchor use in mind. Here on the West Coast, however, drag chains are just not up to the task of keeping the kayak where we need to work over areas holding steelhead. Enter the Drift Anchor.
Drift anchors have been used by drift boat and catacraft operators for decades. These large lead pyramid anchors mount precisely over the center of the kayak reducing sway in the current. They are easy to operate and will keep you secure when you find that perfect spot. Kayak anglers started modifying their kayaks for drift anchors, and Daniel Arbuckle of Headwaters Kayak in Lodi, CA, designed this slick drift anchor setup for the Jackson Coosa.
YakAttack GearTrac GT175-08
YakAttack MightMount kit MMS
Scotty No. 241 Deck Mount
Scotty No. 254M 4” Rod Holder Height Extender
Scotty No. 276 Anchor Lock
SeaLect Designs 3/8” nylon fairlead (2)
Jam or ZigZag Cleat
#10 1” stainless steel bolts, fender washers and nylock nuts (4)
#8 1.25” stainless steel bolts, washers and nylock nuts (4)
Tri-grip rivets (2)
stainless steel carabiners (2)
3/8” stainless steel pully
5.5” stainless steel turnbuckle
1/4” paracord (about 8 inches)
3/8” anchor rope (35-40 feet, no more than 50)
8 to 10# pyramid anchor (pound out the points with a hammer)
3/16” drill bit
5/32” drill bit
10mm deep well socket and ratchet or 10mm wrench
8mm deep well socket or 8mm wrench
flexible arms and nimble fingers
To start off, we are going to modify the Scotty Anchor lock by removing the lock mechanism. Because the anchor lock will be at the back of the kayak, you can not reach it should it lock when it’s not supposed. The anchor lock has also been known to release unexpectedly when bouncing through rapids. Not a good situation. Removing the lock is simple: remove the screw holding the lock in place, slide spacer out of lock and reinstall bolt. While we are here, it is a good time to slip the round end of the turnbuckle around the spacer so you don’t have to take this apart again later.
Now we’ll assemble the MightyMounts and Scotty Deck Mount. The MMS kit from YakAttack comes with everything you need to do this except for the Scotty mount. When complete it should look just like the photo.
All the little stuff done, its time to move on to the kayak. We will be installed the 8” GearTrac at the stern of the kayak. Take your time to make sure things are aligned properly. The GearTrac will be installed completely horizontal, just below the carry handle. Be sure to leave enough room on the inside of the kayak to get the fender washers and wrench around the molded in nuts for the carry handle. Because of the shape of the Coosa, we will only be installing four #10 bolts. Drill the first hole using a 5/32” drill bit. This bit is smaller in diameter than the bolt, so the bolt will have to be threaded into the plastic of the kayak, making watertight seal as it goes. Feel free to add some Goop to the holes to ensure the seal. With the first hole drilled, and bolt threaded into place, move on and drill the other three holes and install bolts to complete this part of the installation.
Use Goop to coat one side of each fender washer and put these into place inside the kayak. The Goop will help, again, make sure things remain water tight (if you remember to put the Goop’ed side of the washer against the kayak). Back these up with the nylock nuts and your GearTrac is installed and watertight. If you mounted the GearTrac a little high, you might have a problem getting the fender washers installed. Do not fear! A couple of pliers and a lil bit of elbow grease will take care of that. Give them a good bend and try again.
Back on the outside of your kayak, go ahead and install the MightyMount/Scotty combo onto the GearTrac. Then slip the 4” Scotty extension into the base, and the modified anchor lock onto that. The Scotty extension is optional, but it does help make sure the anchor is completely out of the water when raised.
From here, its time to work on the rope management. Using the fairleads, we are going to guide the rope along the side of the kayak. You can run the rope on whichever side you choose. The first fairlead will be installed near the front corner of the rear hatch. This area is a bit narrow and to get it to fit right and seal well, we will turn it to that it faces towards the anchor setup. Drill two holes with the 5/32 drill bit, Goop the underside of the fairlead and bolt down with the #8 screws. The second fairlead will be installed on the gunwhale between the flush mount rod holder and the rear hatch. First, reach through the hatch and see how far you can reach down the gunwhale. If you drill first, you may not be able to reach far enough to install the bolts. Once you know how far forward you can reach, install the second fairlead just as you did with the first.
The pulley makes this whole anchor system easy to operate. If you have already rigged your Coosa for thigh straps, you can easily clip a carabiner to the front padeye and then clip the pulley into the carabiner. If you don’t have this front padeye, then use a short length of paracord, thread it through one of the stops on the foot brace brackets, and knot it into a loop. Clip your carabiner and pulley into this loop of paracord and you are set. By using the paracord and carabiner, you can remove the pulley when it isn’t going to be needed. The paracord is small and out of the way so it can remain on the kayak at all times.
To wrap things up, it is time to install the cleat used to secure your anchor rope. Zig zag cleats make it harder to accidentally release the rope when you don’t want, while traditional jam cleats make for faster releases in emergency situations. It is your preference as to what to use. Because zigzag cleats are larger, they will need to be installed on the side of the cockpit area, just forward of the seat for easy reach. Jam cleats can be installed on top of the gunwhale, right next to the seat, for easy access. Coat the backside of your cleat with Goop, line up the cleat where you would like it and drill a 3/16” hole into place. Slip in a tri-grip rivet and pop into place with a rivet gun. Drill the second hole and pop the final rivet into place. Rivets are used for the cleats because there is no easy way to reach this area and they will hold the anchor set up more than sufficiently.
Now we are almost done! If you haven’t already, put the rear hatch into place. Slip a carabiner into the hatch lock, hook the carabiner with the turnbuckle and tighten the turnbuckle. Don’t go crazy tightening the turnbuckle, “just snug” is just about right. The turnbuckle will be taking some of the stress out of the system and it is quite convenient that Jackson Kayaks put a metal padeye here for security. It’s just what we need to make sure things don’t flex too much.
To make use of the anchor, we will attach it to the 3/8” anchor rope using an Anchor Bend or Bowline Knot. We will then thread the anchor up through the Scotty Anchor Lock, run it forward through both fairleads, through the pulley and to the seat. Pull all the slack through the line until the anchor is firmly raised against the anchor lock and secure the rope in the cleat. Coil the remaining rope neatly under the seat to keep it out of the way.
Drift anchors are not for everyone, and definitely not for the uninitiated. Anchoring in swift waters is deadly dangerous activity. Do not attempt to use a drift anchor if you do not have a safety knife. No not attempt to use a drift anchor without working knowledge of how moving waters work. If you are in an area swift enough that you can not paddle against the current DO NOT ANCHOR there are no fish there anyways.. Drift anchors are used in slower moving water where you’ll find pools, pockets and slots where fish are holding. The drift anchor allows you to hold up in these areas and fish them thoroughly with a variety of tactics. Without the anchor you would be forced to either paddle back up river and work your way back through, or just continue your drift down river. It is rare to anchor in more than 6’ of water, and usually only 2-3 feet deep.
To use the anchor, just release the rope from the cleat and guide the anchor to the bottom carefully. Continue letting rope out once the anchor has hit bottom and until you have let out about five times as much rope as the water is deep. Secure the rope back into the cleat and fish! When you feel you have worked over an area enough, free the rope from the cleat and pull the anchor up until it hits the anchor lock and re-secure the rope to the cleat.
Tags: Kayak modification
The biggest paddling event in the Pacific Northwest is this weekend at the Northwest Paddling Festival. It will be held one day only on May 11th, 9am at Lake Sammamish State Park. There will be well over 60 venders including kayak manufacturers, paddle manufacturers, outerwear manufacturers and so much more. This is a HUGE event, you’ll not want to miss out.
I will, naturally, be showing off the Jackson Kayak fleet. Because this is held at a state park, parking is $10 unless you have a Washington Discovery Pass. If you would like to demo a kayak or SUP, there is a one-time fee of $5.
Get more info by clicking on the image
I thought I has posted about this…
Tomorrow, May 4th, is Tumalo Creek Kayak Spring Paddlefest. 10-4 at Riverview Park in Bend, Oregon. Check out all the cool stuff from Jackson Kayaks on the Mirror Pond stretch of the Deschutes River (where, yes, you CAN fish while in a kayak).
More information can be found on Tumalo Creek Kayak’s blog post Spring Paddlefest 2013
If your gear isn’t pooling/shedding water like this, then it’s time to clean!
Taking care of dry gear, be it waders, dry tops, dry suits, or even breathable rain gear, is often overlooked. They are usually tossed into the back of the truck, or in a tote, and, if they’re lucky, you’ll remember to pull them out, rinse them off, and hang them up to dry. While rinsing your gear is the first step to keeping them in good shape, there are additional steps to breathe life back into these breathable waterproof fabrics.
Rinsing is the first step to keeping Gore-Tex®, eVENT®, and other breathable waterproof fabrics working effectively. Over time, though, things like sand, fish slime, and salt will begin to work their way into the fibers of these materials. When that happens, the fabrics begin to retain a bit of water, rather than repel it, and they become less breathable. That means more sweat is being kept inside the suit and you’ll become less comfortable. If you’re less comfortable, you’ll be less likely to wear it. If you don’t wear it, then you might be opening yourself up to some safety issues.
Here’s a good way to make your expensive drysuit not keep you so dry.
But I digress.
Correctly caring for your dry gear is does not take a lot of work. It does, however, take a bit of time. Instead of your average load of laundry taking less than a couple hours, cleaning up your dry gear can take a couple days. Unlike regular clothes, waterproof fabrics have special coatings that can be washed out with regular laundry detergents. Clothes driers can destroy latex seals.
So how do we take care of outerwear?
Start off with hand washing. Products like Gear-Aid’s ReviveX® is made for waterproof fabrics like used in our dry gear. It is also very simple to use–add some to the bottom of a tote or wash basin (unless you are cleaning more than 5 items, a bathtub might be too much), fill with warm water, and let your waders soak. A ten gallon tub is enough to soak a pair of waders, dry pants, try top and a whole drysuit. Soak the gear for about 20 minutes, agitating and moving them around to get them cleaned up. If you’d like, a soft bristled brush can be used to clean up tough spots. Rinse gear thoroughly and allow to hang dry. Keep it out of the sun and drier though! More often than not, that is all you have to do to keep the coatings in good shape and your dry gear repelling water correctly.
Revivex isn’t just for your dry gear: snowboard gear, rain coats, rain flies, and diaper covers all can be renewed.
If you have a front load washing machine or a topload without the center agitating post, then you are in luck! You can wash your gear in the washing machine. These machines are easy enough on clothing, unlike standard uprights with the center post. Follow the directions on the ReviveX® on how to machine wash. Use warm water and gentle cycles to get things clean without damage.
As your gear dries, inspect all the taped seams and gaskets. Make sure none of the tape is peeling nor the gaskets cracking. If you have latex gaskets or waterproof zippers, it is a good time to treat them with 303® Aerospace Protectant. This will help ensure that latex will stay soft and subtle. As much as simply rinsing your dry gear after use, applying Aerospace Protectant to all the latex seals and gaskets should be part of a regular routine every 4 to 6 weeks–even if they are hanging in the closet the whole time. Aerospace Protectant is like “SPF 40 For Your Stuff!” and can also be used to keep your kayak in top shape.
From latex seals on dry tops and dry suits, to rubber seals on doors, your kayaks, dash, tires. This stuff is awesome.
For most, you are probably done. But if your gear is old enough, and abused enough, they’re still not repelling water like the good ol’ days. Time to restore that repellency with 303® Fabric Guard
. Restoring the fabric is easy since Fabric Guard is just a spray-on product. You’ll want to treat your gear at least 12 hours before you plan on using it again. By spraying things down just after they are dry, it should have ample time to dry and be ready for the next use. If your gear is beading up water just fine after a regular wash, then this step is completely optional.
Do not overlook zipper care! Regularly lubricate your waterproof zippers with McNett Zip Tech®. This will help make zippers open and close more easily, making them less susceptible to damage from tugging and pulling too hard. When storing dry gear with zippers, make sure the zippers are left open is that the seal does not compress and fail. When rinsing, pay close attention to ensuring any sand and grit is cleaned. Using a soft bristled nylon brush will help ensure any grime is swept away. Wax zippers every few uses or whenever it starts feeling tough to use.
If it is supposed to shed water and keep your dry (fishing gear, canvas convertible tops, and more), then this will make it that way.
Complete all these necessary tasks, and your dry gear will be about as good as new. Hand washing should be done any time the gear stops repelling water effectively. Treating latex gaskets and waterproof zippers should be done every 4-6 weeks, regardless of use.
You can pick up all these things online at NRSweb.com or at your local outdoor or kayak retailer.
If I managed to confuse you at all in all of this, you can check out the video below, which, while long, covers every step of the process.
Thinking about picking up a new kayak? Here’s your chance to try out a TON of different kayaks to find the one that’s right for you. Alder Creek‘s Paddle Fest puts all the boats on the water for you to try out. You can check out my favorite Jackson Kayaks, as well as fishing kayaks from Native, Wilderness Systems and more. Everyone knows that the best way to pick out a kayak is to try it out on the water.
You can also check out paddles, NRS dry gear and PFDs and more while you’re there
Paddle Fest will take place on Vancouver Lake, as usual, on April 27th and 28th. There is also a cool Party on Saturday at Alder Creek’s Jantzen Beach location with live music.
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