By: Kirk Dunaway
[dropcap]O[/dropcap]ne of the key areas where I see novice kayak anglers making a mistake is with their anchoring methods. Traditional anchors do have their place, but aren’t necessarily the best plan. How do you know that area is going to produce your catch? Unless you see fish in the area, let the wind push you along or cast and paddle, and be sure to cover water to either look for signs of predators or until you get a strike.
Second, consider your anchor itself. Traditional anchors such as a folding anchor aren’t necessarily optimal on the flats. These anchors scan be clumsy and noisy to deploy by the time you find fish. Considering the shallow water where we normally find fish the stakeout pole tends to be the best method because it’s fast and stealthy: once you see fish simply drive the point end into the bottom of the flat.
Make sure you stakeout on the proper side of your kayak so that you don’t bump into it either due to wind or current because this would negate the stealth factor. In high current or wind situations be sure to drive your stakeout pole at an angle with the end facing into the current or wind while it’s tethered to your kayak so that as your kayak starts to drift it actually drives the pole into the bottom. Don’t drive your stakeout pole through a scupper hole because this will make too much sound. In addition there is a seam around most scupper holes and this could stress the hull over time.
You can either buy a stakeout pole or make your own. Many that elect to buy one consider the following specialty products:
Some kayak anglers find these specialty products to be too expensive to compared to home-made options but remember these products are not just intended to hold your spot, they can also be used as a push pole to help you get into position.
If you would prefer to make one, then consider using an old golf club. Don’t use PVC pipe because in harder bottom with shell or oysters you will find it very difficult to penetrate. To obtain a usable golf club go to a used sporting goods store or garage sale and look for the inexpensive graphite drivers golf clubs. Graphite club shafts offer two advantages: They float and won’t corrode in brackish water like alloy does. Cut the head off at a steep angler to create a sharp point, then drill a hole through the handle so you can pass a piece of thin rope through to enable you to tether it to your kayak.
Now you’re set to stalk fish. Find some tailing redfish, get within casting distance, stick your stakeout pole into the flats bottom, and start casting. The most important aspect of this is to remember fish have fins and tails. This means that instead of holding in one place they tend to move around on the flats. Be prepared to pull up your stakeout pole and plant it again once you relocate them.