An anchor reel is a standard piece of equipment in an anchoring system, you need somewhere to store your anchor line! By using some form of reel, your anchor line is stored neatly and in an easy to use format. There are no 'off-the-shelf' dedicated kayak fishing anchor reels so many people use either a divers reel or some form of homemade reel. This blog post outlines my method of anchoring and how i made an anchor reel for kayak fishing.
Methods of Anchoring a Kayak
Once your finished fishing at anchor it is time to retrieve the anchor and line. There are two main ways people retrieve an anchor from the bottom back to the kayak:
- Pull in the anchor line by hand, passing the line back into the water as you haul to prevent tangles on the kayak. Once the anchor has reached the kayak, the loose line can then be wound back onto the anchor reel. This puts little or no strain on the reel when winding in.
- Shuttle your anchor trolley to the bow of your kayak and then wind in your kayak over the position of the anchor. Once your kayak is over the anchor, hopefully it won't be snagged and you can continue winding the anchor and anchor line in directly onto the reel and back to the kayak. This can put a lot of strain on the reel when winding in but in some conditions this can be easier, safer and sometimes quicker than dealing with the slack line used by the other method.
I use a mixture of both methods depending on the conditions, but generally tend to use the first method most.
Previous Anchor Reels
Anchor Reel MK1 was a quick build made from bits and bobs i had laying around in the garage. It was designed to be mounted in the scupper hole or flush mount rod holder on the kayak. Despite being a bit of a bodge job, with no stainless metal parts, it actually lasted quite well with around 3 seasons of use before MK2 came along. It was difficult to retrieve line direct under tension though if i needed too wind down directly onto the anchor during retrieval. I would have to pull the line up first by hand and then wind the loose line.
Anchor Reel MK2 was a gift from fellow kayak fisherman Richi. This reel was a step up from MK1 and was certainly easier to use. It was easier to store on the kayak and it had a large capacity but like MK1 it was still awkward to hold when retrieving line under tension. But the design was nearly there, i just needed a better handle to provide a better hold of the reel whilst hauling the anchor line directly onto the reel.
Making an Anchor Reel for Kayak Fishing
- 1 x Empty Cord Spool
- 1 x Silverline Tools Bike Storage Hook - 210mm
- 1 x Hobie Steering Knob Assy
- 1 x Stainless Steel Nut - 1/4"-20tpi
- 3 x 6mm Stainless Washer
- 2 x Stainless Steel Bolt - M5 x 10mm
- 2 x Stainless Steel Nut - M5
- 1 x Thick Plastic Chopping Board
- 1 x Plastic Pipe - approx. 20mm diameter
- 4 x Thick Cable Ties
- 200m of 2mm Polypropylene Cord
- Drill with 5mm and 6mm drill bits
- Sandpaper or File
The major components are shown below...
Building the Spool
I now needed a decent sized handle that i could get a good grip on to wind the spool. Richi had used a multiplier reel handle on the MK2 reel he made and this worked fairly well although a bigger handle was still needed. I searched around for a big game multiplier reel handle but this would have been too costly. A bit of searching and i found the Hobie Steering Knob Handle (bought at Cornwall Canoes). This is designed to screw into the steering handle on the Hobie kayak range, to allow for easier/smoother steering control. It came with a bolt ready to go so all i have to do was bolt it to the spool! At £13.95 this was the biggest cost on the build. The bolt was a 1/4"-20tpi and required a stainless nut, which was easy enough to source on eBay.
To do this, first drill holes the same diameter as the bolt thread where you want the nuts to be located. I'm using M5 bolts so i drilled a 5mm hole.