July 16, 2014
New automatic shallow-water anchors introduced.
Minn Kota Talon now offers a powered stake anchor that goes down to 12 feet.
The way auto-anchoring is going, you just might be able to power-stick your grouper rig on the reef at 110 feet before too long.
For the time being, though, you'll have to be satisfied with the latest in the how-low-can-you-go race, a 12-footer introduced this year by Minn Kota Talon.
Power-Pole, the Florida company which originated the category, had previously led with a 10-footer—and don't bet that the fertile mind of John Oliverio is not tinkering with a 15-footer as this is written. But for now, Talon has the lead.
Though the new Talon will stick bottom at depths to 12 feet, the housing is the same size as the original 8-foot model—a plus for back-deck anglers swinging a rod. The Talon spike deploys or retracts fully with one touch of the button, like the instant-down on power-windows, and can be controlled from the unit, from a foot pad mounted anywhere in the boat, or via a fob-type remote you can hang around your neck or keep in your pocket.
The spike has a high-speed deployment until it hits bottom, then drives itself in with three successive impulses. A LED system on the head shows how deep the stake has gone to assure secure anchoring in hard bottom areas.
The unit also has a rough-water mode to reset the stake as needed when waves or currents make it tough to stay put. A shock-absorbing system also helps to keep the stake planted. The Talon includes an alarm system that can be wired into the ignition of your outboard— if you turn the key on with the stake deployed, a buzzer reminds you to retract. Available swing-arm mounts allow installing a Talon or two on the jackplate at any angle, or they can be mounted direct to the transom. The unit is available in metallic red or blue, as well as in black or white. Price is $1,999.99 for the 12-foot model, $1,849.99 for the 10-footer.
Power-Pole this year went the other way, towards even shallower water and smaller boats. John Oliverio, the Tampa Bay flats angler who originated the shallow-water anchor after building a model out of Lego blocks (no kidding) around 2000, this year answered the prayers of thousands of ‘yak anglers with a Power-Pole that's ideal for small, portable boats as well as for ultra-light flats rigs and aluminum bass boats.
The first remarkable feature of the Micro Anchor is the size of the unit—at just 10 pounds, it's by far the lightest auto-anchor on the market, yet it can stick a boat at depths up to 8.5 feet. It's easily portable, as you can pop the spike out for transport.
And you can add an accessory lithium-ion battery, which means you're no longer tied to that gigantic block of lead, the 12-volt battery. The company says the portable battery will deliver up to 100 cycles before needing a recharge with the included charger. With quick-release mounts, the Micro Anchor is truly a portable system.
The Micro Anchor is tough, rated to handle boats to 1,500 pounds. And it's got the big-brother features of the rest of the Power-Pole line, including that very handy remote key fob or step-on foot switch. There's a USB connection for software updates, as well as Bluetooth connectability— you can run it from your Android cell phone, should you take a notion to do so. The unit I looked at recently was whisper- quiet thanks to the rubber rollers that control the spike, deployed very quickly, and bears a two-year warranty plus lifetime spike replacement.
You can easily handle the installation of a Micro Anchor yourself, even if you're not at all mechanically inclined. It can be mounted on a flat deck, on vertical transom surfaces, as a clamp-on at the transom, on a rail, or on a jack-plate with accessory bracket. The control head is waterproof at 1 to 2 meters per the specs. Price is $690 not including the lithium-ion battery and charger. FS
First Published Florida Sportsman September 2013