This information was originally posted at the Learn To Catch Catfish website and has since been updated and moved here to Catfish Edge.
A couple of years ago I hacked together a shallow water anchor design from some materials I hunted down on the internet and named it the “DIY Shallow Water Anchor”.
Whether you call these shallow water anchors, anchor pins, anchor poles, portable trees or stick it pins the function is all the same, anchoring a boat in shallow water quickly and easily.
The original DIY Shallow Water Anchor design was something I didn’t put much though into.
I’d fished with these devices for years and used everything from fence posts and pipe to PVC. The problem I always had was everything was heavy, difficult to handle and it all had a hole running down the middle of it that filled with mud which then ended up in the floor of the boat (and all over my clients and I).
I wanted some “real” shallow water anchors but when I began researching them online the prices seemed outrageous. I had a real hard time justifying spending a few hundred dollars for some sticks that I was going to push in the ground so I set out in a quest to find something that would work better than the fence posts and PVC and was cheaper than being a manufactured shallow water anchor.
That’s not a jab at any of the companies that build these products and sell them complete. I’m sure they’re great people and build great products. I’m like any other fisherman though and have many wants and needs and have to stretch every dollar as much as I can. This becomes more critical when you’re a guide and you have to make every penny count!
Why Use a Shallow Water Anchor?
There’s a variety of benefits to using a shallow water anchor over a traditional anchor.
First and foremost a shallow water anchor allows you to quickly and easily anchor your boat in shallow water. You can hold a boat perfectly still and have it set in seconds.
When you’re moving you can pull the shallow water anchors, move and reset them and can do so very quickly.
Just wanting to hold your boat still for a minute to cover a spot thoroughly? It’s easy to do by sticking a single pole in the ground.
There’s no anchor rope, no backbreaking work pulling anchors, and if you’re skinny water fishing and concerned about spooking fish, setting the boat is much more stealthy with these things than lobbing a heavy anchor in the water.
Pushing into skinny water and shutting the motors down? No problem! You can use the pole as a makeshift push pole if needed.
There are so many advantages it’s hard to list them all. Let’s just say there’s a reason every bass boat you see has a motorized power pole on it. It’s the same concept (but much more expensive).
The Original DIY Shallow Water Anchor
I went through several design attempts with a variety of products when attempting the original design and they all failed or did not meet my expectations.
Most promising was the fiberglass sucker rod sold at Grainger and other retailers. It seemed promising at first but after the first use and having my hands full of fiberglass, I ditched the fiberglass sucker rod and moved on in my search.
This led me to online research where I found a promising product, a fiberglass rod that had a smooth exterior (the problem with the sucker rod) and a quick phone call to the company confirmed the outside was smooth.
I bit the bullet, tested them for a few weeks and was more than happy with my invention so I made a quick video and posted the original design on Learn To Catch Catfish.
Little did I know that the fishing world would latch on the concept and the DIY Shallow Water Anchor would become the hit that it did.
The original design was rough a simple fiberglass rod, a heat shrink sleeve (which I later decided was not needed) and a PVC T added to the end with epoxy and a rope inserted through it. The design worked but the PVC T was not a good fit and would come loose with long term use.
The other issue was the maximum length of the DIY Shallow Water Anchor was eight feet in length so if you were fishing with soft mud (like I deal with here in Texas) or were in water that was deeper than a few feet, the anchor wasn’t long enough.
I wanted the shallow water anchor specifically for catching shallow water blue catfish in the spring so they worked perfect for me during that time. When I had to venture beyond fishing in inches of water, I was forced to use my digger anchors again.
Since I published the first article and video, the company I bought the fiberglass rod from has kept in contact with me, we’ve bounced ideas off each other and they’ve taken the concept of that original anchor and run with it!
I’d love to claim that I was the mastermind behind all of this. I can see I’ve thrown many ideas at them and every single one of them has been developed. Most often my ideas are already in development when pitch them. The guys are good!
This is one of the great examples of a small business in America bending over backwards to fulfill a niche, save anglers money and build a great product.
The New And Improved Model
The availability of products and the end product of the anchor pins today is night and day different from the original design.
You can go all in and build an anchor that is as “fancy” as you want it to be, is the ideal length for you and your fishing application and is just as good as anything else you can buy (maybe even better).
The only thing you’ll be missing with the DIY model is a fancy sticker with a snazzy name on it.
I’ve joked recently about making some Catfish Edge DIY Shallow Water Anchor Stickers to send out just to make sure everyone has the “complete package”.
Shallow Water Anchor Options
Again, a lot has changed.
Here’s a run down on all the options.
You can buy the fiberglass rod in three different colors:
Does it matter? Well it does if you’re not a slimy old cat fisherman and you’re concerned about the way things look.
Maybe you want the rods to match your boat so black is a better option.
Then there’s camouflage.
Anchoring a boat in this manner is popular with duck hunters. Obviously if your’e super stealthy and out duck hunting Phil Robertson style you don’t want a giant white pole sticking up on the side of the boat mucking up your hunt.
Beyond that, pure cosmetics.
There’s now a “proper” handle with a good snug fit on the fiberglass pole.
The handle actually stays on the end like it’s supposed to, it feels much better in your hand and you don’t look like a slimy cat fisherman that’s glued a PVC T on the end of a pole and called it a shallow water anchor.
But hey, if you want to do that, totally cool with the cat fishermen, we’ll let you in the club.
If you’re one of those fancy smansy fishermen.
One of those guys with a glittery boat.
With a pressed shirt while your fishing with logos on every inch of your shirt for companies that don’t sponsor you you just sport them because “they look cool”.
You’re probably going to want a real handle and not a PVC T for an improvised handle.
It’s ok that you’re worried about looking cool, while your’e fishing.
Just stay back from my boat because I love it when catfish slime flies in your direction!
Stainless Steel Tips
Fishing where theres a hard or rocky bottom? Maybe you need to pound the shallow water anchor through some mussel beds?
The original anchor was left with a blunt tip. This made forcing it into firm ground tough.
I’m also told that forcing the blunt tip into a firm surface with long term repeated use would cause the end of the anchor pole to break down a bit.
I never experienced it but I’ve got Texas mud.
This is no longer an issue because you have the option of a stainless tip for the end to solve all of your woes and make you look even cooler, if you’re into that sort of thing.
If you need the tip for function, we won’t make fun of you.
But It’s Not Long Enough
That’s what she said!
In all seriousness. So if the simple one piece eight foot fiberglass rod isn’t long enough, you have the option of a threaded joint and can make the shallow water anchor any length you want.
You can even build them in a manner that allows you to adjust in multiple lengths all the way up to sixteen feet!
If a sixteen foot length is not long enough, you really shouldn’t be using one of these anyway and should be using a traditional anchor.
How To Build Your Own Shallow Water Anchor
For some reason, this is the part that sends everyone into a tailspin and they get confused and send me emails.
I have no idea why.
First let me say that building these is stupid simple. If you can change a light bulb you can build these.
If you can’t change a light bulb we don’t want you building one because your’e a danger to society and shouldn’t be operating a boat.
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Decide how many shallow water anchors you want.
2. Decide how long you want them to be.
3. Decide if you want them to have fancy handles on them.
4. Decide if you want them to have fancy tips on them.
5. Figure out what you need to order.
6. Get some two part epoxy while you’re waiting for them to arrive.
7. Glue them with the epoxy and let it set.
8. Go fishing and revel in the glory while you catch fish.
9. Laugh at the guys that have a $2000 motorized stick on the back of their boats
When it’s all done, shoot me an email and tell me how great I am.
Better yet send someone else an email or tweet them and tell them how great I am.
“I don’t always go fishing, but when I do, I use the DIY Shallow Water Anchor” <— Tweet It
“Why pay for shallow water anchors? Build them with these plans “ <— Tweet It
Click the links and Tweet it
Seriously, you’ll feel better when you do…..
Parts Needed To Build The DIY Shallow Water Anchor
OK, in all seriousness (or at least as serious as I get).
I’ll assume your going all in and getting everything so you have the full monty version. If not, you’ll have to figure it out yourself.
Now, before I proceed let me say this.
There are two different diameter fiberglass rods so in turn there are two different sizes of each and every accessory.
I fish from a 22’ aluminum center console bay boat and usually have 4-6 people in the boat. The smaller diameter works just fine.
If you have a big heavy fiberglass boat, you might want the larger diameter. Can’t help you with deciding which one you need I can only say this.
I’ve never stepped back and said “boy I wish mine was bigger”.
Bet you didn’t see that coming did you……….
If you’re building two shallow water anchors:
Decide which diameter you want (3/4” or 1”)
Order your materials:
- 2 Each – 8 Foot Fiberglass Rods (pick your color, white, black, camo)
- 2 Each – Stainless Steel Tips
- 2 Each – Fancy Handles
If you simply want two 8 foot DIY Shallow Water Anchors then that’s it, you are good to go and this os a very simple and straightforward process.
Need Anchor Pins Longer Than 8 Foot?
There’s no limit to the configuration options especially when building the modular system. Just beware that the more options you want, the more added extensions the more the cost ors up.
- 2 Each – 8 Foot Fiberglass Rods, 3/4” Diameter (pick your color, white, black, camo)
- 2 Each – Stainless Steel Tips
- 2 Each – Fancy Handles
- 2 Each – Stainless Steel Threaded Joiners
- 2 Each – Fiberglass Rods For Extension (Length Varies, See Below)
So you want two anchors that are 10 foot? You’ll need two 8 foot pieces and two 2 foot pieces.
So you want two anchors that are 12 foot? You’ll need two 8 foot pieces and two 4 foot pieces.
So you want two anchors that are 16 foot? You’ll need four 8 foot pieces.
Your’e going to take the one 8 foot piece, epoxy a stainless steel stip on the end and then use that to connect the other piece to it. That’s where you gain the ability to adjust the length and exceed 8 feet.
Not sure what you need? Want more than one option?
You sir are a high roller and we’re certain you can determine how to order enough extra pieces and parts to do what you need to do.
I’m going to throw the full meal deal at you though.
Let’s say you want a set of two shallow water anchors that you can go all transformer style with (sans Megan Fox) and want to have the ability to adjust from 8 foot to 10 foot to 12 foot in length.
This is what you need:
- 4 Each – 8 Foot Fiberglass Rods, 3/4” Diameter (pick your color)
- 2 Each – 6 Inch Extension, 3/4” Diameter*
- 2 Each – 2 Foot Fiberglass Extension, 3/4” Diameter
- 2 Each – 4 Foot Fiberglass Extension, 3/4” Diameter
- 2 Each – Stainless Steel Tips
- 6 Each – Stainless Steel Joiners
- 6 Each – Handles
With this package you can setup a super sweet multifunctional system with two module anchor poles 8’, 10’ or 12’ long.
How About a Modular Stow Away Option?
I throw the anchor pins in the floor of my guide boat or tuck them along the side near the gunnels.
I guide from a 22 foot bay boat so I have plenty of room but they still get in the way at times. I also don’t carry them with me at all times either. This means there are times when I wish I had them and don’t but really not a big deal for me.
I’ve been considering taking two of the four foot length fiberglass rods and using a stainless steel joiner in the middle, the stainless steel tip and a handle for a quick stow away option to put under the back deck of my boat.
This would allow for an 8’ shallow water anchor pole that breaks down into two four foot sections and could be stored easily at all times.
Obviously the configuration options are limitless and you could use three of the four foot long sections for a twelve foot long anchor or a variety of other options to meet your needs.
The link to the vendor to purchase the product is in part two of this article.
Click the “Take Me To Part Two” graphic below and then scroll down.