The Essential Guide to Choosing the Perfect Kayak Anchor

Are you ready to embark on an exciting kayak or SUP fishing adventure? Picture yourself peacefully floating in your favorite cove, catching fish to your heart’s content. But what happens when a strong wind tries to spoil your tranquility? Constantly paddling to stay in position can be tiresome and frustrating. That’s where a reliable kayak anchor comes into play.

Choosing the right kayak anchor may seem daunting, but fear not! We have thoroughly reviewed different types of anchors, considering all the essential factors. Our goal is to ensure that you can confidently stay in one place on the water, without ever missing a catch. So, keep reading to discover how to choose the perfect kayak anchor and find our top recommendation!

Why Use an Anchor for Your Kayak or SUP?

The answer is simple: anchors keep you in one place! Whether you’re casting a line, practicing SUP yoga, or enjoying a relaxed afternoon with friends, an anchor provides stability and peace of mind. It allows you to quietly cruise into a cove, explore a bay, or enjoy a yoga session on top of the water, without constantly paddling. Anchors free up your hands, making them perfect for kayak fishing, as you can focus on your fishing rod while targeting fish in weed beds. No matter how rough the water gets, a reliable kayak anchor will keep you in place. So, why not moor up with your friends in the middle of a lake, swap stories, and savor a refreshing drink?

How to Choose the Perfect Kayak Anchor

Choosing the best kayak anchor requires a good understanding of the different types available, as well as consideration of the environment in which you’ll be using it. Factors such as water depth and the type of bottom surface should guide your decision-making process. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of anchors and their specific applications:

Folding Grapnel Anchor

Galvanized grapnel kayak anchor

  • Best for: Any water type
  • Suitable for: Rocks, sand, weeds

The folding grapnel anchor features four flukes that open up to grasp the bottom of the water with a reliable anchor line. It offers excellent holding power and is a versatile choice for various water conditions. Plus, it conveniently folds up for easy storage.

Further reading:  Choosing the Perfect Kayak: A Comprehensive Guide

Stake Out Pole

Yellow stake out pole kayak anchor

  • Best for: Shallow, calm, and slow-moving water
  • Suitable for: Sand or soft mud

A stake out pole is a long, stiff pole that you drive into the sand or mud, securing it through a kayak mount or scupper hole. It’s an economical option for anchoring in shallow waters, particularly when fishing or engaging in other similar activities.

Mushroom Anchor

Black mushroom kayak anchor

  • Best for: Shallow, calm water
  • Suitable for: Sand or soft bottoms

The mushroom anchor is shaped like a rounded mushroom and sits on the bottom of the water to provide stability. It’s an excellent choice for those exploring waters with a soft bottom, offering simplicity and ease of use.

Drift Chute

Hobie black drift chute kayak anchor

  • Best for: Deep water
  • Suitable for: Any bottom surface

Also known as a drift anchor, the drift chute is a parachute-like anchor thrown out behind the boat or kayak to slow down movement in flowing water. While it won’t completely stop you, it will reduce the need for constant paddling, allowing you to focus on fishing.

Sand Anchor

Aluminum with corksrew sand kayak anchor

  • Best for: Shallow water
  • Suitable for: Sand or soft mud

A sand anchor is a metal stake that corkscrews into the sand or beach, tethering your boat or SUP with a nylon anchor rope. It’s an easy-to-use option ideal for paddling in shallow waters with soft and sandy riverbeds.

Brush Gripper

Colorful brush gripper anchor

  • Best for: Shallow water
  • Suitable for: Weeds, trees, brush on the shoreline

Brush grippers are pliers-like anchors that provide a strong grip on weeds, trees, or brush along the shoreline. They are perfect for SUP and kayak anglers who enjoy fishing near the shoreline or in waters with abundant vegetation.

Bruce Claw

Galvanized bruce claw kayak anchor

  • Best for: Any depth of water
  • Suitable for: Soft or muddy bottoms

The Bruce claw anchor consists of three flukes shaped like a shovel, effectively scooping into the soft bottom to provide stability. They are great for lakes or streams with a soft bottom, but not suitable for rocky terrains.

Downrigger Weight

Black downrigger weight kayak anchor

  • Best for: Any depth, no wind
  • Suitable for: Soft bottoms

A downrigger weight anchor is a heavy ball weight that sits on the bottom, effectively weighing down the boat or kayak. It’s ideal for calm waters with little wind and a soft bottom.

Further reading:  Fishing in a Sit-In Kayak

Drag Chain

Black drag chain kayak anchor

  • Best for: Any water
  • Suitable for: Any surface

A drag chain works by dragging along the bottom of the water, slowing down your kayak or SUP. While it won’t completely stop you, it provides a gentle floating experience.

For more detailed information about each anchor type, refer to our comprehensive Kayak Anchors Guide.

Considerations When Choosing a Kayak Anchor

Now that you have an idea of the different anchor types available, there are a few additional factors to consider when making your final choice:

  • Size and weight of the anchor
  • Scope of the anchor (ratio of water depth to anchor line/chain)
  • Anchoring points (bow to stern or nose to tail)
  • The need for anchor trolleys (to easily change direction)
  • Storage options for the anchor

Red, yellow and blue kayak anchored

Size of the Anchor

The size of the anchor is crucial. The larger and more substantial the anchor, the better it grips rocks or the riverbed. Most kayak anchors weigh around 1.5 lbs, 3.0 lbs, or 3.5 lbs. The weight should correspond to the water conditions and the weight of yourself and your gear.

  • 1.5 lb anchors are suitable for calm waters and lightweight kayaks or SUPs, with minimal wind.
  • 3.0 lb / 3.5 lbs anchors are necessary for heavier kayaks or when dealing with strong winds and choppy water.

Scope of the Anchor

The scope of the anchor refers to the ratio of water depth to the length of the anchor line or chain. The general rule is to have a line that is seven times the depth of the water. For example, if the water is 10 feet deep, you’ll need 70 feet of line to ensure a secure grip on the bottom. Consider the scope to avoid running out of rope in deep waters while avoiding excess line tangling in shallow waters.

Anchoring Points

When anchoring your kayak or SUP, it’s crucial to attach the anchor to either the bow or stern (nose or tail for a SUP). Let the wind come directly toward or away from the bow of the boat. Never anchor from the side, as it increases the risk of capsizing due to the wind’s direction and the increased drag force. Secure the anchor using a clete or anchor lock system that attaches to your kayak’s mount for ease of use and quick release.

Anchor Trolleys

While not mandatory, an anchor trolley system allows you to adjust to changes in wind or waves while on the water. It enables you to quickly transfer your anchor from the bow to the stern of your boat without completely pulling it out of the water. The anchor trolley system uses ropes rigged alongside your kayak and secured to your anchor line, making it easy to adapt to changes in wind direction.

Further reading:  Ascend 128t Kayak: A Stable Fishing Companion


Consider the storage space within your kayak’s cockpit or hull to accommodate the anchor, especially if you plan on bringing a cooler, dry bag, or tackle box. Opt for an anchor that comes with a dedicated storage bag to protect your kayak’s hull during transport and keep all anchor parts together when not in use.

How to Attach an Anchor to a Kayak

Two blue kayak docked and anchored

Attaching an anchor to your kayak is relatively straightforward. The method may vary depending on the type of anchor you choose, but most styles utilize a carabiner clip and J-hook for secure attachment and quick release during emergencies. If you’re using an anchor with a SUP, you can utilize the D-ring attachment points on the deck. GILI inflatable paddle boards are equipped with several D-ring attachment points, making them perfect for anchoring and staying in place.

Remember, always attach your kayak anchor at the bow or stern to minimize the risk of capsizing. Ideally, anchor with the wind coming directly toward or away from the bow. In case the wind comes directly from the side, the force may tip you over.

Recommended Kayak Anchor Kit

For an all-around performing anchor, we highly recommend the GILI Kayak And Paddle Board Anchor Kit. This folding grapnel anchor is made of strong and reliable galvanized steel, allowing you to anchor in various conditions. It’s suitable for soft sand, rocky riverbeds, and even vegetated lake floors. The kit includes a 30-foot rope, snap hook/D-ring, floating buoy, and a 5L anchor dry bag for easy storage. Its compact size and high marine-grade quality rope make it perfect for travel.

Frequently Asked Questions

For additional information and answers to common questions about kayak anchors, refer to our FAQ section.

UpStreamPaddle is your ultimate destination for quality kayak anchors, allowing you to enhance your fishing and paddling adventures. Choose the perfect kayak anchor from our extensive collection, and enjoy the freedom and stability that it provides. Happy paddleboarding and tight lines!