Fish Explorer Logo
Texas Fishing
Texas Fishing  
Login Usr:Psd:
Don't have an account? Register now...
spacer spacer
Bill Prater
View bio
Other recent blogs by Bill:
Let's argue: Does size matter?
8/20/2021 1:16:00 PM
View more...

Newbies! Don't do this

Blog by: Bill Prater , Colorado 8/25/2021

Newbies! Donít do this. Or if you must do this, wear a life jacket.

Todayís column is less a column and more of an appeal for advice from one of anglingís least trusted sources: the lunatic fringe of the float tube community.

This requires explanation. I am an aging example of a fishing fraternity that looks forward to late, late fall and early early spring - glorious, ice-age like times when the most cautious of trout throw caution to the wind. Even better, the more milquetoast, numerous members of the angling community turn to football and chasing moose and stuff. Trouble is, itís also when Colorado/Wyomingís usually balmy winds morph into damned  hurricanes.

Over the years, I have acquired a level of success casting ultralights into the teeth of those gales. Donít ask me how, exactly. But over years of cursing wind knots, I have stumbled upon combinations of eye and wrist coordination that allow me to fish amid the whitecaps. 

Trouble is, Iím getting old! Wading into ice-cube filled water was questionable behavior even in my Ď60s. Now bones creak whenever autumn winds shove ice water down the front and back of my waders.  Plus, with every passing season I am less steady on my feet and judgment.

So, with fall approaching, Iíve been thinking. One alternative is to simply wade out and cast from an upwind shoreline. Trouble is, thatís for wusses. And I suspect, but canít verify, that the biggest fish are more likely way downwind.

So hereís an alternative: Rather than wading in and hoping for the best, letís flip, flip, flip, flip our float tubes out to the edge of a downwind honey hole. And then anchor! We can then cast with deadly precision to monsters lurking close to shore. Our lines are straight. We now detect every subtle bite. And  we cast as far as Chad LaChance (who is no doubt hunting deer at this point, or watching TV.)

Trouble is - and hereís where I need your help - out in the whitecaps, how the hell do we safely anchor? I have an adorable, Navy-style miniature anchor that weighs maybe 2 pounds. Under milder conditions, it holds my Fat Cat over a sandy bottom barely long enough to reach for my coffee. Logically, if one were to swap that tiny anchor for a big old potato sack full of rocks, what happens next? Are you snugly anchored? Or was Linda right after all, and the wind is gonna flip my belly boat over and leave me upside down flailing like an Olympics artistic swim team? 

Let me know whether youíve tried this, and whether it works better than I fear. The brutal, but tempting conditions of late fall are almost upon us. 

Blog content © Bill Prater
Blog Comments
anglerwannabe, CO   8/26/2021 9:57:44 AM
actually... the fall is about the only time I do anchor but I am not fishing anywhere sandy. South Park has tons of weeds and they do a great job of securing the anchor. Although my anchors are 5 to 8 lbs. There are two main issues I run into.. 1) the wind tends to turn the tube and invariably it's not the position\angle you want to face. 2) getting the anchor OUT of the weeds is the harder part. That's the tricky part and you have to maneuver a little bit to get the darn thing out of the weeds. and.. I ALWAYS ALWAYS wear a pfd... oh and one more thing.... wear a pair of battery heated socks with a thick pair of socks over them and you can stay in that cold water WAY longer
Bill Prater (fishthumpre), CO   8/26/2021 11:46:14 AM
This is great advice wannabe. I was mostly being smart ass about fall fishing, but you make it sound almost reasonable. And the 5-8 pound range for an anchor sounds manageable.
shiverfix, CO   8/26/2021 2:02:53 PM
Here on the Columbia they use an anchor ball, anchor lift. It has two benefits. The first, it makes lifting your anchor easier. The second, very important when you have current (or wind in your case) it keep the anchor line straight instead of at a downward angle that tends to pull the front of the boat (or the pontoon) down.
spicyhombre, CO   8/26/2021 4:02:49 PM
I am planning on making a Kayak Anchor Trolley to use once they close the boat ramps. It is a system that allows you to drop anchor by your side and then uses a pulley to run the anchor point down the side of the kayak. This will allow you to angle your craft the optimal way for casting in the wind. When it is time to go you bring it back by your side to pull up. It was designed to allow control in strong currents of salt water. The nice thing about kayaks is they slip easier so require less weight to hold if angled with the wind. It would be tough to create for float tube but not impossible.
jibber, CO   8/28/2021 1:02:21 PM
I have been using a retractable dog leash for an anchor line for the past 4 years on my Fish Cat 4. It has worked great! I have an 8 lb. anchor that generally holds me anywhere. Reveal, I was out on Georgetown Thursday (the only fishing boat) and retractable dog leash failed, let out all the line (26 feet) and jammed. Not big issue. But the manufacturer says it cannot be repaired. I went to PetSmart this morning and bought another one. They are made by Flexi. I use this same rig for my inflatable pontoon boat. I am old. I cannot keep kicking all day long. Gives me thigh cramps.
Anteroman, CO   8/28/2021 4:19:40 PM
Just my $.02 I have used a 10# rubber coated dumbbell as an anchor for 15 years both with my Fat Cat float tube as well as my NRS Gig-Bob pontoons use a standard 3/8Ē soft nylon docking line that is 25í long. Easy to set and the thicker docking line makes it easy to retrieve. If the wind blows too hard for this to hold me itís probably time to go home. Simple and readily available at your local Walmart. Bill
Bill Prater (fishthumpre), CO   8/28/2021 6:48:54 PM
Thanks for all the suggestions, guys. An 8 or 10 pound anchor it is. Jibber, with the leg cramps, when itís going to be really cold out there I doctor up my calves beforehand with icy hot. Canít swear it helps, but at least I like to think so. Smells a little better than Ben gay, tho not much.