How To Use A Kayak Anchor Trolley (BONUS: includes the BEST Ones)
Using an anchor trolley for kayak fishing can make a difference when it comes to controlling your boat. But do you really need an anchor trolley?
It can let you alter your position on the water more easily, meaning you can spend more time focusing on catching fish.
But how does an anchor trolley work and why might you want one on your kayak? To answer those questions we have put together some information that might help.
What Is An Kayak Anchor Trolley? Is It The Same As A Pulley?
A kayak anchor trolley is a system that allows you to control your boat without having to remove your anchor.
The trolley lets you change the position of your boat by manipulating the position of your anchor. This can be ideal if you’re fishing in current or wind. It can let you adjust the angle of your anchor or stake out pole, so that you can position it anywhere between the back and front of your kayak.
If you have two trolley systems installed (one on either side of your vessel) you could potentially have 360 degrees of anchor positions available to you, so you could manage wind and current from all directions. This could allow you to better hold a specific spot in the lake. A drift sock can also be used in conjunction with the anchor so you don't have to fish at bad angles.
Pulleys are not the same as a trolley system but they can be used in conjunction with anchor trolleys.
A pulley has a wheel in it that can make it easier for you to pull your trolley system, as it helps to move the rope. This therefore minimizes the weight you have to pull to move the anchor and can make the rope move more efficiently.
What Are The Advantages Of Using An Anchor Trolley?
Kayak anchor systems can be a beneficial piece of kayaking gear for kayak fishing and for other activities where maintaining a certain position in the water is required, such as river fishing.
This means you don’t have to fight with wind or current using your paddle, or be forced to fish with your boat facing a particular direction.
As well as letting you change the direction of your kayak without having to remove the anchor, you might need an anchor trolley to detach your anchor more easily.
This can be useful for safety, for example, if your anchor gets caught, which could prevent the trapped anchor from flipping your boat.
An anchor trolley can also make it easier for you to pull up your anchor when not in use, as it is attached to your anchor line.
It effectively lets you change your anchor's position in shallow water, altering the direction of your kayak with the anchor at either the bow or the stern. This can be useful if you want to keep an eye on a marker buoy or fishing lines. You can also use a drift sock with an overhand knot with the anchor system to help maintain your position.
How To Use An Anchor Trolley (And How Not To!)
How To Use It
Usually when you drop your anchor, the current or wind will likely move you and your boat to the opposite side of your anchor from the direction of the wind or current.
Without an anchor trolley, your boat will face in whatever direction the wind or current forces you in, depending on the point where your anchor line is connected to your vessel.
By pulling on your anchor trolley you can effectively change the point where the anchor line is connected to your boat. Pulling on the anchor trolley lets you move the anchor line to anywhere along the length of your boat, making it more convenient for any kayak angler fishing in windy conditions or in shallow water currents.
Video: How To Anchor Your Kayak Using A Trolley System
Where And When To Use It
A lake or open water where you might have to contend with windy conditions can be ideal. Other water where there is mild current, such as a slow-moving river, can also be perfect.
Make sure you know the depth of the water so that you can use a proper length of anchor rope.
When Not To Use An Anchor Trolley
It might be best not to use an anchor trolley if you’re in particularly strong currents, such as a fast-flowing river.
While you might want the aid of an anchor to keep you in place, a strong current could cause your anchor to drift and get caught on rocks, which could cause your kayak to tip if your kayak's hull is pulled along with it.
11 Best Anchor Trolleys For Kayaks
1: YakAttack Kayak LeverLoc HD Anchor Trolley (best overall)
The YakAttack Kayak Leverloc HD anchor trolley is a complete kit that comes with good quality hardware. It features 35-feet of paracord that benefits from having reflective strips to increase visibility.
It features two pulleys to make the anchor rope move more smoothly. The PadHooks combine the benefits of both pad-eyes and hooks so that your line can be kept tight and held in place on the side of your vessel.
Another feature of this anchor trolley system is the LeverLoc, which is designed to let you lock your anchor in place using a flip-switch system to lock and unlock it. It can also be used with stakeout poles.
2: H2o Kayak Canoe Anchor Trolley Kit (runner-up)
This H2o Kit is designed to fit a range of kayaks. It comes complete with the necessary hardware for easy installation, including two pulleys for smoother operation of the anchor trolley system. It also comes with instructions.
The anchor rope is just under 30 feet long and is made from 8 plait braided polypropylene, providing strength and durability. The kit also features a zig zag locking cleat so that you can lock the anchor position in place.
3: Redneck Convent Kayak Anchor Trolley Kit (best budget)
The Redneck Convent Anchor Trolley Kit could be a good budget option as it comes with all the required hardware and is designed to fit a variety of kayaks.
It features a 32 foot durable nylon paracord line that has a breaking strength of 550 pounds. It also benefits from having two pulleys for easier operation and smooth performance, as well as zig zag lock anchor cleats so you can hold your boat’s position.
The pulleys benefit have carabiners so that you can easily attach them to bungee cords, meaning you can remove them easily.
4: Hobie Anchor Trolley Kit
This Hobie Anchor Trolley Kit is designed to be easy to install on Hobie kayaks and some other kayaks. However, it’s not compatible with the Hobie Compass or Outbacks newer than the 2019 model.
It features anchor trolley install hardware designed specifically for Hobie kayaks, particularly the Pro Angler kayaks, with the correct sized screws for the pre-drilled holes.
This is a durable anchor trolley system for kayak anglers that comes with a cleat and pulley system so that you can position your kayak easily from one side. It’s designed to work with an anchor rope, a stake-out pole or drift chute, so it can be pretty versatile.
However, this is a pricey option that can be best suited to owners of Hobie branded fishing kayaks.
5: Perception Kayak Anchor Trolley Kit
The Perception Anchor Trolley Kit is designed to be compatible with a range of kayaks, including both sit-on-top kayaks and sit-inside vessels. It comes with all the necessary hardware for installing the kit on your kayak.
But you may need some tools that are not included, such as a screwdriver or drill.
This anchor trolley is designed to be easy to install and features a ring and pulley system for easy deployment.
It can be ideal for use in windy conditions and if you’re fishing in mild current. The kit is compatible with a 3-pound grapnel anchor (not included) and comes with 30 feet of nylon line.
6: YakGear Deluxe Anchor Trolley Kit
This YakGear Deluxe Anchor Trolley Kit is a durable option that can work well with a variety of different kayaks, including sit-on-tops and sit-insides. It comes with installation hardware and easy-to-follow instructions.
If you’re installing this anchor trolley kit on a sit-inside kayak, it can be a good idea to make sure the screws won’t affect the inside of your cockpit, as they may be longer than the body of your kayak and can protrude on the inside.
However, the kit comes with rubber covers to cover the end of the screws.
The kit features 30 feet of rope, a mini zig zag cleat and pad eye to help you maintain your position in currents, and a nylon pulley system with Harken pulleys for easy operation.
7: Wilderness Systems Anchor Trolley Kit
This Wilderness Systems Anchor Trolley Kit can be a good option if you have a longer kayak and need multiple cleats. It comes with 40 feet of durable nylon rope that’s a 1/4-inch in diameter for added strength. The anchor rope is also reflective to improve the visibility of your kayak on the water.
This is designed to work with 3-pound kayak grapnel anchors and stake-out poles that are up to ¾ inches in diameter.
A nice feature of this kit is the additional piece of bungee cord that’s included. You can choose to install the bungee between one end of the trolley cord and the ring, to minimize tension and provide flexibility in stronger currents or winds.
8: PactradeMarine Kayak Boat Anchor Trolley
This PactradeMarine anchor trolley is a lightweight kit designed for kayak anglers that comes with all the installation hardware you need to fix it to your kayak. This is an affordable option that can be suitable for casual anchoring needs on windy lakes or in generally slow-moving rivers.
The anchor rope is 4 millimeters in diameter so it may not be strong enough for very windy weather or very heavy fishing kayaks.
It can be used with a small marine anchor or an anchor pole. You can install this anchor trolley kit on various types of kayaks, except inflatable kayaks, as this requires you to drill into your hull to install it correctly.
9: Shoreline Marine Propel Paddle Gear Kayak Anchor Trolley Kit
This Propel Paddle Gear anchor trolley kit by Shoreline Marine can be a great budget kayak anchor trolley. It has basic components but it can be ideal for casual angling trips and for use with a grapnel anchor (sold separately).
This can be compatible with a range of other small vessels, not just kayaks and can work with boats up to 16 feet in length.
It doesn’t have a pulley system but it has a ring with bungees to allow you to move the anchor system into your required position to anchor your kayak in the right direction.
It comes with all the necessary hardware to install the anchor trolley on your kayak, including 32 feet of rope, and recommended screws.
10: ISURE Marine Kayak Anchor Trolley Kit
The ISURE Marine one is a budget-friendly anchor trolley that comes with all the required hardware for easy installation. This 21-piece kit features 30 feet of rope, which is 5 millimeters in diameter.
It comes with two pulleys that are designed to be mounted flush against your kayak to maintain a low-profile exterior. It can be ideal for using with a grapnel anchor (not included).
A handy thing about this kit is that the rope can also be used as a dock rope, as it can be easily removed to tie up your kayak. This could be useful if you prefer to save space on board and if you plan to tie your kayak to docks at any point during your fishing trip.
The paracord line also features a reflective material so that you can be easily seen in low-light conditions, ideal for any kayak angler.
11: Dilwe Anchor Trolley Kit
The Dilwe Anchor Trolley Kit is a lightweight, affordable kit that’s designed to be easy to install and convenient to use. It benefits from having corrosion-resistant pad eyes and stainless steel pulleys and hardware so it can be ideal for fishing in all types of environments.
The nylon rope is 4 millimeters in diameter so it may not be the best choice for heavy-duty applications but it can be great for dropping an anchor in mild wind and currents.
It comes with everything you need to install it on your kayak but remember, you’ll need your own tools to do the job. The 32-foot rope can also be easily adjusted for size.
Kayak Trolley Anchors: FAQs
On Which Side Of The Kayak Should It Be?
It can be installed on whatever side you prefer. If you’re right-handed, you might prefer it on the right so that it’s easier to use.
Are They Cheap?
They can vary in price but they are generally an affordable accessory.
Is It Worth Building One Yourself?
You might find that it’s easier to purchase one of the kits than the daunting task of making one yourself. It may be more expensive to buy the components separately. However, it is possible to make one yourself using rope and waterproof silicone.
Do I Need To Drill Into My Kayak To Install?
Many anchor trolley kits will often require you to drill into your kayak to install them, if you don’t already have pre-drilled mounting points. However, there are some ways you could install an anchor trolley without drilling or using a rivet gun. This video is useful.
Kayak anchor systems can be a useful addition to your fishing kayak. And we think the best kit is the YakAttack LeverLoc HD anchor trolley kit because it has a generous length of trolley line that also benefits from reflective fabric for added safety.
Another great choice is the H2o Kayak Anchor Trolley Kit because it comes with all the necessary hardware to install it yourself, including instructions.
Both of these kits conveniently come with pulleys as well, which can make it easier and smoother when you pull on the trolley line when changing the position of your anchor.
Remember that not all anchor trolley systems will necessarily work with all kayaks. So it might be a good idea to check with your kayak manufacturer before you try to install one, especially if you may need to drill into your boat.