Of all the accessories I’ve bolted onto my boat over the years, the Talon has to be my favourite. This shallow-water anchor from the ever-reliable Minn Kota brand is a mechanical arm that extends down from the transom of your boat to the sea bed to hold your boat stationary.
They have been around for a few years now in the tournament fishing scene, both here and in the US, but are becoming increasingly popular among recreational fisherman and your average weekend warrior. The reason I wanted a Talon is that although I have a bow-mounted Minn Kota electric motor that I use religiously for estuary fishing as well as shallow-water squid fishing in bay areas, sometimes you want to completely stop. Electric motors these days can do some pretty fancy things with GPS Spot-Lock features and autopilot modes but they still have fluctuations in accuracy when it comes to locking yourself in place while fishing (although the new Minn Kota electric motor claims to have remedied this – Ed).
The full benefits of the Talon are evident when flats fishing. Often when flats fishing there is a strong tidal push across the area where you are working; combine this with a 15-20 knot breeze and you’ll find it hard to stay in place or position the boat where you want it. That’s where the Talon comes into its own. I can pick an area, whether it’s a drop-off or weed bed or any type of structure, place myself within casting distance, hit the button on the remote and permanently anchor myself in position. After that I can pick out a new area, motor over, lock myself down with the Talon, and continue to work the zone until it’s time to move again. I can honestly say I have caught fish solely due to having the Talon and in so many situations that if I had to choose between it and the electric motor, I would choose the Talon. Oyster racks, rock walls, drop-offs, piers, jetties and pontoons are just some of the places where the Talon is highly effective.
I chose the Minn Kota Talon over other brands because of the simplicity of its design and the ease of installation. Some other brands of shallow-water anchor require hydraulic pumps with lines that must be run through the transom, and the way in which they deploy is with a hinge-like movement that reaches out away from the boat. The Talon, on the other hand, is entirely internally motorised. Once you’ve found a place on your transom to bolt it on, it’s a process of wiring two thin-gauge wires to your main battery and you’re ready to go. It’s all electric and can be controlled from a wireless remote, as well as buttons on the top of the actual unit. The Talon deploys in a telescopic style, with the bottom section being a near-indestructible fibreglass rod that can flex and twist with the boat’s movements to avoid transferring stress to the base of the unit at the transom. The 12ft model is the only model available in Australia. I have a six-metre deep-vee open boat that is quite heavy for its size and I can comfortably hold bottom at a depth of 3.2m on a calm day. In choppier and windier conditions the Talon still holds the boat at 3.0-3.1m. These measurements would also differ from boat to boat depending on where you position the unit and the depth of your transom.
I can’t rate the Talon highly enough and I couldn’t imagine having a boat without one. It’s just such a useful tool that allows me to brave winds and currents that I previously wouldn’t have contemplated fishing in. I find myself using it for all types of other situations, such as waiting to retrieve at the boat ramp, pulling up at a bank to retrieve a lure and jumping out for a swim without having to worry about your boat drifting away. I also use it to stop and re-tie leaders without spooking fish by drifting over them. It’s definitely something I would suggest for anyone who is keen on estuary fishing.