The word "anchor" starts visions dancing in my head of handling a heavy, muck- and weed-coated chunk of metal connected to a slimy wet rope by a length of rusty chain.

Perhaps my poor personal anchor maintenance habits have me a bit jaded, but I hate to drag one of the nasty things into my boat. I'd much rather just press a button to pin my boat in place, then fish. And when I'm done fishing, just press another button and move to another spot.

Powered pole-type anchors let you do just that in shallow water, and Minn Kota's new Talon is the smartest one I've seen.

My introduction to anchoring with poles came a few decades ago while fishing inshore saltwater flats with Gulf Coast guides. Electric trolling motors that could actually survive in salt water hadn't appeared yet, and a guide would drift to a fishing spot or use a pole to quietly push the boat to it across the shallow flats. He'd stop a cast away from his hotspot and jam the pole into the bottom on the upwind or upcurrent side of the boat. Then he'd loop a rope around the pole and tie it off to a cleat.

After we caught or spooked all the fish on that spot, he would pull up the pole, clean the muck off its bottom and stow it before moving to our next stop.

Minn Kota's Talon can be mounted on your transom, the engine's jack plate, or part of its mounting bracket can be sandwiched between your engine and the transom if you don't have a jack plate. The mounting bracket can compensate for up to 30 degrees of transom tilt without needing any shims, and it includes a quick-release feature that lets you easily remove a unit from your boat.

Talons come in black or white and with spike lengths of 6 feet, 4 inches ($1,299) or 8 feet, 4 inches ($1,449), and the 8-foot model weighs 32.5 pounds. The fiberglass-reinforced composite spikes that contact the bottom are guaranteed for life.

Talons come standard with a full set of head-mounted controls and two wireless remote controls. The units are totally electric and have no hydraulic lines to route or pumps to mount; a Minn Kota engineer I spoke with estimated that they can be installed in about a third of the time it takes to mount a competitive hydraulic/electric model.

Remember me mentioning that Talon is smart? Out on the water, once you sneak the boat to within a cast of your fishing spot, you simply press a "Down" button twice (for safety reasons you have to hit it twice so Talon knows you didn't just bump the button accidentally), and then just reach for your rod and reel. Talon automatically extends until the spike digs into the bottom.

An auto-drive feature then waits three seconds and tries to drive the spike down again, waits three more seconds and tries to drive it down a third time. By then, you should be pinned in place and hopefully already have a fish in the boat because you were casting while the smart anchor did all the work.

Talon even has a rough-water mode for those days when the wind is up. It repeats the auto-drive sequence three additional times at 10-second intervals to make sure it gets a good grip on the bottom, and then a wave-absorption feature acts sort of like a suspension system to keep the spike locked into the bottom. A row of LEDs indicate how many feet the spike is extended, and you can also hold the button to lower the spike manually to any depth within its reach.

Retracting the spike takes only one press of the "Up" button, and Talon includes a connection to your engine's ignition that sounds an alarm if you try to drive off with the spike extended.

Talon anchors are not just for saltwater, and Minn Kota reports a considerable amount of interest from the bass-boat market.

Some fishermen are mounting two Talons on their transoms, one port and one starboard, to prevent swinging, and Minn Kota offers a special 4-button remote that can control the two anchors together or individually.

If you fish shallow water a lot, and easy anchoring sounds good to you, you can visit minnkotamotors.com or call 800-227-6433 for more information.