I knew the entry was a little hairy (down a pretty steep drop and directly into current), and on arriving saw that the river looked pretty intimidating. A couple even stopped by as I was unloading to caution me that the river was running pretty rough. I assured them I was fine, showed them my lifejacket, pocketknife and drybag with a change of clothes in my hatch. I slid the Coosa down the hill, plopped in and headed on.
I floated maybe 100 yards when I realized I could hear rushing water. I then realized I hadn't done my due diligence and checked the river thoroughly on Google maps (or done a run in slower flow conditions) before setting out. Anchor time.
On the topic of my anchor, I'd been meaning to fix my drag chain for a while - it was a little jinky. Not my standard Flexi leash, but a Dollar Store knock-off with flat tape instead of cord. Instead of a single sufficiently heavy drag chain, a pair of three-pound handweights added to an insufficient drag chain. When I kicked the anchor rig off the back it didn't go under the back 'anchor groove' properly, but fell off to the side. The Coosa kicked sideways in the current, I felt the anchor grab the bottom... and then GRAB the bottom. I sat perfectly still. Considered grabbing my rod. Felt quoozy as the Coosa swayed in the current in a wholly unnatural manner. I decided it was time to use the pocketknife on the anchor rope... and shore fish for the rest of the outing.
I pulled onto the little rocky shoal on the side, went down and investigated the rushing water... if I'd have gone through, I would have been in some serious trouble. I know the Coosa could likely handle the water... but no way did I want to test it out by myself on an unfamiliar stretch of water with water temps in the mid 40s.
Rough day overall. I lost a mess of lures (being able to collect them from the kayak is definitely an advantage), and there was no way to go back up against the current (I'm usually a 'there-and-back' paddler). I ended up climbing up a seriously steep grassy bank... but wait, it'd been raining recently, and rain + grassy banks = mud. I dug some footholds and muled the yak up and onto the road.
Skunked to boot. But I did relearn a couple of things...
- 75th percentile of flow on an unknown stretch of river can be pretty fierce
- NEVER anchor in extreme current
- Keep your pocketknife accessible (I had it Velcroed to my life jacket)
- Don't explore 'unexplored territory' alone