Fishing Gear of Florida Fishing Journal
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Anchors work in several ways. Some dig into
the seabed, some silt in, and others are heavy enough to simply
sit on the seabed. Some anchors hold extremely well in sand or
mud, others fare better in shale or rocky bottoms. Some anchors
never touch the seabed while others are permanently embedded.
Anchor selection should be based on the size
and type of your boat and the condition of the bottom where you do
most of your boating.
Anchors can be broken down into three general
families; the lunch hook, the working anchor and the storm
anchor. A lunch hook is an exceptionally light anchor that is set
for short daytime stops when crew stays aboard. The working
anchor is used for standard overnight anchoring. I feel cruising
boats should carry two working anchors, one for hard bottoms and
one for soft bottoms. A storm anchor is used in heavy weather and
can be of any type, as long as it is very heavy. A primary anchor
can be set along with a storm anchor on a separate rode if
Anchors can be further categorized into burying
and nonburying types. Nonburying anchors, such as the kedge or
fisherman, work by hooking onto rock or thick grass and weeds, and
must rehook if the boat swings. Burying anchors, such as the CQR,
lightweight (Danforth, Fortress), Bruce and Delta, dig deep into
soft bottoms and are designed to hold if the boat changes
position. They are usually lighter than nonburying anchors because
they dig into the seabed.
Here is a picture of the most common
Stock or no stock
Some anchors have a stock to orient the flukes so the anchor
will dig in properly.
The stock also can keep the anchor from
breaking free without resetting if the boat changes position. A
fisherman anchor has narrow flukes, a long shank and a stock
crossing the shank perpendicular to the flukes. I don. t
recommend them as a working anchor because they must be heavy to
be effective (around 60 pounds) and usually must be taken apart to
stow, but they can be used as a storm anchor.
Lightweight anchors, such as the Fortress or Danforth, have a
stock at the bottom of the anchor for easier stowage and
collapsible stock anchors allow the stock to be folded parallel to
Stockless anchors were developed to allow the
hook to be stowed in a hawsepipe or bow roller. These popular
anchors include the Bruce, CQR and Delta.
The plow (or CQR) anchor is a burying anchor that has a hinged
shank to keep it from breaking out if the boat swings to one
side. I would use the plow as a primary working anchor. It holds
well under large loads and in most bottoms, although it can be
difficult to set in grass or weeds. It can be stored on the bow.
The Delta is similar to a CQR, but its shank is one piece. It
also holds well in most bottoms, other than large rocks and weeds,
and can be stored on the bow.
The lightweight anchor, such as the Danforth or Fortress, is a
burying anchor with wide sharp flukes and a stock. It holds very
well under high loads in mud and sand but may be difficult to set
in clay, grass, weeds, rock or shell bottoms. I recommend a
lightweight as a secondary working anchor or a lunch hook. It
requires more scope than other anchors and can be stored flat on
The Bruce is a clawlike burying anchor that sets quickly and
resists breaking out without resetting if the wind or tide
changes. I would use a Bruce in crowded anchorages since it holds
well at short scope and in most bottoms, including sand, grass and
rock. It sometimes grabs loose rock and fails to set and can drag
under very high loads. It can be stored on the bow.