What Can I Use As A Kayak Anchor? [& How To Make Your Own]

People use kayaks for various activities, from cruising over the water to whitewater rafting, surfing, and fishing. But if you want to enjoy the views and move slowly over the water while fishing, you need something to stabilize your kayak. But what do you use for an anchor, and is it possible to make your own?

You only need an anchor if you’re stopped and don’t want your kayak to drift. The three main types of anchors people use are; grapnel, mushroom, and the Bruce Claw anchor. 

We’ll discuss these in further detail and how to make your own anchor if you don’t have access to the above. 

Do you need an anchor for your kayak?

You don’t always need an anchor for your kayak. While cruising and navigating a lake or the ocean, you need your yak to move freely with the wind. But things can get tricky when you’re trying to catch fish, so your yak needs to be more stable. 

Nevertheless, you don’t always need to anchor your kayak, even when you’re fishing. If you’re catching fish in shallow waters with no currents, you’ll be able to cast your bait and capture your target fish successfully, even if your kayak is slightly moving. 

However, if you’re catching fish in windy conditions and target deep water fish, an anchor will definitely help you. It stabilizes your kayak and allows you to focus on your target fish. 

What can I use as a kayak anchor?

You need an anchor whenever you need to stop your kayak. Most kayakers use three types of anchors to secure their yaks and prevent them from moving in the water. 

Grapnel anchor

This is the most common type of anchor because it’s more versatile. It can be folded for easy storage and transportation, making it a good choice for kayaks with small storage space. 

When the tines open, they dig into the bottom of the water body, so you can use it whether you’re kayaking on a river, lake, or sea. 

However, this anchor doesn’t work on rocky bottoms because it slides. A 1.5-pound anchor will work for most kayaks, but a 3-pound one will be a better choice for a bigger kayak sailing in extreme conditions. 

Bruce Claw anchor

The Bruce Claw anchor has a claw that digs into the bottom of the water body. It’s a great choice if you’re fishing in a water body with a sandy bottom, as the design provides the needed stabilization. 

It’s also more efficient at stabilizing your kayak in stronger currents. However, like the grapnel anchor, this one doesn’t work on rocky bottoms. 

Mushroom anchor

The mushroom anchor is the simplest type of anchor and also one of the most efficient ones. The inverted-style mushroom design creates a weight that stops your kayak from moving, regardless of the nature of the bottom. 

Unlike other anchors, this one doesn’t have to dig into the bottom, as the weight is enough to provide stopping power. This is why kayakers usually use heavier anchors weighing about 8 pounds to keep the kayak in place. 

Although this anchor works on rocky bottoms, it doesn’t perform well when there are strong currents. 

How can I make My Own Anchor?

In some situations, you might have to stop the kayak, although you don’t have an anchor, or you need to control your kayak in an emergency. Here are a few solutions that might work for you if you don’t have an anchor or it doesn’t provide enough stopping power. 

Using a Stick Anchor

The stick anchor is a practical solution that you can use if you don’t have an anchor. It’s also called a stake-out pole and will work for stopping your yak in shallow waters where there are no or only weak currents. 

You press this stick into the bottom of the water body to secure your kayak. It’s also easy to retrieve, affordable and doesn’t require a lot of setup and preparation. However, this stick doesn’t work if you’re trying to secure your yak over a rocky bottom. 

Investing in a power pole

This is an automated version of a stick anchor, as you can attach it to an existing battery system. So it’s always ready for use and can be quickly dropped into the water whenever you like to secure your yak. 

Utilizing a brush anchor

A brush gripper or anchor allows you to stabilize your kayak by securing it to a nearby object or structure like a dock, bush, or grass. It features a clip and a line that you tie back to your kayak. However, this solution isn’t the best if there are strong currents and it doesn’t provide much stability. 

Making a wreck anchor

A wreck anchor is made from steel wire to get snagged on a wreck. However, some people have successfully used a structure found below the water’s surface. 

This type of anchor isn’t that popular because it becomes pretty challenging or even impossible to remove once it’s snagged. 

Nevertheless, this type of anchor can be your best option in an emergency. 

Using a drift chute

A drift chute isn’t like an anchor because it doesn’t stop your kayak, but it slows down its speed. It’s a good option if you want to cruise in a stronger current, but it won’t provide the stability you get with an anchor. 

Still, it can be used to slow down your yak’s motion when you’re fishing or cruising. 

You can attach a drift chute like an anchor, which works like a parachute as it drives water out of a smaller opening to create resistance. Then, as you move along, you’ll drag the chute behind you, allowing you to cast an anchor if you want your yak to stop moving. 

Do I need an anchor trolley system?

An anchor trolley system features several components like an anchor, cleats, float, rope, and other hardware equipment that allow you to retrieve and move the anchor. 

A trolley system facilitates the process of anchoring your yak, but it’s not always necessary. For example, you can always invest in an anchor trolley system if you always go fishing in strong currents. 

What anchor weight should work for my kayak?

The anchor’s weight is directly related to the weight and size of your kayak. A smaller yak can be stabilized using a lightweight and small anchor. 

Most small anchors weigh between 1 and 2 pounds and will work for a tiny yak. However, a heavier yak can use a heavier anchor to secure it. Mushroom anchors tend to be heavier than other anchor types because they don’t provide much stopping power. 

Always consider the stability of your yak when you’re trying to throw your anchor into the water. You should be able to stabilize your yak without tipping over or leaning it too far to one side. 

Where should I set up my anchor?

This depends on the design of your yak. If you’re using a sit-in kayak, the anchor should be placed right in front of you. With a sit-on kayak, you can either put the anchor behind the seat on the side of the yak. Some kayakers also hang two different anchors on both sides of the kayak. 

In all cases, you should be extremely careful while securing the anchor. You need to keep your feet away from the rope, so they don’t get entangled when you try to secure the yak. 


You can use an anchor to secure your yak, and different anchor types work for various situations. But if you don’t want to use an anchor, you can make one using a stick or a brush gripper. 

Some options like a drift chute will slow down your yak but not completely stabilize it, so you can use an anchor to prevent your kayak from moving. 

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