How to anchor your boat on “the spot”

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Mark the spot

Here's a few handy basics to think about when you anchor your boat for a strayline fishing session.

First thing to do when selecting a spot to anchor is to check your sounder for fish. You need to look at the seabed for structure, places where fish are likely to hide, feed and generally hang out (see Find your own fishing spots for more).

The aim is to find a “spot” on the sea floor that has good signs of fish. Make sure you mark it with your sounder...

 

 

HOW TO ANCHOR YOUR BOAT ON “THE SPOT”

Bottom structure & fish on sounder

FishingAdvisor.co.nz - Daiwa fishing New Zealand

Getting set up

Take the boat upwind ahead of the spot you want to fish back to. Drop the anchor, let the boat drift back and hold on the anchor, settle, then you can fish back to the structure that your targeting.

When you anchor your boat you want to make sure there is the right distance between the back of the boat (where you're fishing) and the spot you've marked the fish.  

The amount of space between the back of the boat and the spot will vary.  The space you're aiming for is the length of line it will take to drift your bait to the bottom, given the amount of current on the day i.e. how fast your bait drifts down.

Sometimes a couple of metres can make all the difference to your fishing on the day (especially if the "spot" is a small area) so take some time to check the distances between the anchor and boat, then the boat and the spot and don't be shy about adjusting the anchor position to get right on.

 

HOW TO ANCHOR YOUR BOAT ON “THE SPOT”

Mark the spot & go upwind

HOW TO ANCHOR YOUR BOAT ON “THE SPOT”

 

Ridgeline - FishingAdvisor.co.nz

Wind direction & tide/current

When anchoring your boat you’ll need to take into account the wind strength and what direction it’s coming from. Along with the current this will determine how the boat rests in the water. Ideally you want the wind and current travelling in the same direction because it makes the sea smoother and less bumpy.

It also means that the nose of your boat faces into the wind, so while you’re fishing your bait and burley will drift back behind the boat and towards the spot you selected.

It also means that the nose of your boat faces into the wind, so while you’re fishing your bait and burley will drift back behind the boat and towards the spot you selected.

If the wind and tide aren’t going in the same direction the sea will be choppier (a bumpier ride) and your bait can drift sidewards or even to the front of the boat. It can make it more challenging to get a steady trail of burley drifting down the current to the fish and getting your bait down to it.

HOW TO ANCHOR YOUR BOAT ON “THE SPOT”

Wind with tide/current

HOW TO ANCHOR YOUR BOAT ON “THE SPOT”

Wind against tide

FishingAdvisor.co.nz - Lowrance

Water depth

The aim is to let your bait drift back naturally, as naturally as if we’ve just thrown a piece of bait in with no hook or sinker on it. When the boat settles on the anchor you want to ensure there’s enough space between the boat and the area that you want to fish. It may be 15 metres, or more.

Also take into account the water depth, how long it will take the bait to get down. In shallow water you don’t want to sit right on top of the fish (the boat may spook them) so you want enough distance to enable you to cast back to the fish.

 

Drifting bait

Drifting baits can take a while to get down

Bottom fishing with a ledger/dropper rig

With this style of fishing you simply drop the bait down directly under the boat and get it quickly to the bottom.  

If using this method (usually in deeper water 20-30+ metres) you would anchor more directly over the spot (still allowing for a bit of line drift but nowhere near as much as strayline fishing).

Ledger rigs are dropped directly under the boat

Ledger rigs are dropped directly under the boat

Remember practise makes perfect, good luck out there.

 

Next articles:

Rightio so now you’re bang on the spot, the very next thing to do (before you start fishing) is set up a burley trail. Check out how to do that here then start getting your fish on:

 

 

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