Shallow Water anchors have been around for some time, and many changes and upgrades have been introduced. As most of you know, my anchor of choice is the Minn Kota Talon. I've had the pleasure of using both brands of shallow water anchors, so my opinions are not one-sided. If my only choice was to purchase one at retail, I would definitely choose the Talon over other brands.
Before I explain why my choice would be a Talon, I'd like to go over the many different uses. Some of them are obvious, and some are not well published.
Uses of the Talon
- Sight Fishing - Boat position is one of the most important key elements when sight fishing for spawning Bass. If it's in your budget, I would always suggest rigging your boat with two Talons. One is great, but two is always better. With 2 Talons you can position your boat exactly where you need it, and not have to worry about using your trolling motor to keep your boat from pivoting out of the zone. Talons also deploy straight down so your boat anchors right where you intended it to be. Other brands scissor back, then down, sometimes pulling your boat backwards from the position you had intended to be anchored.
- Fan Casting - Whether your anchored off a shallow point, a submerged or emergent grass bed, or trying to find that sweet spot on a shell bed, utilizing the stopping power of the Minn Kota Talons will allow you to effectively cover every inch of a spot within your casting distances without missing key areas, due to boat repositioning.
- Live Bait Fishing - I've been a professional guide and tournament Bass fisherman for over 18 years. It's still hard for me to believe that at age 39, I've been doing anything for that long. Fishing for trophy-sized Largemouth Bass with live Wild Shiners, though not possible through out much of the country, is a staple when it comes to being a successful guide in Central Florida. Sometimes I use my Minn Kota Fortrex 112 to troll shiners over open water and submerged grass beds. When it gets too windy, however, or when I find a concentrated school of Bass, I usually deploy my 12' Talons to hold me on the spot. It's way more convenient, and less messy, that dragging out 20 lb. anchors, dropping them down in the mud and tying them off to a cleat. If I Talon Down on a spot and the fish move, with a couple clicks of the button, I can easily retract the Talons and reposition the boat.
- Docking - This seems to be the least talked about, but probably one of the best, uses for a Talon. The picture below was taken by Tim Price (Minn Kota Pro-Staff Manager) at an iCast event on Lake Toho from 2015. Notice there are no dock lines securing my boat to the floating dock. With both 12' Talons deployed, I can keep my boat anchored securely in the spot I parked it without worrying about it slamming into or rubbing up against the dock. In the world of Bass fishing, more now than ever, your boat is your biggest investment. Why would you use a $2 dock line to tie it to dock that was clearly not built by anyone who actually owns a boat.
Benefits of the Talon Over Other Brands
- Rigging - If you own a socket set, and you should, and you know 'left loosey, righty tighty', you can rig your own talons. While it's still more convenient to pay a trained professional, it can easily be done at home. I've personally rigged dozens of them.
- Storage Space - The electrical rigging of a Talon consists of 2 mandatory wires and an optional green wire (warning signal - to the ignition). Smaller, 17' & 18' bass boats are very popular here in the Orlando/Kissimmee area because of lack of garage depth in most of the houses. Smaller boats mean smaller battery compartments. Other brands of shallow water anchors use hydraulic pumps to stow and deploy their anchors. These pumps have to be mounted somewhere. Many times there is barely room for one pump, let alone two, in the battery compartment of a small bass boat. If there's no sufficient room there, where to you mount the pumps? In a rear storage compartment. Smaller boats have less storage to begin with. Now you have to give up one of those compartments for hydraulic pumps? Doesn't seem like a good decision to me.
- Docking Again - As I mentioned early, Minn Kota Talons deploy vertically; meaning their telescopic construction deploys them straight down. Other brands scissor back and down, which if in a shallow docking area, could mean another boat may dig their boat and/or outboard prop into the anchor. I've seen it happen several times. "My poles are down. Don't hit them," is an often heard comment while staging before early morning takeoffs at both fruit jar and sanctioned tournaments.
I didn't write this blog to start a conversation as to which brand is the best, or make a statement that one is inferior to another. This article is simply my educated opinion on why I choose to use Minn Kota Talons over other brands of shallow water anchors. I fish 300+ days per year. I have to depend on my equipment to perform day in and day out. I will not use a brand simply because it's free or discounted. The money my customers pay me to perform far outweighs the products I can receive from a sponsor. So, this is why I choose Talons as my brand of shallow water anchor.
Thanks for reading!
Chuck Pippin Jr.
Chuck's Trophy Bass Guide Service - Orlando / Kissimmee, Florida(407) 580-8458