Tommy Tregle’s self-designed, self-built boat is wonder of efficiency. Custom-built of welded aluminum, it is 18 feet long with a 12-inch V in the bottom. It looks like a hybrid between a mud boat and a bass boat with a center console.

But the dangest thing is his version of a Cajun anchor. A trolling motor mount on his bow has a 12-foot length of 1-inch PVC pipe in the bracket instead of the motor. (He has his trolling motor mounted on the opposite side of the bow.)

To give the relatively limber PVC pipe some backbone, Tregle has inserted a snuggly-fitted, solid wooden core. “Without the PVC, a bare wooden pole will break,” he said. “With the wood in the PVC, it will bend until you think it will break, but it won’t.”

Tregle started the wooden insert by finding a 12-foot length of fir with no knots. With a table saw, he ripped a square length of it slightly larger than the inside diameter of the PVC pipe.

He rounded the square wood to fit the pipe with a planer. He planed it just enough to fit in the pipe. As he shoved the wooden insert in, he planed the wood wherever it stuck in the pipe.

When he got near the end, rather than planning to wood down enough to fit, he heated the PVC pipe with a torch to make it expand, then jammed the wooden insert into it. When the PVC contracted as it cooled, it firmly gripped the insert. He then planed the exposed end of the insert to a point to allow it to more easily penetrate the lake’s bottom.

The pipe is clamped loosely enough in the trolling motor bracket to allow the pipe to be raised and lowered by hand. When he is ready to travel he pulls the pipe up until the expanded end at the bottom is snug in the bracket, then picks up the bracket just like he does with the one holding his trolling motor.

He didn’t seem impressed by my enthusiasm over his invention, but explained its value. “If you get on a good spot, it’s hard to hold the boat right with a trolling motor. You might catch 10 in a good spot with the anchor. Without it, you might catch one.”