HomeKayak 101How to Anchor a Kayak without a Trolley?

How to Anchor a Kayak without a Trolley?

How to Anchor a Kayak without a Trolley: A Comprehensive Guide


How to Anchor a Kayak without a Trolley – Anchoring a kayak is a crucial skill for any kayaker, especially for those who enjoy kayak fishing or photography. While an anchor trolley system is often used for this purpose, it’s not always necessary. In this guide, we’ll explore how to anchor a kayak without a trolley, discuss different types of kayak anchors, and provide tips for safe and effective anchoring.

Understanding Kayak Anchoring

A kayak anchor is a device used to hold the kayak in place in the water. This is particularly useful when fishing or taking photographs from your kayak, as it allows you to stay in a specific location without drifting.

The Anchor Trolley System: An Overview

An anchor trolley system is a popular method of anchoring a kayak. It provides flexibility in positioning the anchor and can improve the stability of the kayak. However, there are situations where an anchor trolley system may not be necessary or available. In such cases, knowing how to anchor a kayak without a trolley becomes invaluable.

Types of Kayak Anchors

There are several types of kayak anchors, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are the most common types:

  1. Stake-Out Pole: Ideal for shallow waters, this type of anchor is simply a long pole that is pushed into the ground to hold the kayak in place.
  2. Drift Chute: This is a small parachute that opens up in the water, creating drag that slows the kayak’s drift.
  3. Brush Gripper: This type of anchor is used to grip onto branches or brush in the water.
  4. Claw Anchor: Also known as a grapnel anchor, this type of anchor has multiple hooks that can grip onto rocks or other objects on the sea or river bed.
  5. Mushroom Anchor: This anchor gets its name from its shape, which resembles a mushroom. It’s ideal for soft, muddy, or sandy bottoms.
  6. Fluke Anchor: This anchor has two or more flukes that dig into the sea or river bed to hold the kayak in place.

How to Anchor a Kayak without a Trolley

Anchoring a kayak without a trolley involves a few key steps:

  1. Choose the Right Anchor: Depending on the water conditions and the bottom type (rocky, sandy, muddy), choose the most suitable type of anchor.
  2. Prepare the Anchor Line: The anchor line should be at least twice the depth of the water. Attach the anchor to one end of the line and secure the other end to a strong point on the kayak.
  3. Deploy the Anchor: Throw the anchor overboard, making sure it lands downstream or downwind of your desired position. Allow the kayak to drift until the anchor line is taut, then secure the line.
  4. Check the Anchor: Give the line a firm tug to ensure the anchor is securely set. If it’s not, you may need to reposition the anchor.

DIY: Building Your Own Kayak Anchor

If you’re into DIY projects, you can make your own kayak anchor. You’ll need an eyelet bolt, a conduit pipe, nuts, a washer, and some cement. Make a frame, insert the bolt into the conduit, do up the nut, and pour in your cement. Allow the anchor to dry for a few days, then attach a rope, and you’re good to go.

Choosing the Right Kayak Anchor Line

The right anchor line is essential for effective anchoring. The line should be strong enough to hold your kayak in place and thin enough to accommodate a light anchor. A common choice for most kayak anglers is a rope5mm (or 3/16in) in diameter. If your anchor kit comes with a rope, that’s usually a good choice. However, if it gets damaged, a length of polyester clothesline can serve as a short-term replacement. Polyester is water-resistant, meaning it won’t soak in water, and it’ll dry quickly.

FAQs on Kayak Anchoring

Here are answers to some common questions about kayak anchoring:

  • Can you use a drift sock to anchor a kayak? Yes, a drift sock can slow down the drift of the kayak, but it won’t hold the kayak in a fixed position like an anchor.
  • How much rope do you need for a kayak anchor? A good rule of thumb is to have at least twice the length of the water depth. For example, if you’re in 5m of water, you should have at least 10m of anchor line.
  • Where to store the anchor on a kayak? Most kayaks have dedicated storage areas for anchors. If not, you can store it in a dry bag or a mesh bag and secure it to the kayak.
  • How heavy should an anchor be for a kayak? The weight of the anchor depends on the size of the kayak and the water conditions. For most kayaks, an anchor weighing between 1.5kg and 3kg should be sufficient.


Anchoring a kayak without a trolley is a valuable skill for any kayaker. By understanding the different types of anchors and how to use them, you can enjoy your time on the water without worrying about drifting away. Remember, safety should always be your top priority, so always check your equipment before heading out and follow the best practices for anchoring.

Related Articles/Additional Resources

For more information on kayaking and related topics, check out the following resources:

Remember, the key to successful kayak anchoring is practice. So, get out there and start anchoring!

Please note: This blog post is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be taken as professional kayaking advice. Always consult with a professional or a knowledgeable guide before attempting any techniques discussed in this post.

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