What seems to be the standard of kayak anchor systems is the anchor trolley. All trolley systems use the same basic principles of mounting points, pulleys, a cleat, and an attachment point for the anchor. The trolley can be relatively inexpensive and made out of department store parts, or elaborate and purchased from manufacturers such as YakAttack, Native, or Yak-Gear, etc. The benefits of trolleys are that they are relatively cheap, they allow you to adjust the boat’s position when anchored and they are the simplest of the anchor options. Some of the drawbacks are that you will have to deploy the anchor manually, you will have to manage a lot of anchor rope, and your hands are going to get wet retrieving the anchor.
Another extremely popular anchor option is the stakeout stick or pole. This is a shallow-water anchoring device that can be used in conjunction with an anchor trolley, or by themselves. Typically they are 6’-9’ long. As with the anchor trolley, a stakeout stick can easily be made out of department store parts, such as PVC [or a pool cue - IR] or purchased from several different manufacturers. The benefit of a stakeout stick is its simplicity, and the drawback are the relatively small depth range in which it will hold you.
Our next few options start to become more complex, and with that the price begins to rise. At around $150, the “Anchor Wizard” (www.anchorwizard.com/kayak-anchoring-winch-system) is not cheap, but it does solve many of the problems that are common with just having a trolley. The Anchor Wizard has very few components, with the centerpiece of the system being the spool. The spool is almost like a fishing reel. It holds your line and at the turn of a handle your line can be released into free spool allowing the anchor to drop or turned the opposite direction to reel your line back in. The benefits to a design such as the Anchor Wizard are the management of the rope and the ease of deploying/redeploying the anchor. The drawbacks are the high cost, amount of space the system takes up, and the limitations of mounting the system on the bow or stern (thereby reducing the ability to adjust the boat’s position while anchored).
I am an Anchor Wizard user and have mine mounted on the stern of my kayak. I typically deploy the anchor with the wind to my back, enabling me to use the wind to my advantage. For you DIYers out there, you can attempt to make a system similar to this. Heavy-duty retractable dog leashes or clothes lines are a suitable line management systems, and I have seen a few videos floating around describing their use for kayak angling.
Stepping up in price once again, we can now take a look at “Bernie’s River Stick” (www.berniesriverstick.com). At $299, Bernie’s River Stick takes the stakeout pole to the next level. Featuring a fully mechanical system, the river stick deploys and stows without the aid of a motor or battery. Like the basic stakeout pole, the river stick is a limited depth system intended for shallow water. The pole that comes with the kit is 8.5’ long. The benefits of this system are the ease of use, easy install and simple design. The disadvantage is the limited depth range.
The capstone of our anchor options is another shallow-water pole system. Unlike the River Stick, this option is 100% electrically operated. The Power Pole “Micro” (www.power-pole.com/jlmarine/power-pole/micro.aspx) is a significant investment at $600 for the base kit. Being electrically operated, the power pole can be operated from a remote or with a button on the unit. To power the unit, you have two options: provide your own 12 volt battery, or purchase the lithium battery pack that just hit the market. Either option enables the spike to be deployed/redeployed up to 100 times. You will also have to purchase a spike separately, as it does not come with the base kit. As you can see when, you are completely done outfitting a Micro system you are nearing the price of an entry-level fishing kayak. The greatest benefit of this system is by far the hands-free operation, and the greatest drawback is the extremely high price.
Surely this isn’t every anchor option on the market, but depending on your budget you can have a proven system that will help dissolve some of the frustrations of fishing out of a kayak in windy or high-current conditions.