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  1. It’s funny how you can have a fishing boat, large or small, and it works pretty well for catching fish, but then you add a new piece of gear and SHA-ZAM! It really works better than ever. Like a 19-foot Patriot boat I had long ago. It wasn’t a fishing boat until I got some new Bert’s Custom Tackle rod holders. Or the Raymarine autopilot that made a 30-foot Dorado into a dream fishing machine. I figured out how to troll my 21-foot Starcraft with the main 175 Merc and trolling bags to slow it down, but it really became a delight to fish out of when I started using the Minn Kota Autopilot trolling motor mounted on the bow to steer. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and of course I’d heard about how these bowmounts worked well for this sort of duty, but never really needed to try it until my wife took the wheel one time on Lake Ontario. It’s largely true that the trolling motor saved my marriage. The latest add-on to my current boat, a 14-foot Hobie Pro Angler, might not seem significant, but man is it ever. It an Anchor Wizard anchoring system and it immediately made fishing out of my pedal-powered kayak a whole lot easier. I’ve had my Hobie for about four years, and it’s rigged pretty nicely. It has a little Humminbird 385 electronics unit that features GPS mapping and sonar. I added a stand-up bar that makes it easy to stand and fish and several Scotty rod holders for trolling. It’s tricked out, but for me, boat control—especially in wind—was really challenging. The first largemouth I caught out of it was about three-pounds and actually towed me into lily pads. So wind blows it around like a leaf on the water’s surface. The Anchor Wizard changed all that. My old friend Jeff Wenzel is doing some marketing for Anchor Wizard and needed a kayak to test out a new kayak model, so I was lucky enough to have the first one ever made installed on the Hobie. We screwed down the two main components on my yak yesterday at the ramp on Corey Lake in southern Michigan. It consists of a pivoting tube with a base you put on the bow, and a one-hand crank placed at a reachable place on the gunwale. The whole shebang took less than a half hour to install, and I’m extremely inept with all manner of tools. We added a 5-pound anchor purchased at Dunham’s in Three Rivers. The A.W. allowed me to work breaklines and stretches of lily pads with ease in the strong west wind. All I had to do was drop anchor, make a half crank to stop the anchor line from paying out, fish, loosen the crank a half turn to let the wind push me back, fish and repeat. Then I easily cranked in the anchor so it stowed in the tube, pedaled to a new location, loosened the handle to drop the anchor again, tightened and started fishing. Not quite as easy as a bowmount trolling motor, but darn efficient. So now I’m in trouble. My boat fits in the back of my pickup--it's still there from yesterday--and public access signs to all sorts of lakes line the roads within a 20 mile radius of Paw Paw. I am fired up to explore! Just when my wife was getting used to me hanging around home when I can’t get out on Lake Michigan.
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