Sure, it might not be the flashiest piece of gear in your kayak or canoeing arsenal, but a good anchor lock system can a make a world of difference for small craft owners. Anchor locks allow you to drop or pull in your anchor single-handed by simply tugging at the end of your anchor line.
Because you don’t need to be seated next to the anchor lock to operate it, you can lift/lower the anchor from anywhere in the boat. This can be particularly useful while fishing, as you won’t need to drop your rod or reposition yourself while fighting a fish. They can also be used with other anchoring methods, like drift socks or stakeout poles.
I’ll break down some of the best anchor lock systems for kayaks and other small craft, as well as some other methods of anchoring your boat.
Quick Answer: 5 Best Kayak Anchor Locks
- Best Overall: Scotty Anchor Lock #276 Side Deck Mount
- Runner Up: Brocraft Kayak/Canoe Anchor Lock System
- Budget Pick: Attwood Lift & Lock Anchor Control
- Anchor Trolley: YakAttack LeverLock Deluxe Anchor Trolley
- Anchor & Line: Airhead Complete Grapnel Anchor System
Best Overall: Scotty Anchor Lock #276 Side Deck Mount
Scotty makes some of the most durable and effective accessories on the market – and this fine specimen is certainly no exception. Its straightforward design allows you to drop and retrieve the anchor by tugging on the end of your anchor line. You can also make small adjustments to the line in the same fashion.
Tough construction and smooth roller bearings mean you’ll be able to operate the lock quietly and without frustration. Also bundled with purchase is the Scotty No. 241 Combination Side/Deck Mount, which lets you attach the mount directly on a flat deck surface or the side of a gunnel. This also makes it a great option for mounting to a canoe or Jon boat.
Mounting the anchor lock to your craft can be done with the included 4” x 2” x 2” base. The top portion can be easily removed from the bottom portion for storage or transport. You could also attach the unit to an existing rail with the No. 438 Gear-Head Track Adapter.
- Ideal anchor release system for kayaks, canoes, and small boats
- Smooth roller bearings allow for smooth, quiet operation
- One-handed drop and retrieve
- For use with up to ½” thick rope
- Top portion of mount easily comes off base for easy transport
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Runner Up: Brocraft Kayak/Canoe Anchor Lock System
This well-made anchor lock from Brocraft is an ideal solution for mounting an anchor lock system to a variety of small craft. It comes with three different mounting configurations: a track mount, a deck mount, and a clamp mount. This allows you to attach the mount to kayaks, canoes, Jon boats, and even inflatables.
The track mount option is designed to fit in most existing rail systems including Scotty’s PVC and low-profile tracks, YakAttack, and Brocraft. The deck mount is similar to the Scotty #276 reviewed above, with a quick-release removable upper portion and a 360° swiveling head.
The clamp mount is perfect for canoes and other boats without wide gunnels. It made from marine-grade aluminum and has a max thickness of 2 ½” – making it ideal for horizontal and vertical mounting on a variety of craft.
Much like the anchor lock system above, adjusting the anchor can be done with the pull on the anchor line. This allows you to adjust or retract the anchor from anywhere inside your boat.
- Three different mounting configurations available: deck, track, and clamp mounts
- Track mount will fit in Scotty, YakAttack, and Brocraft tracks
- Deck mount features removable top portion and 360° swiveling head
- Aluminum clamp mount ideal for canoes and Jon boats
Budget Pick: Attwood Lift & Lock Anchor Control
If you’re looking for a barebones anchor lock system without all the bells and whistles then this sturdy little mount will fit the bill nicely. It features a zinc plated steel frame, a steel sheave to lock the rope in place from any position, and a smooth nylon pulley for easy lowering.
The anchor lock can take any line between 1/4” and 7/16”, and can hold anchors up to 20 lbs. Mounting the lock to your craft is done through several pre-drilled holes – self-tapping stainless-steel screws will work well for attaching to most craft. As it mounts flush to the deck, you’ll need a minimum 6-inch space to attach the anchor lock directly to the bow or stern.
All in all, if you have a small craft and want a lightweight, simple anchor locking system, this is the one for you.
- Zinc-plated steel frame is economical and durable
- Supports anchors up to 20 pounds
- Can handle anchor lines between 1/4” and 7/16”
- Pre-drilled holes for easy mounting to your craft
- Mounting hardware not included
Anchor Trolley: YakAttack LeverLock Deluxe Anchor Trolley
While it’s slightly different than traditional anchor locks, this anchor trolley from YakAttack is highly-functional and gives you far more versatility when fishing in moderate wind and current. It allows you to keep your kayak in one place but easily switch the direction your facing. You’ll be able to fish into the wind, with the wind at your back or cross current all without having to pull up your anchor.
The anchor trolley essentially has three main parts – two pulleys, a rope, and a ring. You attach the anchor rope to the ring, which can slide freely along the attached ropes to adjust your anchoring point. This also allows you to easily detach your anchor line from your craft if necessary.
The kit includes everything you need for installation including 35 feet of high-quality reflective paracord, pulleys, pad hooks, locking line clamps and the anchor ring. Mounting the anchor trolley to your kayak is fairly straightforward, just follow the steps on YakAttack detailed instructional video.
- LevelLoc line clamp locks your anchor in place at the flip of a switch
- Smooth stealth pulleys for quiet and smooth operation
- Includes 35 feet of high viz paracord, pulleys, pad hooks, locking line clamps, and an anchor ring
- Mounting the system to your craft is fairly straightforward
Anchor & Line: Airhead Complete Grapnel Anchor System
If you’re looking at kayak or canoe anchor locks, you’ll need a good anchor and line to go with them. This well-designed grapnel-style folding anchor is the perfect companion for nearly any small watercraft. Weighing 3 ½ pounds, its perfect for most boats in mud, sand, gravel, and rock.
The 4 flukes fold flat when not in use, so you can store it under most boat seats, in kayak hatches, and other small storage compartments.
A 25-foot-long marine grade rope with an in-line buoy and a heavy-duty stainless-steel snap hook come included with the anchor. This allows you to quickly detach the anchor from your pad eye or anchor trolley if you get into trouble. The small in-line float will keep your line and anchor visible – so you can come back later and retrieve your anchor.
If you’re using it with an anchor lock, you can easily remove the float and steel hook. Airhead also makes a larger 5.5-pound anchor with 50 feet of line for mooring smaller sailboats, Jon boats, and other medium sizes boats.
- 5-pound folding fluke folding anchor will hold in a variety of terrain
- Will fit under seats, in kayak hatches, and other compact storage spaces
- 25-foot-long marine grade rope with in-line float and snap hook
- Nylon storage case is padded for protection