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Coosa anchor – West Coast style

May 22nd, 2013 · No Comments

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anchor setup finalDrag 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.

most of the partsParts required:

  • 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)
  • Tools

  • drill
  • 3/16” drill bit
  • 5/32” drill bit
  • philips screwdriver
  • Marine Goop
  • 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.
    mounts assembled
    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.
    fender washers
    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.
    rear fairlead
    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.

    pullyThe 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.
    cleat and pully
    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.
    turnbuckle install final
    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

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