To knot the end of your anchor rope or not to knot. That is the question.

I have read a number of discussions concerning the type of knot to use on the free end of an anchor rope. I have always been taught to leave it free so that a hung up anchor in fast water can be let go to forgo the risk of the anchor rope jerking the boat to a stop and pulling the transom down and flooding the boat from the stern.  Carrying a very sharp knife is one solution to quickly cut the rope if the anchor cant be released, but sometimes there is not time.

We had an incident on the Missouri River in Montana a few years ago where it appears that the anchor was dropped in fast water and hung up, jerking the boat to a stop which caused people to fall out of the boat and the boat to flood with water.  Sadly one of the fisherman that fell out of the boat died of injuries and/or drowning.

I have always felt that losing an anchor, which sometimes can be  recovered on a subsequent trip with some heavy spin casting gear and treble hook to grab the rope, is far better than losing a life or flooding a boat.

I would be interested in hearing others opinions and experiences on this matter.

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I don’t have more than 80 bucks in an anchor and rope. I’d rather burn that 80 bucks then lose my boat or anyone’s life.  I had to ditch an anchor once just because I simply couldn’t get it back. That cut the fishing short big time. Now I carry an extra rope and a net to rig up a bag of rocks if necessary.

When I guided in Montana I was taught to leave the anchor rope free of knots, fortunately I have never stuck an anchor nor had to deal with the issue. I can point out the spot on the Snake River in Idaho where we lost an outobard motor that wasn't secured to our gear raft, knot the same issue but the post reminded me of the story of knots and when to use them.

Rick N

I was advised on this site years ago... "no knot, let the anchor go". Good advice. I anchored one time in swift water in order to hold a fishing spot. It held, and we fished, but it wasn't a good idea. I recovered and everything turned out okay. But when you are trying to pull in an anchor while trying to hold two oars ready, things can go wrong fast. But at least I COULD have let the rope slip if needed.

I was reading an older thread on this site recently where none other than AJ DeRosa suggested tying an overhand slip knot with a long tail at the end of the anchor rope. That way if the line ran out to the knot and you needed to dump the anchor rig, a quick tug on the tail would release the gear. 


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