Kayak Anchor Guide – Weight, Lengths, Prices, Trolleys

Ideally, the kayak anchor should not weigh more than 3-pounds. They range from 1.5-3.5 pounds. One that is 1.5 lbs is heavy enough for an inflatable. A larger heavier kayak needs one about 3 lbs.

You need a kayak anchor if you are going to spend some time idling on the waters, whether it is to catch some fish, enjoy the view, or take some photos. But, how heavy should the anchor be? Most people assume that since the kayak is lightweight then the safe bet is to use a heavy anchor. This couldn’t be far from the truth!

The anchor you choose will depend on where you will be stopping on the water. If you will be stopping where you don’t have to worry about current then you should opt for a 1.5-pound anchor.

If yours is an inflatable kayak, don’t go beyond the 1.5-pound anchor weight. If it is a non-inflatable, ideally, you shouldn’t go beyond a 3.5-pound anchor.


Finding the right anchor

Anchors come in various shapes and sizes. The type of kayak you have, the area where you are going to anchor and your needs will determine the kind of anchor you get. If, for example, you are going fishing, you want your anchor to keep you adrift on a given spot without being affected by things such as currents, winds, or tides. You want an anchor that will keep you in one spot and not drift you away at the first change in tide or current!

Let’s have a look at the common kayak anchors on the market:

  • Folding anchor: A folding anchor is a favorite among most kayakers. It can be used on any type of soil at the bottom and it is compact and foldable when not in use. It comprises four hooks which when folded-out take on the shape of a grappling hook. You can take the folding anchor on calm water. You can also take it on fast-flowing water. The downside though is that you have to constantly worry about the anchor getting caught on something! Another downside is that if thrown in fast-moving water could result in your kayak flipping over!
  • Mushroom anchor: The mushroom anchor is best suited for calm waters. It takes an upside-down mushroom shape hence the name and is designed to slowly bring the kayak to a stop. It is a good option if you are worried about flipping your kayak as you come to a stop when you throw the anchor into the water. You don’t have to worry about a mushroom anchor getting stuck or causing too much damage to your kayak.
  • Claw anchor: The Claw anchor is best suited for waters with strong tides and winds. You have to have the right throw if the anchor has any chance of grabbing the bottom. The waters you venture into have to have plenty of sand or mud to make the grabbing process easy. The downside of this anchor is the amount of mud or sand you have to shake off when done paddling.


You need an anchor for kayak fishing to keep you in same spot. If you want to enjoy your experience on unstable waters then you need an anchor.

An anchor helps you stay adrift in a given spot as you go about trying to catch some fish. An anchor is essential if you will be taking your kayak where there may be a current or wave, however small it may be. If you don’t, you will most likely spend precious fishing time paddling just so you can maintain your position.

Don’t go buying just about any anchor however as there is a few things to consider before zeroing in on one. You need to pay attention to the type of kayak you will be using.

Is it an inflatable or non-inflatable? If it is an inflatable then you don’t need a heavy anchor. The average anchor weight for kayaks is between 1.5 and 3-pounds. Kayaks being small vessels don’t need plenty of anchor weight.

Things to look out for when using an anchor

There are different types of anchors on the market suitable for kayaks. Examples include the mushroom anchors, grappling anchors, and the craw anchors.

You need a line to throw the anchor into the water. How much line should you take on your fishing trip? Typical kayak anchor lines measure around 30-40 feet since rarely do kayakers venture out to waters beyond 10-30 feet.

Ideally, the line you carry should be long enough to be lowered into the water while leaving plenty of line to securely tie it off. There is an art to lowering an anchor, simply throwing it and hoping for the best will not do. You need to position yourself on the kayak and slowly lower the line until you feel the anchor grab or hit the bottom.

There are specific places to put your anchor. You may put it at the front of the kayak, at its nose. This option is great if you wish to fish to the left or right of the line. Be careful though not to throw your fishing line near the anchor line as the caught fish may get entangled and cause unnecessary trouble!

The other spot you can tie your anchor line is at the back of your kayak. Tying the anchor line at the back is considered the best for most kayak fishers as it allows you to fish in three positions: the left, right, or center.

When you are done fishing, don’t be in a rush to retrieve the anchor as this can be dangerous. You need to carefully retrieve it to avoid overturning the kayak!

Should you buy an anchor?

The only kayakers who may not benefit from having an anchor are those who intend on fishing on very calm, still water. Otherwise, if you wish to enjoy a good fishing experience then you should consider buying an appropriate anchor.

It is a perfect companion if you venture into unstable waters. It can be a wonderful accessory to have if you are going into waters that are affected by unstable waves, current, or winds.


The best kayak will keep you securely in place even if you are faced with strong tides or current. The weight and size you need depends on situation. It will not take up plenty of room on your kayak and will not flip your kayak when thrown into the water.

There are various things to consider when searching for the right kayak. The weight and size of your kayak is the most important thing to consider. You don’t want to go for an anchor that won’t keep you securely in place. For example, you don’t want to go for a heavy anchor if you are using an inflatable. You might just get flipped over!

Things to consider

Weight and size are important when searching for the best anchor for a kayak. However, there are other things to consider such as where the anchor will be mounted on your kayak and whether or not you need a mounting plate.

Weight is important but size should not be overlooked when searching for a kayak anchor. Size is important for determining the anchor’s holding power.

When it comes to mounting, if you have an inflatable kayak, for example, you may not have a mounting location so you will have to utilize the stern or bow as opposed to tying the anchor on just about any part of your vessel. If you want an upstream cast then you should mount on the bow and if you want a downstream cast, you should mount from the stern.

Anchors for kayaks on the market:

  • Mushroom anchor which resembles an inverted mushroom is best used in waters with soft bottoms such as sand, soft mud, and silt. It brings the kayak to a slow stop. Although used by large vessels for permanent mooring, there are smaller versions that can be used by kayakers. They are perfect for a lunch stop or fishing.
  • Grappling hook anchor/ grapnel/ folding anchor is a compact anchor that can be used on most waters. It provides good anchoring support. They provide for convenient storage as they are designed to fold up when not in use. For good holding power, the grapnel anchor has to be hooked onto an object such as a rock. Grappling hooks have a strong holding power once hooked on a given object.
  • Claw anchors provide strong holding power against windy conditions. They are best suited for open water bodies and areas with strong tides or current. Claw anchors can be taken to different bottoms such as rock, coral, sand, or mud. They may not be used on hard surfaces such as bottoms with heavy grass or clay.
  • River anchor which as the name suggests are best suited for the river. They can also be taken to lakes and mud-bottom ponds. River anchors have a strong hold thanks to their three blade design.
  • Fluke anchor which has a good hold no matter the bottom is a lightweight anchor that is ideal for large kayaks.

The grappling anchor is a favorite for most kayakers. It is compact, lightweight, and easy to store. It has a decent holding power although it can be ineffective when introduced to weedy bottoms.


kayak anchor line should be about 40 ft long. The line can be 3-5 times the depth of water in which the anchor will be thrown. For example, if you will be anchoring in 10-feet of water then a 30-50-feet line will do. If, however, you will be anchoring on very choppy waters then you will benefit from having more line length.

Pick a short line and you will have trouble securely tying the line to the vessel. Pick a long one and you may fumble with all the extra rope as you lower or tie the line. So how long is the most appropriate line length? The length will depend on how much water you will be anchoring.

Generally speaking, you should go for 1/8” of anchor line diameter for each 9-feet of boat size. As for length to anchor in the water, the amount should be 8 times the depth of the water that you will be anchoring in.


What to look for in an anchor line

Type of rope

Two types of rope can be used. There is the twisted type and the braided one. The braided rope is strong and flexible compared to the twisted rope one. On the downside though, it is difficult to splice and it has limited stretch. The twisted rope can be easily spliced and won’t cost you an arm and a leg. It also stretches more than the braided one. On the downside though, a twisted rope is stiffer thus making it more likely to bend.

Of the two, double-braided nylon or three-strand nylon will do for most anchoring needs.


Material used

With kayak fishing, most anchor lines will do just fine. However, nylon carries the day compared to most. This is because it provides good shock absorption thanks to its elasticity. Besides, it provides good strength and is light and flexible. It will also have no trouble sinking in the water. On the downside though, nylon tends to break down faster than other ropes meaning that you will have to replace it over time.

Other rope materials that may be used are polypropylene and polyester.


Breaking Strength

The anchor you buy will determine the breaking strength you should look out for in a line. The breaking strength refers to the amount of weight a given line will be able to hold before it snaps and breaks.

Boat Size

The length of the line you get will be determined by your kayak size. Small kayaks call for less line length.

What else do I need?

In addition to rope or line, you need a small chain to attach between the anchor and the rope. Ideally, the chain should be half the size of the rope. A chain is also essential if you will be kayaking in rocky bottom areas. The chain length can be at least 3-feet long to your anchor.


An anchor trolley is a rope and loop system for the kayaker to gain better control when paddling over unstable waters by providing flexible anchoring positions.

The best spots to tie an anchor on your kayak are the bow and stern. Being able to shift the anchor between the two spots can be done with the help of an anchor trolley. They are especially useful when you go paddling in deep waters as they make anchor retrieval easy.

When it comes to anchor positioning, you need to ensure that the anchor points at either end of the vessel. The anchor point should be either at the front of the vessel or the back.


How does it look?

An anchor trolley comprises of three main parts: a ring, rope, and two pulleys. The rope is tied on the ring then positioned through the pulleys. When done, you will be in a position to attach the anchor rope with the anchor.


Why do you need an anchor trolley?

You will appreciate installing an anchor trolley when you are out on the water and need to make numerous adjustments thanks to the ever-changing current, wind, or tide conditions. Besides gaining control and flexibility of the kayak, there are other reasons why you should consider having an anchor trolley. It can:

  • It can help you stay in one spot and face the direction you wish to face. You don’t have to paddle all over the place trying to fight against the current every time you wish to change positions.
  • It provides flexibility with changing currents and winds for an easier anchoring experience. A change in wind direction should not give your stress with an anchor trolley in place. It makes it possible to quickly make necessary adjustments.
  • It is compatible with different anchors. You don’t have to worry about finding the right anchor for the anchor trolley as it is compatible with most anchors. If you have more than one anchor then you can easily switch them up depending on the water and weather conditions.
  • They are affordable. You don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to have one installed on your kayak.
  • It makes it easier to retrieve an anchor when you are done fishing. Anchor retrieval can be dangerous if not done right and so you need all the help you can get!

Consider an anchor trolley:

Compatibility: Although anchor trolleys are generally designed to fit most kayaks, it pays to ensure that it is compatible with your kayak.

Anchor Tie-off Cleat: You want to install numerous cleats around your kayak to enjoy the versatility that comes with positioning your anchor and making necessary adjustments on your paddling trip.

Installation: You don’t want to spend hours reading pages of instructions to install an anchor trolley. It should be relatively easy to install.

The bottom line, an anchor trolley can help you get the most of your kayak fishing experience with flexible anchoring positions.