Anchor choices

I am considering fishing for sturgeon from my kayak. The way this is typically done is to anchor up and present a bait that holds on the bottom. I have been searching for an anchor to use for this and have commonly seen a 1.5 lb. and 3 lb. anchor sold on lots of websites. Would anyone have any experience with these in a river that is between 3’ and 30’ deep with an average flow of 100cfs? I am skeptical if even the heavier anchor would hold, although I admit I have zero experience here. Thanks in advance

I don’t recommend it.
If you’re in a kayak and have the need to anchor in current, you’re placing yourself in a dangerous situation. It’s not that it CAN’T be done, it’s that the risks of capsize and loss (including loss of life when you consider that the anchor line can be like a brown-bag strainer). I would highly recommend using a boat more suited to anchoring if you choose to anchor in current or find an alternative means to stabilize your craft.

There is a book by Jeff Little. I forget the title but it’s something like “My Life In Kayak” or “My Life On A River” and it has many suggestions for boat control of kayaks while fishing in current. Jeff mostly pursues smallmouth bass, but the lessons of current and boat control are universal.

  • Big D

are you sure about the cfs rate …
… you posted , or was that a typo ??

I found the cfs
from this website. It lists the mean for July at 89. I added a few just to be cautious. This river is tidally influenced. Is this appear too high or low? Thanks for the response. I was hoping to use an anchor trolly system and place the anchor line at the stern of the boat and fish the area immediately in front of the bow. I just was curious if the 3 pounder would hold. I don’t want to go buy one and try it only to find out it won’t work, I lose the anchor, or I get hurt. Thanks for the response.

Sorry here’s the link

well , you posted correct enough cfs …

– Last Updated: Jul-10-09 8:11 PM EST –

...... can't really tell you if a 3 lb. anchor would hold , maybe ??

What style anchore you have in mind ??
I use the one that looks like a radiation symbol , simular to the mushroom style ... both almost the same , but the three seperate ear style cleans bottom stuff off easier , I think . These two styles are coated and don't have any points or sharp edges on them , no moving parts , easy on the hands !!

Danforths, Grapples, and spike type anchores are used to dig into the bottom and bite (they get hung up in rocks) , they have moving parts and work for heavy boats in tidal water currents well , they require a long rode payout ...

Can't imagine any need for a forked or prong style in a canoe/kayak .

I use a 12 lb. from a long high volumn canoe in mountain rivers (and reservoirs) . Sometimes and in some spots , the rivers are flowing pretty quick and my anchore holds with no problems .

Can't really tell how fast the current is in the place you want to anchore , but it can't be much I don't think .

Not knowing how wide the area of river is , I can't tell how fast 100 cfs is moving . But for instance , about 1' deep and a 100' wide is around 1' per second flow rate at 100 cfs.

3'-3" deep at 100' wide is about 3" or 4" per second at 100 cfs.

Just seems like your river is almost holding still to me , especially if it has any width to it ??

Thanks for the reply
The river I’m fishing is between 100 and 200 feet wide depending on where and what part of the tidal cycle happens to be occuring. I saw a 12 pound anchor like you mentioned at Cabelas today. I wasn’t sure of the poundage you said you used, but now I think I’ll go back and get it. Most of the river bottom is silted in with some occasional gravel. Now that winters over most of the deadheads have blown out. I will attempt this anchor with my trolley system this next weekend. I intend to place the anchor at the stern and let the boat drift during the tide moving out. This way I will not have to foul my fishing line on the rode. I’ll place a post here and let you know how it works. Thanks for the help.

i use a 3lb grapple type anchor…
And have no trouble anchoring off in fast water it digs in and that’s it. I use a trolley system and the anchor is tied off behind me on the right side so I can cut it quick if need be.

You always what the anchor tie off close so you can cut it while sitting in the yak. If something does go wrong your not going to have time to mess with trolling it back to you.

i use a 3lb grapple type anchor…
And have no trouble anchoring off in fast water it digs in and that’s it. I use a trolley system and the anchor is tied off behind me on the right side so I can cut it quick if need be.

You always what the anchor tie off close so you can cut it while sitting in the yak. If something does go wrong your not going to have time to mess with trolling it back to you.

I don’t know if you’ll do well with …

– Last Updated: Jul-12-09 12:16 AM EST –

...... the 12 lb. anchore in your kayak ... I don't think it's right for you , because you are going to hang it off the end .

I didn't mean you should get a 12 lb. for a kayak with a end trolly drop , I'm in a canoe , a big canoe with two people in it , and use this 12 lb. in quick river and flat lake waters .

I think you should maybe try something lighter ... why don't you test out something like a 6 lb. first before going for the heavy wieght .

I am in canoe , I lift it and let it drop in off the end ... when pulled up it goes right back inside under the deck .

You see , I do this with my hands . They lift and drop in the anchore , they pull on the rode when retrieving , and they lift it out of the bottom ... I don't know how you'll do that from a kayak ??

Sometimes the anchore gets into soft bottom and it takes a straight up tug to release it !!

You may be better off with a somewhat lighter anchore !!

If I couldn't handle the rode and anchore with my hands to deploy and retrieve (that's any anchore , sea or pond , canoe or 2700 lb. CC boat )... I'm not sure I would feel to good about it all .

in any case , no matter what else …

– Last Updated: Jul-12-09 12:33 AM EST –

...... you do when using an anchore .

Just be absolutely certain you can "cut" it free if you have to in a hurry ... have a "sharp" knife handy , if you just so happen to forget your knife for some reason .. forget to achore also !!

"Do Not" be concerned or afraid to cut it away if things start to go wrong or you are getting in trouble there ... let it go without another thought ... get free !!

That is rule #1 , and probably 90% of what you need to know about an anchore .

If 3# won’t hold - don’t anchor
Most people I know who anchor their kayaks or canoes use a 2# barbell. Some use a 3# barbell. One guy I know uses a 2" hitch ball.

If 3# won’t hold you, it’s too much current to be anchoring a kayak. I think you can amend that to 2# and still be correct.

  • Big D

a thought about anchore in …

– Last Updated: Jul-12-09 2:14 PM EST –

..... canoe/kayak .

I think the last thing you would want , is to be "dragging" an anchore along the bottom .

It may decide to dig in , find a hold , in the wrong place for you to be stopped all of a sudden .

Any anchore with grapple , hooks , etc. , may find something to hook up on "permenantly" , snag ... you get free by cutting the rode away !! Even a mushroom or non-prong type can get hung , just not nearly as easily .

What I know , is when I drop in my anchore , it goes where I put it , where I chose , not where it finally decided to grab . That's why I use the 12 lb. !!

Especially effective for fishing lakes in wind , position , hold , fish that cover and wood ... reposition , hold , fish ... reposition . Spent 11 hrs. doing this yesterday , caught nice fish because I set up for presentation where I wanted to .

If my 12 lb. wouldn't hold me where I wanted in a river , I'd be making a mistake to keep trying to force it to !!

If a - 3 lb. kept dragging bottom , I'd get a heavier anchore , and consider it the anchores' problem , not mine or the rivers .

I will definitely try
something lighter initially. I have lots of 2.5, and 5 lb weights I can try out. As for tying off the anchor I purchased a clam cleat that I can simply lift the line and let it go. One end is attached to a float as well and the rope is looped through a D=ring on the trolley. If I get in trouble I can just lift up on one end of the rope and let everything go. I do also intend to have a very sharp knife handy just in case. I don’t have any issues with cutting things away that I’ll never see again to stay safe. In my research I have read that the stability of the boat must be the first priority even in the heat of the moment when initially hooking into a fish. Thank you all for your help and advice.

Yeah I bought one of those fold up “store in the bag”

fluke type anchors that was fair in the adirondacks but sucked on a local stream and the Delaware river. It was too light (bout 5 lbs) and it eventually got hung up and stuck so I had to cut it. So I bought i think the 15 lb mushroom anchor at Dick’s. It’s excellent I didn’t budge when I threw that thing overboard.

I use a small mushroom (4lbs ?) anchor on the Wisconsin R in fairly strong current and it holds our 17 ft tandem canoe perfectly. When I anchor in less current I use a mesh minnow bag filled with the least amount of rocks to keep us in place. The minnow bag is not terribly strong so it can be pulled free/apart if snagged or in an emergency.

3 people drowned from an anchored bass boat last year in the same spot on the Wisconsin we fish. Be carefull!


What happens that makes this practice dangerous? How do you drown while in a bass boat? I never have understood this type of accident. Thanks.

The scoop.
It happened in an area close to the outflow of a dam. Water was discharged and the unfortunate fishermen couldn’t release the anchor line so their boat filled and in they went. Cold water and no PFD’s. End of story.


it is a sad thing that this type …
… swamping happens and takes lives , but it is difficult to connect to the thought that there could be 3 fishermen aboard and not a sharp knife between them .

I don’t believe it would be possible to untie at that point , cut is the only wat out .

Time, fumbles and clear heads.
In that situation, time is short, fumbling around trying to find and/or open a folding knife can be difficult quickly, and keeping a clear head even more so. I doubt bass boaters in cold water without cold water gear ever thought ahead to having a quick release rescue knife or know what to do for many “what ifs” . . . .