How to use a Kayak Anchor

Ready to take to the waters with your kayak? Don’t forget to bring along an anchor! While kayaks are valued for being lightweight and highly portable, these qualities also mean that your vessel is easily moved by currents and wind – and this is where an anchor comes in.

Importance of Anchoring a Kayak

Anchoring your kayak can easily make the difference between a satisfying or a frustrating trip. For example, let’s assume you’ve just discovered a sweet spot to throw your fishing line: Would you rather spend time fishing or fighting the current to maintain your position?

Anchoring also prevents you from drifting when you want to take a break from tedious paddling or when you want to keep an eye on the kids as they explore the great outdoors.

It’s clear that an anchor is a must-have tool to remain stationary in a body of water for any number of reasons. But remember, not all anchors are created equal. They come in different sizes, shapes, and designs. The trick lies in finding an anchor that’s best suited for your kayaking location and needs.

Tips on Using a Kayak Anchor in Shallow Water

Kayaks are generally great for nearly every condition, from white-water river rapids to gently floating in a calm lake. But they particularly shine in shallow waters (especially fishing kayaks) since they can get into hard-to-reach spots – and effectively sneak up on fish.

However, managing the kayak position in the wind is arguably the greatest challenge encountered by paddlers. For this, you need an effective anchoring system. There are many different types of anchors available but a traditional grapnel anchor has been proven effective over time.

The best kayak anchoring technique for shallow water involves an anchor trolley and a normal anchor. These devices are quiet, quick, and they don’t take much space on the kayak. Read on to find out more on anchor trolleys and anchors.

  1.  Anchor Trolley

An anchor trolley is an ingenious apparatus that runs along the length of your kayak on either side. A typical anchor trolley consists of deck loops on the bow and stern, 2 keeper hooks (or cable clips), a carabiner (ring in the rigging), and an optional shock cord/pulley to absorb movement.

It creates an adjustable point of attachment to the kayak – i.e., it’s more of an extension of the anchor line. The anchor line is attached to an adjustable cleat, then it goes through the carabiner ring. You can pull the trolley line backward or forward depending on your desired positioning. Wondering what’s the point of an anchor trolley?

  • Positional and directional flexibility: Traditional anchor systems allow you to stay in one place – but a change in wind direction often pushes the kayak to the opposite side. With an anchor trolley, you can maintain the position and face the desired direction, even when the winds or currents change. In short, you can fish in a tailwind, headwind, or crosswind.
  • Convenience: Looking for an easier anchoring experience? An anchor trolley is compatible with different anchoring systems – e.g., you can switch from a grapnel anchor to an anchor pin or drift chute with ease. The adjustable anchor cleat also eliminates the need for installing multiple stationary cleats for different anchoring positions.
  • Control: The trolley system gives you more control when turning the boat around or pulling the anchor. This allows you to optimize the outcome of your kayaking trip – whether it’s fishing or having fun.
  1. Anchor

An anchor is great for anchoring down your kayak in a specific spot. These tend to come in several sizes such as 1.5kg and 700g which are suitable to different sized boats: the larger your boat the bigger the anchor needed.

A key point on selecting a kayak anchor is to choose one which is foldable so as to be able to store it away inside your kayak when not in use. Space is precious on your kayak and you want to maximise it as best as possible.

Anchors come in all different styles: from a grapnel anchor to a mushroom anchor, to anchor pins. At the end the choice is yours. We tend to keep it simple and go for the standard grapnel anchor that is tried and tested.

All you need to do is find your spot, and drop it down using your anchor trolley and place it at the far end of your kayak. If you are going to an area with lots of rocks or trees underwater, then it’s a good idea to use a kayak anchor breakaway system. There's plenty of videos online on how to rig this up such as the one below.

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If you’re planning to go somewhere where you need to anchor down then make sure to buy yourself an anchor and set up an anchor trolley system. Remember if there's debris under the water then make sure to set up a breakaway system or you run the risk of losing your anchor.



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