In recent weeks we have had the opportunity to install shallow-water anchors on our boats. We have installed both the Minn Kota Talon on a recently acquired Polar Kraft TX 165 PRO and a Power Pole, Blade Edition, on a Ranger Z520. Both installed easily but where the rubber meets the road is in their use. Many of today’s anglers are choosing two units on their boats to keep the boat from spinning on a single axis, but your budget will dictate if that is reasonable for you or not. We installed a single unit on each boat.
Since the installs, we have had the opportunity to see the boat positioning and fishing advantages of the shallow-water anchors.
Living in the Midwest affords us the unwanted pleasure of fishing in windy conditions most of the spring. Northeast, northwest and southern breezes can make fishing conditions difficult, and because we fish both large and small lakes, the variables to deal with it change a bit. Just like the right bait or the best rod and reel, a shallow-water anchor affords the angler a way to deal with a variety of conditions. Whether it is the wind, sight fishing, flipping or just launching a boat, a shallow-water anchor is rapidly becoming a mandatory piece of equipment.
Small versus large boat applications
Some anglers look down their noses at anglers with small aluminum boats, but if equipped properly, with a shallow water anchor, they not only are fun to fish out of, and cost less, but can provide a competitive advantage.
As you know, most tin boats can be like a Styrofoam cup on the water. They blow were the wind wants them to. With a shallow-water anchor to meet your needs that problem can be taken out of the equation.
Fiberglass boats are usually heavier and steadier, as a general rule, but having a shallow water anchor can make them nimble and precise.
Minn Kota Talon
On a recent trip in high winds in excess of 20 mph, we utilized the Talon to position the TX 165 PRO to effectively fish bushes and blowdowns. We simply used the Minn Kota trolling motor to move to a bush or tree, lowered the Talon and methodically picked the bush apart. Multiple casts to the same bush without circling, getting too close or having to reposition. Deployment is quick, quiet and smooth, and with the controls on the unit itself, your partner can control the unit without much effort from the back deck. This saves time and you never have to take your hand off of the rod and reel.
The Talon comes with two wireless key fobs. One we mounted on the dash and one on a lanyard we put around the front-deck angler’s neck. We have found, however, many times the backseater can do it easily with a simple push of a button on the top of the unit, if the unit is mounted directly to the boat and not the jackplate. When fishing alone, the wireless key fob is mandatory. We have found the Talon actually makes us fish more effectively and indeed more slowly. Being able to pick a tree or bush apart with multiple casts also allows us to put more fish in the boat that without question we would have missed by fishing too fast.
The Minn Kota Talon is a very simple to operate piece of equipment and we have found it to be dependable and precise.
Installation of the Power-Pole Blade is a bit more involved due to a pump system placement, but overall it was a straight-forward install as well. Bleeding the hydraulics was simple, programming the keyfobs effortless and the options with C-Monster Smart Phone Application and wireless foot switch provides versatility for the angler. Wherever you are, both inside and out of the boat, you have the ability to raise and lower the pole.
We installed the wireless dash switch, foot switch and kept the lanyard attached key fob as a backup in the glove box. Positioning of the switches should be carefully considered before permanently mounted them.
We really like the ability to program the rate of deployment, and the Blade is designed to securely lock in place when not in use. The Blade comes with everything including hardware needed to transom mount the unit. A bracket is needed if you choose to use the jackplate mount.
The fishing advantages of the Blade mirror those of the Talon but we really like the profile, durability engineering, and proven track record that comes with the Power-Pole. The pole itself is lightweight and tough as nails. It holds the twenty foot Ranger securely and the unit is very quiet both lowering and raising the unit. We also like the color coding options of the Power-Poles to match your boat.
Cost versus advantage
Shallow water anchors provide a high level of competitive advantage for shallow water applications and techniques. Most pros agree that these have become an absolutely necessary piece of equipment for competing at the top levels. Being able to thoroughly dissect structure or sit quietly on a bedding fish can mean bigger and more fish.
Both Talon and Power-Pole have a variety of models, sizes and price points, and they indeed provide a competitive fishing advantage for anglers of all skill sets.