Don’t get carried away with Coopers
  |  First Published: February 2010

Boat anchors are a very important piece of boating and fishing equipment and can often play a vital role in the successful outcome of a fishing trip – as I was soon to find out.

About a month ago my neighbour and I decided to take advantage of some reasonable weather and good tides and fish a very small plane wreck in about 100ft of water. The underwater terrain is mostly a muddy silt and whilst the wreck is pretty reefy the current really dictates that the boat must be anchored away from the actual structure to allow for baits to be drifted back into it. Sand-style anchors with plenty of chain and plenty of rope are the ideal equipment.

The spot is renowned for holding good reds and fingermark, as well as big grunter, cobia and the odd big cod. Success at this spot however doesn’t require flash reels or rods or even live bait but relies solely on the ‘hang’ of the boat. As little as 3m past the wreck will see plenty of disappointing bludger trevally action but no traces of red coming up from the deep blue. Therefore, the position of the boat and bait is crucial.

Anchoring the boat is always a painstaking job at this wreck, as it is only the size of a couple of small cars, and it is not uncommon to spend a good 45 minutes getting the boat in the right position.

We arrived at the wreck and dropped the buoy over the side to provide us with a visual marker as to where the wreck was located. Conditions were flat, which always makes anchoring a little easier, and we found the lie of the current and so dropped the big sand anchor over the side and proceeded to drift back over the wreck. Amazingly the first hang set us right over the wreck and the first three baits were quickly inhale by some hard fighting fish.

Catching a few coral trout, fingermark, and large-mouth and small-mouth nannygai confirmed that we were superbly positioned over the wreck. Then in typical Bowen fashion, the wind and the waves began to get up and make things a little less uncomfortable.

Nevertheless, we persevered and the next drop saw a triple hook up again, but this time on disappointing bludger trevally. The baits went over again and once again the bludgers came out to play and it was then we knew that the increased swell had caused the anchor to drag and we were no longer on the wreck but sitting in prime bludger country.

We had two options: Either keep catching bludgers or pull the anchor up from the dark depths below and reset again. We decided on the latter, however, this time it took four more sets and a good 25 minutes before we were back on the mark and into the reds. But once again as the weather began to pick up, the anchor continued to drag despite letting out a heap of rope and doubling the amount of required chain scope.

We only really moved a couple of metres but it was enough to take us off the structure and into the bludgers. After more stuffing around and some pretty heavy blowing and puffing dragging the anchor off the bottom the wind had got up and we had to head home knowing full well that our inadequate anchoring equipment had cost us the opportunity to land some cracking fish.

Back on dry land I was pretty frustrated and after discussions with a good friend I purchased what I was told is ‘the best anchor on the market’ – the Coopers Anchor. And it has grown to be the best piece of fishing equipment I currently own.

What makes this anchor so special is its design. It can be used in reef, gravel and soft bottoms eliminating the need to carry two anchors in the boat. Living in Bowen a typical fishing trip can see you fishing in the creek one minute and then out the shoals and inshore reefs the next and having to change anchors can be time consuming and painful, especially as most anchors as stashed well away under floors. This anchor is a one type fits all and has so far never let me down over sand, mud, rock, reef and shale.

The Coopers anchor for my boat, which is rated between 3-5m, weighs a measly 2.3kg. This was a crucial factor as most anchors I researched had great anchoring capabilities but were very heavy, which didn’t really suit the various styles of fishing I do. The Cooper Anchors on the other hand was lightweight, well sized and was adaptable to creek, reef and even deepwater options.

Its special breakaway cable tie setup also means no more diving over the side to release stubborn anchors. It eliminates the dangerous practice of driving off stubborn anchors that destroy the reef below. The breakaway system is quite simple. There are a number of holes along the base of the shank where the anchor chain can be attached. By attaching the anchor chain to the top hole and using a zip tie to fasten the chain to the bottom of the shank, when force is applied the zip tie breaks away and the anchor is able to be removed backwards without damaging the underwater terrain.

The best bit about the Cooper anchor is that it is affordable. At just $55 the anchor is a steal, especially compared to other similar anchors on the market. And the icing on the cake is that they also delivery! This is great for blokes like me who live a couple of hundred kilometres to the nearest stockist and don’t want to pay twice its price for postage.

I have used the Cooper anchor on reef, sand, gravel, rock and even terrain, which is a combination of all four, and it has performed faultlessly. I have not had to waste valuable fishing time stuffing around with anchors or re-anchoring over spots due to drifting or losing grip. Fishing the plane wreck has been a breeze and even in rough conditions the Coopers has held everytime.

The Coopers anchor really is a great piece of boating gear. So if you are in the market for a new anchor or you are after a simple but highly effective set up for all underwater conditions give them a go, I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed. If you are after more info you can check them out online at http://www.cooperanchors.com.au/ .

Note: I have no affiliation with Coopers anchors at all. I just think they have a great product!

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