Power Pole or Talon

Trolling motor manufacturer Minn Kota has raised the competition for Power-Pole with a new shallow-water anchor called the Talon. Most anglers are familiar with Power-Pole’s hydraulic anchor, which deploys like a mechanized grasshopper leg. Minn Kota’s Talon, by contrast, uses a vertical telescoping spike to keep your boat in place.

In what other ways do the anchors differ? For starters, Talon is electric, not hydraulic like Power-Poles. It’s also vertical, meaning it doesn’t have any hinge points. Minn Kota touts this as an advantage: fewer moving parts, fewer repairs, and no hydraulic fluid leaks.

So, how does the Minn Kota Talon http://www.trollingmotors.net/accessories/minn-kota-talon.html work? At the touch of a button on the wireless remote, Talon deploys a telescoping composite fiberglass spike into the ground. There’s a built-in suspension system that allows your boat to bob in the waves without loosening the anchor.

The Talon also has an “auto-drive” feature, which hammers the anchor into the ground. Once the spike contacts the bottom, the Talon automatically drives the anchor deeper with three increasingly forceful hits. LEDs on the control panel lets you monitor the anchor’s depth.

In more turbulent conditions, the Talon’s “rough water mode” button repeats the auto-drive sequence three times in 10-second intervals – for a total of nine hits – to firmly anchor your boat. Power-Pole’s rough-water suspension kit, the Wave-Pak, is sold separately for around $190. (Its wireless remote is also sold as an accessory.)

Both manufacturers offer warranties – 3 to 5 years for Power-Pole; 2 years for Minn Kota – and both guarantee their spikes for life. And if you might be the type to get caught with your anchors down, so to speak, Power-Pole and Minn Kota have you covered. Power-Pole has “drive-off protection,” where the hydraulic pressure automatically releases if you forget to raise the anchor. The Talon sounds an alarm when you start the engine with the anchor deployed.

Though the Talon introduces handy features, some anglers are concerned that the vertical control panel could interfere with casting or get caught in branches. Power-Pole doesn’t have this problem, since the pole lowers into the water away from the boat.

In the end, the decision between Power-Pole and the Talon is a matter of preference. Some will rely on Power-Pole’s reputation and history; others will be lured by the Talon’s new features and design. Generally, though, the pro-con list would look something like this:

Pros: more anchoring/retracting force; Talon remote http://www.trollingmotors.net/minn-kota-talon-remote.html included; built-in rough-water mode; fewer moving parts; manual retraction if power fails; cheaper than PP’s Signature Series.
Cons: shorter general warranty; vertical design (potential obstruction); manufactured by a newcomer in the anchor industry.

Pros: longer warranties; deploys down and away from boat; longstanding industry reputation; better color selection; Sportsman Series is cheaper than Talon.
Cons: slower deployment; more moving parts; possibility of leaks; wireless remotes and rough-water kits sold separately.

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