anchoring up to fish structure--dos and don'ts
I personally love to anchor and fish versus drifting mainly because I don't have to worry about steering the boat and can focus on my fishing and cover an area well.. what I try to be conscious of though is anchoring where others do their drifting. You can still fish the same water just anchor outside of the drift and cast to drift your jigs or work your plugs. A lot of dirty looks are sent my way at times but if I'm there first and got up at 3am to do so, in my eyes, it's first come first serve and don't be shadowing the hole I'm fishing. It's just common courtesy to stay clear of anyone that is there first, including and especially shore fishers.
now since we're past the etiquette part let's anchor up!..
1) know the area, know where the anchor can grab something solid. do this by silently(gasser off) drifting the spot with sonar taking note of rock piles and such that the anchor can grab, up current and a 1/2 a cast away from the target area. If the bottom is slick your going to need a lot of weight to hold you in current.
2) Now you need to circle around once you've drifted waaay beyond the target area and line yourself up with the anchoring structure you noted. an electric motor on the bow can really be the cat's ass here both to help keep you're drift correct and also to slow your boat to seat the anchor in well and solid.
3) well before you get to the anchor point, and while drifting backwards release the anchor and allow it to fall freely to the bottom laying enough slack rope out to give about a 30degree angle of the rope and allow the teeth to dig into the bottom. Once you have enough slack out you can hold the rope tight and start feeling for the anchor to lodge.. all this should be done with the gasser off and electrics wide open if you have them.
4) Great caution should be taken that nothing is tangled around the anchor line (like your feet, fishing rods, etc) ... and once you have the boat stopped that your cleat tie is secure.. I like the gripper cleats that one just snakes the rope thru.. they hold great and releasing the rope is quick and easy. Also, ALWAYS tie off to the bow even when water doesn't seem that quick.. a tidal river's current can sneak up on you.
something I've used for years and has helped many times is to tie a docking buoy to the end of the anchor rope.. if the rope slips out of your hands while setting the anchor you could lose it all.. the rope won't float for long in the current.. and if someone hooks into a fish you need to chase, you can quickly release the cleat and throw the whole works to chase down the fish... when your done chasing, go back to the buoy and cleat the rope again.. your back in business and won't have to re-anchor possibly spooking fish in the process.. and you won't have to struggle in a hurry to raise the anchor when a fish is peeling line and you start to see silver in the spool.
also braided rope is so much better then twisted rope for anchor line.. it won't be a twisted mess when you need it..
keep a good sharp knife near the anchor incase you need to cut yourself free in an emergency.. and a pair of gloves will save a lot of rope burns.. the heavier the boat, the more it burns :)
Beware the "sneak attack"!!