Do You Need An Anchor Trolley For A Kayak? A Guide with Alternatives

The ability to remain still in wind or current is essential for kayak anglers, but it can be very difficult to achieve. Fortunately, there are tools like anchors and anchor trolleys that are specifically designed to give you the control you need to make kayak fishing a lot more enjoyable.

So, do you need an anchor trolley for a kayak? Yes, you need an anchor trolley to be able to control and adjust your anchor position according to any changes in currents, wind, or tide conditions. This can be very useful if you’re kayak fishing or any other activity where it’s essential to maintain a certain position.

Keep reading to learn more about how anchor trolley systems work, why you need them, and how to use them. If you are looking for a Kayak upgrade but don’t want to break the bank, check out those awesome budget kayaks here.

What Is an Anchor Trolley System for Kayaking?

kayaks anchored at sunset to answer why do you need an anchor trolley for a kayak

A kayak anchor trolley is a system that you attach to the side of your kayak which gives you the ability to control and change the position of your kayak by manipulating the position of your anchor without having to remove it.

A kayak’s anchoring position is basically made up of an anchor, and anchor line and your kayak.

Normally when you drop your anchor, the current or wind will move you and your boat to the opposite direction of your anchor. If you do not have an anchor trolley, your kayak will move in whatever direction the wind or current forces you in, depending on the point of attachment between your anchor line and your kayak.

The anchor trolley essentially becomes an extension of your anchor line. So, it acts as an adjustable anchor cleat, which allows you to control and change the direction of your kayak. This means you won’t have to fight the wind or current with your paddle or be forced to fish facing a direction you don’t want.

How to Construct an Anchor Trolley System?

Credit to Basspro

There is a variety of anchor trolley systems and they are all made up of some essential components that are needed for the system to function properly.

An Anchor trolley system kit typically includes:

  • 2x Pulleys
  • 2x Pad eyes
  • Rope
  • A ring
  • A carabiner clip

In order to construct an anchor trolley system, you will need the following tools:

  • Drill with an 5mm or 9mm drill bit
  • Screwdriver
  • Marine grade sealant/adhesive
  • Scissors
  • Marker pen

Now let’s take a look at the steps for the installation process:

  • Position one of the pad eyes vertically at about 12-18 inches from the stern of the kayak above the waterline
  • Make a mark through the pad eye holes then drill through the marked points
  • Cut a short piece of rope and tie one of the pulleys through the pad eye so that it is facing towards the center of your kayak
  • Secure the pad eye and pulley with the screws and seal the fixing points off using the marine grade sealant/adhesive.
  • Repeat the previous steps on the bow side of the kayak and make sure that the second pulley is facing the center of the kayak as well.
  • Thread the rest of the rope through the first pulley at the stern of the kayak then through the second pulley at the bow of the kayak and use the ring to connect the loose ends of the rope.
  • Now you can attach the anchor line to the ring using the carabiner clip.

How to Use an Anchor Trolley?

The anchor trolley is usually installed on one side of the kayak and it consists of 3 main parts – two pulleys, a rope, and a ring. After you finish installing the system on your kayak, you will be able to attach the anchor to the ring.

To use the trolley system all you need to do is pull the rope to move the ring forward and backward along the length of the kayak to change the point where the anchor line is attached to your kayak thereby adjusting your anchor position.

If you have two trolley systems installed (one on each side of your kayak) you could possibly adjust your anchor position by 360 degrees. So, you will be able to adjust to wind and current from all directions.

Why Do You Need to Use an Anchor Trolley System?

  • It eliminates the need to install multiple anchor cleats

It’s important for a kayak angler to find the right anchoring position to be able to cast successfully. You can’t have one anchor cleat attached to your kayak in one spot that is suitable to all anchoring positions.

You will continuously need to adjust your anchor’s connection point according to the change in current and wind conditions. To do this, you would need to install multiple anchor cleats along the side of your kayak.

So, using an anchor trolley system provides a long-term anchoring flexibility which leads to an overall easier anchoring experience.

  • It provides more flexibility and stability with changing conditions

Using an anchor trolley will provide an easy way to make quick adjustments while you’re out on the water making it easier to adapt to changing conditions. 

When you have control over how you adjust your position according to the wind and water conditions, you will also lower the risk of having your kayak tipped over, so you’ll be able to kayak more safely.

  • It is compatible with most anchors

Selecting an anchor mainly depends on personal preference and compatibility with the bottom of the water where you are fishing.

Since anchor trolleys are not limited to one anchoring system, it makes them very useful to kayak anglers that need to make many adjustments mid-trip.

When and When Not to Use an Anchor Trolley System?

It’s ideal to use a kayak anchor trolley in a lake or open water where there’s a mild current and moderate windy conditions.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

It’s best to avoid using an anchor trolley in considerably strong currents.

Even though you might want an anchor to keep you in place, a strong current could lead to your anchor drifting and getting snagged on rocks, which would result in your kayak tipping over if it’s pulled along with it.

Another mistake to avoid when anchoring your kayak is using too little anchor line as it will not reach the bottom effectively or result in drag.

The ideal ratio is 7:1, which means for every 1 foot of water you are in, you need 7 feet of anchor line. It’s always better to have too much line instead of too little.

Related Questions

Is The Pulley System the Same as The Trolley System?

No, the pulley system is not the same as a trolley system, however, it can be used along with anchor trolleys. A pulley has a wheel in which makes it easier to pull the trolley system because it helps move the rope. It minimizes the weight you need to pull to move the anchor and makes the rope’s movement more efficient.

What Rope Is Best for A Kayak Trolley System?

The rope that is best for a kayak trolley system is Paracord, it also includes a tracer which makes it useful in low light conditions. The recommended length of rope ranges between 25 to 35 feet.