Jon Boat Anchor Guide. Picking The Best Anchor For A Jon Boat

Jon boat anchor

Sometimes you’ll want to make sure your Jon boat stays in the same spot where you stopped it. With moving water you will of course need an anchor but with so many choices available which one should you get?

How To Pick The Best Anchor For Your Jon Boat

How do you choose the best Jon boat anchor?

Many Jon boat owners will have an anchor at the front and one at the back (or side) to hold the boat and to also stop it swaying.

There are 4 anchor types that work best for Jon boats; box anchor, fluke anchor, grapnel anchor and pole anchor.

Flat bottom boat anchored

The choice you make depends on the size of your Jon boat and the environment in which you use it.

Jon boat anchor selection starts with knowing your boat dimensions

There are 4 anchors which suit a Jon boat very well.

Of course there are other anchor types but we have found the four mentioned below to be very effective at holding a Jon boat and stopping it from swaying.

How you choose the one that suits you depends on the size of your boat, how you use it and the type of water you use it in.

For many Jon boat owners, and boat owners in general, picking an anchor becomes a bit of a guessing game.

Hopefully after reading this article you will not have to guess and will be able to pick the correct anchor type and anchor size for your specific boat.

How to choose the correct anchor weight

There is a big misconception among a lot of boat owners about the weight of an anchor.

Many people believe that heavy anchors are better at holding a boat than lighter ones.

But, this is not necessarily true.

Just because an anchor is heavier doesn’t mean it is better!

Obviously with much bigger boats the size of the anchor will be a concern but with Jon boats you should focus less on the size of the anchor and more on its holding power.

There are super lightweight small anchors that weigh less than 5lb but that have a hold capacity of over 1000lbs, so weight doesn’t always matter.

An anchor’s holding ability is a better indication of its usefulness than its weight.

How to choose the correct anchor size

Although weight is not the most important metric when considering the correct anchor for your Jon boat, size most definitely is.

Bigger anchors have more holding power due to their larger surface area and are also more resistant to breaks.

Bear in mind though that although bigger anchors are almost always better than smaller ones that doesn’t mean bigger is better for your boat!

Obviously for hunters, anglers and people who use their Jon boats for utility and transportation having as much space on the boat as possible is important, as is keeping load weight to a minimum.

Bigger anchors take up more space and are usually heavier than smaller anchors meaning the bigger option will mean less space and weight capacity on your boat for gear and passengers.

The best advice I can give you is to go with the biggest anchor that’s suitable for the size of your boat.

Don’t go above that though as you won’t get any extra benefits and the bigger anchor will just take up more space and increase your boat’s weight in the water.

However, ensuring you have an anchor that is the biggest recommended for your size of boat means you won’t be caught short if the wind picks up or the weather gets bad. You don’t want to discover your small anchor is inadequate for the job.

You don’t need the biggest anchor you can find but you should get the biggest one recommended for your boat size, but no bigger.

As most Jon boats are 21.5″ in length or less for most Jon owners a small sized anchor is all they’ll need.

The anchor rode length and width is an important consideration as well

A good rule-of-thumb for an anchor line, also called an anchor rode or anchor chain, is to make sure you have about 5 times more line than you need.

This means the length of the chain or rope should be five times greater than the maximum depth of the water you are in.

anchor rope and anchor chainAnother good rule-of-thumb is to have 1/8″ of line diameter for every 9ft of boat length – especially if you are using rope.

If you are using a pole anchor system then you will need to have a pole that is roughly 8 times longer than the water depth.

The 4 Different Types Of Jon Boat Anchor & What They’re Good For

Many Jon boat owners will have 2 anchors on their boat – one at the front and one at the back (or side) to both hold the boat and to also stop it from swaying.

Although there are many different types of anchors available we have found that there are four types that are very well suited to a Jon boat.

The 4 anchors best suited to a Jon boat are:

  1. Box anchor
  2. Fluke Anchor
  3. Grapnel Anchor
  4. Shallow water anchor pole

Which one is best for you and your boat and which is best for the front and which for the back?

Let’s look at each of these anchors in turn to see which one is the best fit for your boat and your needs.

1. The box anchor is a great all-round Jon boat anchor

A box anchor is a big favorite for mud bottoms but can be used in most environments. It is so called because of its box-like shape.

Where other anchor types, like a grapnel anchor for example, may be unable to “find” anything to hook onto, a box anchor will have no problems holding in sediment or sandy bottoms.

a box anchor
Box anchor

A box anchor has a self-adjusting design that lets it adapt to changing weather and water conditions.

Unlike many other anchor types there is no need to reposition the boat and reset the anchor when conditions change. The anchor will simply move to reposition itself at the optimum angle for the new conditions.

This box anchor, in a small size, is perfect for a Jon boat.

2. The fluke anchor is great for sandy bottoms

A fluke anchor is popular with boaters who navigate waters with very sandy bottoms. It gets its name from its pointed flukes.

These flukes dig into bottom sediments for a very strong hold.

The fluke anchor is also known as the Danforth anchor and the “lightweight” due to its lightweight nature.

As well as being very light a fluke anchor has the added advantage of being foldable so it can be stowed flat thus taking up less space on the boat.

Fluke anchor
Fluke anchor

Even though it is lightweight it holds very well and is equally as good in mud and sediment as it is in sand.

A fluke anchor is often found in smaller boats as it is one of the lightest anchors you can get, yet is exceptionally strong.

A fluke anchor is good choice for wither a front anchor or a back anchor if you are using two anchors.

This very popular fluke anchor is really well priced (about a third the price of some others) though you will need to source your own line.

3. The grapnel anchor is a great bow anchor & great for rocky bottoms

A small grapnel anchor is often the preferred choice for the front of the boat to stop it swaying once you’ve anchored the boat securely via the back anchor.

However, it is an equally good back anchor especially in spots where the water bottom is rocky.

The shape of a grapnel anchor lets it hook onto rocks on a riverbed or lake bottom and once it is wedged into place it has great holding power.

Foldable grapnel anchor
Foldable grapnel anchor

Grapnel anchors are a popular choice for use on kayaks and other small flat bottom boats.

Although standard grapnel anchors are fine this type of folding galvanised grapnel anchor is very popular among Jon boaters because it’s lightweight and folds making it easy to stow.

It also comes with a 40ft marine grade rope. I use this in conjunction with a pole anchor.

4. Shallow water anchor pole – the unmoving anchor system for a Jon boat comes in 2 types

A shallow water anchor pole is very popular with Jon boat owners because it’s super easy to use and has great holding capability.

A pole anchor will usually come in two types:

  1. Manual
  2. Powered

Type 1. The manual Jon boat anchor pole

A pole anchor works in a very basic way to secure the boat.

Manual pole anchors are fairly inexpensive and can be used in one of two ways:

  1. The pole is run into the bottom of the riverbed and with the boat tethered to the pole; the pole act likes like a standard anchor. The boat will move with the water as with a standard anchor.
  2. The pole can be inserted into a fixed mounting on the boat. Thus when the pole is run into the ground it will hold the boat securely in one spot without the need for line. Most boaters will mount the pole bracket that houses the pole to the transom or bow.

Let’s take a look at these two methods in closer detail.

How to tether the boat to the pole

A pole anchor can be used in a very basic way by attaching rope to it and running it into the bottom of the river or lake.

boat tethered to shallow water pole
Boat tethered to shallow water pole

The other end of the rope is attached to the boat thus making the pole act like any other anchor.

You need a mounting bracket on the boat

Another, more popular way to use an anchor pole, is to insert it into a bracket, that looks like a rod holder, which permanently attached to the boat.

With a bracket fitted all you have to so is simply insert the pole into the holder and run it into the riverbed or lake bottom.

These anchors are great for holding power and they obviously take up very little space in the boat.

manual pole anchor
Manual pole anchor in bracket attached to boat

Obviously they can only be used in shallow water but as a Jon boat is built for shallow water pole anchors are a common sight on Jon boats.

If you just use your Jon boat in very shallow waters then a pole anchor is probably your best option.

Perfectly good manual pole anchors like this are sold for less than 200 bucks and are fine for most Jon boats.

They are also considerably cheaper than the powered alternatives.

Type 2. The power pole Jon boat anchor system

Electrical power pole anchors come in different types from the basic to the more advanced.

Here you can see the different types of powered pole anchors available which range in price from several hundred dollars to just under two-thousand dollars.

Power pole anchors are pricey. If you have the budget you should consider getting one.

Keep in mind though that they don’t really offer much more holding power than manual poles do. They are just more convenient to use.

Micro power pole in action on Jon boat (video)

Why A Complete Jon Boat Anchor System Will Have Both Bow & Stern Anchors

As I have already discussed many boaters will have 2 anchors on their Jon boat; a stern, or side anchor, in addition to a bow anchor.

This double anchor system will give much hold to a Jon boat boat in place and also greatly reduce (if not completely eliminate) swaying.

There are very cheap anchor sets that include a small grapnel anchor and a pole anchor for bow and stern respectively, like this one.

Keep in mind that if you want to mount the pole you will need to buy a mounting bracket separately.

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