My introduction to anchor mooching began at Vitskari Rocks – about 7 miles west of Sitka. It took just a few forays out to Vitskari for me to realize that all anchor positions are not created equal – not even close. In fact, there were two sets of GPS numbers that we all coveted and we wanted to be on them exactly. A couple hundreths of a mile in position represented the difference between success and failure.
Vitskari is just one of many gravel flats that we fish over and I’ve observed two strategies employed by very succesful skippers. There is the Vitskari strategy of knowing a particularly productive location, driving to it, lining up the anchor shot, and plunking on it. This approach doesn’t involve looking for active signs of life, it’s all about being in a historically productive address on the structure. The second approach is to meter around and locate schools of bait or individual fish on the sonar. Which approach works better? That’s tough to say. I know some great fishermen who plunk based exclusively on location. I know other equally excellent skippers who never plunk without first locating baitfish and/or fish on the screen. The positional approach requries a bit more patience, but the fish eventually arrive. The active signs of life approach often produces immediate results, but the show might move on and not return. Maybe it’s like investing – do you pick value companies and hold or do you search for what’s hot at the moment? In the right hands, each approach has its moments.