When fishing in windy conditions, choppy waters, or anywhere there’s even a fairly peppy current, you and your kayak are going to drift.
And that can be maddening when you’ve just located a prime spot for catching fish.
But help is at hand, as we explore the best kayak anchors for fishing on the market.
A buyer’s guide with some alternative options and essential safety tips will follow – so don’t miss that.
Table of Contents
- The 7 Best Anchors for Kayaks 2023
- How to Choose the Best Anchor for Kayak Fishing
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The 7 Best Anchors for Kayaks 2023
How to Choose the Best Anchor for Kayak Fishing
Below, you’ll find some handy tips, tricks, and advice on what to look out for when it comes to choosing and using a kayak fishing anchor.
Pay particular attention to the safety guide – as anchoring a kayak can pose a lot of risks, depending on the circumstances.
Do I Need an Anchor for Kayak Fishing?
The short answer is no – you don’t need an anchor to enjoy kayak fishing. Many anglers do fine without, especially when fishing sleepy lakes, slow moving rivers, and on calm, windless days.
That said, there are those who prefer a challenge, and enjoy fishing in choppier waters, peppy rivers, and when there’s a bit of a bluster on.
Of course, the weather and conditions can change in a heartbeat, and there’s little more maddening than when you’re in a prime spot, wrangling with a beast and your best kayak fishing rod, only to start floating away.
In the end, it’s up to you to decide which style you would prefer, taking into consideration where you’re fishing and the conditions you’ll be fishing in.
Again, you don’t need an anchor – but it can be the best solution if you don’t want to drift for whatever reason.
Maybe you simply want to enjoy the view?
Types of Anchor
Anchors have been used for thousands of years, and there’s a wealth of designs that have been shaped by years of seafaring experience.
But for kayaking, you’re not going to get the kind that cruise liners use or that are tattooed on the forearms of old sailors.
The most common style is the folding anchor, which usually has four tines, flukes, shanks, teeth (or whatever you want to call them) that fold back against the anchor shaft.
They look similar to a grappling hook used by secret agents for climbing over walls, and are most suitable for rocky and weedy bottoms.
As useful and popular as they are, they can have a tendency to scoop up debris and make a mess of your kayak when bringing it in.
Mushroom anchors are useful as more permanent anchoring solutions. So-called because of their mushroom-shaped head, they are designed to sink into the bottom and displace their own weight.
This type of anchor is more suitable for muddy, clay, and even sandy bottoms, where material will drift onto the anchor over time and form a rock-solid anchor point.
They’re not the best option as a temporary solution, but they do still have their place in the kayak fishing world for those who know how to use them.
A versatile option is the Bruce (or claw) anchor, named after its inventor Peter Bruce who came up with it on the Isle of Man back in the 1970s.
They offer kayakers a number of advantages, including the ability to make 360-degree turns without the need to retrieve the anchor from the bottom.
Ideal for sand and gravel, it sets easily and is perfect for shore areas or anywhere the bottom consists of loose debris and sediment.
They also don’t move or shift with tide or wind changes, instead aligning into the direction of the force for a dependable anchor point in multiple conditions.
Stakes or pole anchors are exactly that – a long piece of material – usually fiberglass or something light but durable – that you drive as a stake into the bottom.
They provide a great solution for shallow, flat waterways, are easy-to-use, and are much more portable than some weightier anchors.
Since they only go up to about eight feet in length, they’re not so hot in deeper waters.
Many kayak anglers prefer to use brush grippers, which are clever devices designed to attach onto branches, bushes, logs, or any other suitable anchor points you might find along a bank or shoreline.
All you need is a solid, stationary object, and you can attach the clip and rope to it to stop yourself from floating away. And because of their unique design, the harder you pull against the rope, the tighter it will grip.
Obviously, the major downside is you need to be near an anchor point in order for it to work – which might not always be possible depending on where you’re fishing.
Finally, drift chutes are ideal for use when the wind gets up, and you simply want to slow your kayak down to fish an area more thoroughly.
While they won’t stop you dead, the fact that they’re super lightweight, safe, and easy-to-use, gives them several advantages over traditional, metal anchors.
Size and Weight
For kayak fishing, you should be looking at anchors that are somewhere between 1.4-5 lbs in weight.
It’s not rocket science really, the larger and heavier the craft, the larger and heavier the anchor is going to need to be.
You should also consider larger, heavier anchors if the conditions are particularly choppy.
But remember – if you think you’ll need anything heavier than eight pounds, you probably shouldn’t be out in those conditions anyway.
The best kayak anchor systems will use a trolley kit that allows you to adjust the kayak anchor point if the need arises.
It’s a set of ropes and a ring that will run the length of your kayak, and when your anchor is attached to the ring, it ingeniously allows you to change where the anchor point is located around your craft.
Some fishing kayaks come with trolley kits already built-in, while others you’ll need to either purchase one, or rig one up yourself.
They’re ideal for fishing in windy conditions, offshore, or anywhere currents are subject to change, so you can set the anchor point from the cockpit, enabling you to face the direction of force.
You don’t need an anchor trolley kit on your kayak – but they are highly recommended for extra control and safety when fishing more challenging angling scenarios.
How to Use a Kayak Anchor Safely
It’s vitally important you know how to use an anchor safely when it comes to kayak fishing.
If it’s attached in the wrong place, or the conditions are too rough, there’s a very good chance you’ll flip your boat.
In a nutshell, always attach an anchor at the bow or stern of your kayak – never the sides – and make sure you use the right length of rope for the depth of the water.
Check out the very informative video below for a visual guide for how to anchor a kayak safely.
And remember to always wear a certified life preserver – whether using an anchor or not. Check out this link for some awesome fishing PFDs that include some useful features for angling.
Some fishing kayak anchors might come with some extra accessories, depending on the product you choose.
Look out for all-inclusive kits if that will help keep things easier for you – anchors that come with ropes, floats, clips, and storage pouches are always convenient.
Kayak anchors don’t cost the earth, but you’ll pay a bit more for innovative, unique designs.
And anchors made from premium materials can also inflate the price.
So long as you’re suiting the type of anchor to your kayak and fishing conditions, then budget shouldn’t really come into it.
What is the best anchor for a kayak?
There are several anchor types that could well lay claim to being the best for kayaking, but in the end it’s going to come down to your own kayak and the conditions you’ll be fishing in.
As you can see from the reviews and the buyer’s guide above, there are different anchors for different situations. It’s not about being “the best” it’s about being the best for you.
How do you anchor a kayak?
With great care and a strong attention to safety. Always anchor your kayak at the bow or stern – never at the sides.
Watch the video below for some expert advice on how you should be rigging an anchor for your kayak.
Do you need an anchor for kayak fishing?
No, but it will certainly help if you’re fishing anywhere there’s a current, tides, or even the most moderate wind.
You can still fish without one, but unless it’s a calm day on the lake without a breeze in the air, the chances of drifting will be high.
How long should a kayak anchor line be?
Whenever you hear anyone talking about anchor scope – this is referencing how long the line needs to be.
Scope refers to the depth of the water and the length of the line required for it. The jury is out on the perfect ratio, and it will vary depending on the type of boat you’re using.
But for kayaks, a general rule of thumb is 7:1. For every one foot of water, you should have seven feet of anchor line.
It’s always better to have too much, rather than too little.
What weight anchor do I need for my kayak?
It depends on the size and weight of the kayak (and everything on board) and the conditions you’re in.
You’ll find that most kayak anglers make do with 1.5-5 lbs anchors, as anything more is usually considered overkill for this size of craft.
Can I use anything heavy as a kayak anchor?
Yes and no. Some anglers prefer to rig up their own, home-made contraptions, and this may or may not work given certain circumstances.
You’re certainly not going to get the same success as with a dedicated kayak anchor – and you should also consider the possible damage you might do to the bottom.
This is particularly important if you’re fishing near coral ecosystems. Dropping a homemade weight down might not be the most environmentally-friendly option.
Being able to anchor your craft when you’re fishing can be an important step in achieving success out on the water.
And since there are several choices when it comes to the best kayak anchors, I hope this article has shed some light on the options available.
Let me know which one you would prefer and why – or tell me about your setup and what works for you.
Stay safe, tight lines, and happy fishing!