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Santa was good to me this year by getting me a windlass for my boat. The winlass is a horizon 500. It let's line out at 98 feet a minute and retrieves at 62 feet a minute. My boat is a 22 foot w/a, and I do alot of anchoring.

I have heard a couple of different opinions on a free fall vs. a power down. Suposedly power down does not get tangled but is to slow, Where a free fall is faster but tends to get tangled.

Can anyone with some windlass experience give me some advice? I would like to do it right the first time around.
 

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I have the same one. First, go up one or two sizes on your anchor. I'm using a 12 or 15 Danforth and it floats with the 1/2" line in deep water. Takes some getting used to. About tangling, even the power down picks up a twist or bad lay in the anchor box every now & then.

When you drop it, don't put the engine in reverse. Tap it into forward every now and then to keep you as stationary as possible until the anchor hits bottom and you get slack. Keep feeding it line and allow the boat to drift slowly away. Keep nudging it into forward if it starts to drift too fast. When you get some decent scope out, let it fetch up.

Bill Sullivan
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Nor'east Saltwater
 

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Another tip, practice over sand bottom in about 15-20 feet of water where you have slow tide and pick a day without wind. You'll get the hang of it after a few tries.

Bill Sullivan
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Nor'east Saltwater
 

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Bill is right,last season I installed a Simpson freefall on my boat and did manage a few twists here and there,but it is the bes thing I ever installed on my boat.Another thing you might try is putting a swivel between the anchor and the chain,I think it helped me a little.
paulie

"Fishing with an Attitude"
 

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Yeah, I added the swivel & it helped. But every now & then I get a turn & have to either haul 10 feet and start to drop again or go forward & clear the twist by hand.

Definitely a big plus, I make a lot more drops in one day now that I don't have to pull by hand. Makes flounder fishing easy.

Bill Sullivan
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Nor'east Saltwater
 

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Free Drop is the only way to go if you are serious about bottom fishing. With power out you can drift way past the peice and never actually anchor right over it. I have the good brand windlass set up to handle rope and chain (20 FT of chain). I have personally anchored wrecks in 160ft of water and got them in the first shot due to the free drop. Also important to know your alturnators output at various rpms. I always keep at 1800 rpms when pulling the anchor. Also be aware you need a very supstantial wire up to the windlass depending on distance. In my case $300 worth of wire to do it the right way. I love it the only thing that would be better is a hydrolic hauler but thats for my next vessel with two anchors on a bow sprit.

Capt Mike
 
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