A boat is only as good as its equipment. It’s true that for some pursuits, having a simple tiller-powered waterborne conveyance is all that’s needed. To have a boat that’s focused on one task or one that’s versatile enough to accomplish several things, however, you must accessorize. In the last few years, we’ve come up with so many great products to make boats safer and easier to use. Advancements in electronics and technology have played a huge part in this.
This week, I tested the Minn Kota Talon Shallow Water Anchor System. The Talon is a replacement anchor that’s designed for shallow water and it fulfills the same role as the stake-out poles that were so popular in shallow water fishing a few years ago. The Talon is a mechanical device that inserts a spike into the sand or mud bottom to keep a boat in place. Since the Talon is an electro-mechanical device, it only requires the push of a button to activate and within a few seconds, the boat is quietly secured in one spot. In situations where it’s likely that wind or current would spin the boat on the single spiked spot, a conventional anchor can be used in conjunction with the Talon to keep the boat in the same orientation. It’s also possible to install two Talons that will stick the boat in-position with the push of a button.
I tested the 12-foot silver and white model on a 24-foot Sea Hunt. The installation is best done by a professional. Boats Unlimited in Greensboro, North Carolina did a great job getting the depth set so there’s a few inches of the unit in the water at rest, but it’s out of the water when underway and on-plane. With our installation, there are three locations on the boat to activate the Talon. It can be activated on the unit with blue LED lights to indicate how much of the spike is extended. It can also be activated with a remote control on a lanyard to be worn around the neck or wrist, or it can be activated from the helm with another remote mounted to the panel with a special mounting bracket.
The Talon anchor is available in six-, eight-, 10-, and 12-foot models and uses an extremely strong three-piece mounting system. The whole unit extends only a few feet above the deck of the boat. The newer 10- and 12-foot models are no larger than the earlier six- and eight-foot units. As the spike extends into the bottom, it uses Auto-Drive, Minn Kota’s name for their auto extension system, to pound the spike in. As the spike reaches full extension, you can feel the stern of the boat rise.
There are three different anchoring modes, Auto-Drive powers the spike into the bottom with three aggressive hits. Soft Bottom mode is a more soft insert for muddy bottoms where a hard push isn’t needed, and in rough water, or when the tide level rises, the owner can activate the Rough Water mod, which initiates three Auto-Drive extensions at 10-second intervals to get a better bite.
Much more effective and easier to use than a conventional anchor, the Talon is an asset to any boat that needs to spot in one place. The addition of the 10- and 12-foot models to the Minn Kota line put the system past being “just” a shallow water anchor system to a mid-depth anchor system.
Image courtesy Dick Jones