Scott Rall: The length of rope really matters

SCOTT RALL The Globe outdoors columnist If you are getting all ready for the 2018 fishing opener, you are in a large crowd. There are more than 1.4 million anglers in the state. With 4,500 fishable lakes and 18,000 miles of fishable rivers and st...


The Globe outdoors columnist

If you are getting all ready for the 2018 fishing opener, you are in a large crowd.  There are more than 1.4 million anglers in the state. With 4,500 fishable lakes and 18,000 miles of fishable rivers and streams, you live in a great spot if fishing is your bag.

It was really hard to get the boat ready this year because you could not back it into a lake and start it until very late into April. Sure, you can use the muffs and attach them to a garden hose, but that really does not allow you to know if the motor is 100 percent ready to go.

I have a few things for you to consider when you are preparing you boat for this upcoming season. Here is one thing I think many boat anglers are under equipped for:


And that is the anchor.  Boat positioning is very important if you want to anchor on a spot and stay there. The issue with anchors that just about any anchor will do most to the time, but when you get to a situation where more is needed there is no substitute for tonnage.  

My boat has two 25-pound navy style anchors. I almost never use only one at a time. I want to park my boat sideways across a point so all of the anglers can all cast to the same spots. Most angers will have one anchor or maybe two that are much smaller.

Once your anchors slip and you drift into the great spot, the stop is most likely killed for at least a few hours, and if that is at sunset then you will most likely not go back there till the next day. The anchor rope needs to be three times longer than the depth of the water you want to sit tight in.

In five feet of water this means 15 feet, but what if you want to anchor off a hump in the middle of Millers Bay on West Okoboji and the water is 25 feet deep? Now you need 75 feet of rope. All of this rope takes up space, and in an effort to conserve space the average angler has too short an anchor rope.

Some fishermen cannot hoist up a 25-pound anchor just from a physical limitation point of view and this can also cause an issue.

When I am setting my anchors, I drop one anchor and feed out the rope until almost to the end.  I will then drop the other anchor, and as I feed out the rope on that one I take in rope on the other. This allows the boat to be pinned between two anchors that are 50 feet apart instead of two anchors 16 feet part -- which is usually the length of the boat.

That makes it a much more stable platform in which to fish.  It is really important if you are bobber fishing and can’t have the boat sliding back and forth like the pendulum in a grandfather clock. It also allows you to move a short distance without lifting the anchors if you don’t land in exactly the spot you wanted.  Just take out and take in rope to adjust you to just the perfect spot.

Another boat tip I have for you deals with the anchor and navigation lights.  I have seen more than 100 anglers over he years setting their lights to fish in the evening and when they insert the tall anchor light in the back they sit there and giggle and giggle and then giggle just a bit more to get the light to come on.  Then when they sit down it goes out again and requires just a bit more giggling. That problem is caused by corrosion in the connections of the light either on the light pole itself or in the connection in the boat.


There is an easy fix if you take the time. I take a battery-operated drill with a very small drill bit in it and wrap just a small amount of steel wool around the tip.  Believe me, a few turns of the drill the steel wool with bind tightly to it. Carefully run this in and out of the connections to clean the corrosion.

When you complete this, add a very small amount of eclectic grease into the connection holes. This will help make great contact and help keep the connections from corroding again. You can get the compound in any parts store.

The difference between a great day on the water and a frustrating day on the water can be how your equipment operates. Double check these few items and they can save you a lot of hassles.  

One more thing:  Remember that you have to remove the boat’s drain plug when you leave the lake each and every time. I think an extra drain plug might very well come in handy with all the remove and replace required in today’s regulations. It is not an item that can be easily replaced at a boat ramp in a line of 20 boats.  

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