One of my pet peeves about using a small boat (kayak, canoe, etc) is the fact that wind can turn a productive day of fishing into a day of paddling and sloppy presentation. It’s enough to make a guy go drag…
Drag chain anchor that is. A drag chain is a type of anchor that causes friction on the bottom rather than trying to bite in and hold like a conventional anchor. Generally a drag chain won’t hold you completely still in the wind but a little drag goes a long way.
So what materials do you need to make a drag chain anchor?
Surprisingly, the list of materials is pretty short:
- Chain – I found mine at Walmart. It is made to connect an anchor to a rope (Irony ensues). It weighs approximately 3 lbs.
- Rope – I used a 25′ length of 3/8″ polypropylene utility cord. Perhaps a bit thick but it does the job well.
- Zip ties – I use these to keep the tag ends of the rope cleaned up
- Carabiner – This is used to connect the end of the anchor rope to the boat
So how does one build a drag chain?
- First lay out your chain to determine the lengths of chain you would like to use for your anchor.
I realized my chain was far too long to be an effective drag chain anchor. Lucky for me, this chain came with screw on clevises on either end.
- Fold you chain and secure. I folded my chain into 3 strands and secured it with a clevis.
- Tie your anchor chain to your anchor line
- Secure the tag end of your anchor line knot with a zip tie.
- Next tie the other end of your drag anchor line to your carabiner.
- Secure the tag end of the carabiner knot with a zip tie
- And you’re done!
There you go. Another easy kayak mod that can most likely be built for under $30. My first test of this drag chain was in steady 15 mph winds with gusts of 30 mph. While I did move around a little bit I could comfortably fish without having to wonder if I would be blown in to shore (I was more worried about my paddle being blown from my hands).
From a safety standpoint I like the drag chain anchor. It is far less likely than a traditional anchor to hang up and tip your boat. Hauling up the anchor is also very easy. At 3 lbs you’ll wonder if your anchor is still attached when bringing it in.
Ideas for improvement:
- Try heavier chain – More weight = more drag
- Use shrink tubing – Keep the metal chain from spooking fish (it also makes for a cleaner looking anchor)
- Use another carabiner to lock off/manage the depth of your anchor line
- Build an anchor trolley to help control the direction your boat points in the wind (more on this soon!)
** As a side note for safety ** Always carry a knife on your vest. Things can happen very quickly on the water. Ropes can easily wrap around your legs in the event of a flip. Being able to cut yourself free could save your life. Also, it goes without saying but if you are on a kayak you should be wearing a PFD.
Any ideas for improving the drag chain anchor? Let us know in the comments below!