We’ve been fortunate at Jackson Kayak to team up with one of the most innovative companies in the fishing world – JL Marine Systems, makers of the Power Pole and now “Micro Anchor” product that is perfect for kayaks, jon boats, canoes and more. I was sent a prototype unit to test out and give some honest, real world, feedback. I was happy to do so and this is my review of the new Micro Anchor.
First of all I fish all types of water and I already know I’m going to be using this inshore, and in shallow lakes and ponds. What I was most curious about was if the Micro Power Pole will be a hit on the river as well. Jameson Redding, my dog Lu and I grabbed our Big Tuna’s and headed off the New River to see how it handles in very rocky flowing water and here are my thoughts.
First of all, like a “drag chain” or any type of river anchor you’ll never want to deploy it in water that is too swift. What’s too swift? Well, I always follow the same rule I do for a drag chain – “if I can’t back paddle back upstream then its too swift to deploy.” With a drag chain I go by that rule because the way to get a drag chain unhung (if it does hang up) is to back paddle the same direction in which your kayak originally floated downstream. Once on the opposite side of the rock or log your chain usually pops right out with a small tug. So, with the Micro Power Pole I’d say you could potentially drop it in water that is a little swifter because you need not back up to get it off the bottom, but rather just hit the button on your remote control to get it off the bottom. If for some reason the unit fails and does not come off the bottom there is a safety rope that stays right by your kayak seat and you can pull it and it releases the entire unit to swing up and then you’re free.
So, once I deployed this prototype I learned a few things.
1. The unit will indeed stop you in areas of gravel, sand or mud where it can drive down (keep in mind you can adjust how hard you want it to drive down into the earth below the water). In areas of larger boulders or rock it will drive down against the rock and then depending on the shape of the rock and direction of the current, or the amount that your boat rocks side to side, it will free itself from the rock until it hits another shallower rock as you move downstream (similar to a drag chain); so now, it’s acting like a “drag pole” rather than an anchoring pole. Of course once you are drifting and you’ve gone into deeper water you can retry to anchor down firmly by double tapping your “down” button on your remote control; if it is sandy, muddy or gravely you’ll indeed stop if that is what you’re wanting to do.
2. I was using an 8ft pole with the unit but if I were using this solely on this particular river I would have used a 6ft pole instead; the 8ft pole makes it challenging to go under limbs near the river bank without unhinging the unit via your pull cord (which isn’t hard but you’d rather not do it if you don’t have to). With a 6ft pole, after you lower it “slightly” down with about 4-6 inches in the water (meaning another 6-8 inches are above water until it enters the unit) it makes a 6ft pole stick up only about 5ft from the deck of your kayak. Other slower and deeper rivers I might would stick with the 8ft pole. Then again, I may even look to get a 4ft pole to use in smaller creeks knowing that they don’t get as deep and that would put about 3ft of pole above the kayak where I could really get under almost any limb without having to pull the release lever. The good news is that the unit will work with any 3/4 inch spike/pole so you can get a few sizes and adjust accordingly.
3. It is definitely a lot easier than using a drag chain because you simply have to hit a button. Double tap the down button on the remote and it drives down until it hits the bottom and stops you. Then, once you want to move again it is a simple double tap of the up button and it goes all the way up. If you want to manually control it, then simply hit up or down without the double tap. However, if you’re planning on fishing deeper rivers it is still wise to carry a small anchor or drag chain if you do want to stop in a deep hole. After all the Power Pole is, as they say, a “shallow water anchor.”
4. If you use this unit with a larger battery that weighs enough to affect the balance of your boat, I’d recommend moving it toward the internal bow area. The unit weight and battery directly on the stern is not ideal if you are picky about balancing your kayak. I had my battery in the front hatch and it balanced my Big Tuna perfectly.
5. In terms of “ease of use” it is very simple to use and it was brilliant to include 2 waterproof remotes – one that can install on the side wall of your kayak where your hand falls and another that is on a lanyard that you can put around your neck or in your PFD pocket or wherever.
6. The price point of $595 spread out across the course of its life and considering how much easier it will make your life on the water is actually about where it should be. The only question will be do you have the money to spend on something that you technically don’t “have to have” to fish in a kayak, but may allow you to catch more fish and make things a little easier. That can only be answered by you!
As far as the fishing goes the unit helped me catch the biggest Walleye I’ve ever caught! This thing was 23.5 inches long and probably 5lbs or 6lbs!
All in all I definitely liked this product in a river environment. I’m looking forward to taking it on some saltwater flats to sight fish and on a lake or pond for bass next! As far as rivers go I feel it is best suited for the many across this country that have gravely, sandy or muddy bottoms. If I only fished in shallow muddy, gravely or sandy bottom rivers I’d definitely get this product. If I ONLY fishedrivers with bigger rapids, rocks, boulders and constant depth changes, I’d probably stick with a drag chain or other techniques since you’ll be fishing the most wild and crazy environments there are. Of course if anyone out there fishes inshore salt, lakes or ponds then you better have this thing on your Christmas “wish list” because it does make life on the water so much easier to stay put when you want to stay put!
To get more information on this product visit its page on the Power Pole website here.