DIY Anchor Trolley for a Fishing Kayak

I finally got all of the parts, and was able to put together my do it yourself anchor trolley for a fishing kayak.  I could have gone to Yak Gear or ACK or any number of places and purchased a trolley setup, but what fun is that?  I told myself when I got the Cuda that I would do all the mods I was able to do on my own. I did this  because doing it yourself is half the fun, and much more rewarding when you use it and it works flawlessly.  Plus, I like to know that its done the right way, and doing it myself takes care of that.  So here’s the run down on how I built my do it yourself anchor trolley for a fishing kayak.

First off, I must give credit where credit is due.  The design of my trolley is very much based on Chad Hoover’s design in this Kayak Bassin’ video.  Second, the idea for the rope was not mine either, but I can’t remember who it was.  I read it online somewhere.  So whoever had that idea, kudos to you, whoever you are.

Ok, let’s get started with a materials list.  Links included to where I purchased, as usual.  I purchased everything where I found the best prices.  This list is to make two anchor trolleys, one on each side of the fishing kayak.  Having only one trolley limits you range of motion significantly.

The rest of this stuff can be purchased at your local Lowes, Home Depot, Ace, etc.  Make sure you get stainless so it doesn’t get destroyed by the salt water!!!

  • 3/8″ Stainless Steel Spring Link (or Carabiner)  x 4
  • Heat Shrink Tubing that will fit over two pieces of bungie (sizes may vary)
  • Heat Shrink Tubing that will fit of two piece of 3mm cord (sizes may vary)
  • Clear Silicone  waterproof sealant, Outdoor is best for UV resistance
  • Stainless Steel Screws that fit your pad eye without a lot of wiggle x 8
  • Stainless Steel Nylon Lock Nuts that match the screws x 8
  • Rubber Washers that fit your screw size x 8
  • Stainless Steel flat washers that are just slightly smaller than the rubber washers x 8
  • Sewing needle and black thread

That’s it for materials.  Here’s how you do it-

To start, you need to do some bungie sewing.  There’s other ways to join pieces of bungie, but I agree with Chad Hoover on this one.  Its clean, won’t snag, it’s secure, and just looks better.  You need to make loops out of the bungie and sew them into a circle with a piece of heat shrink over the union.  I made my loops 22″.  This may change depending on the size of your yak, how much stretch you want, and where you are connecting the pad eyes on the hull.

Begin by cutting a piece of bungie to the desired length.  Thread the bungie through a piece of the heat shrink.  Lay the two ends over each other by about an inch or so, and sew them together.  I like to do two passes with the needle to get even coverage and make sure it stays secure, even if one end starts to fray.

After the ends are secured, forming a loop, thread the heat shrink over the union, and heat it up with a hair dryer, heat gun, or lighter.  Make sure it wraps tight around the rope on both ends and sits tight up against the exposed bungie edges to prevent slipping.

Now that the loops are prepared, its time to work on the yak.

Start by making sure you know exactly where you want to put the pad eyes for your pulley attachment points.  Make sure in planning this out that you can reach the spots where you want to mount the pad eyes from INSIDE the hull, through a hatch.  This was fairly easy on the Cuda because of the large bow and stern hatch covers.  Some other kayaks, not so much.  If you don’t have access to the rear of your kayak, you may want to consider rivets (I’m not a fan for anchor trolleys) or the Yak Attack Rigging Bullet.  Make sure the attachment points are above the water line but low enough that the cord won’t get snagged on anything on the deck.

One other thing to check is that you place the pad eyes the same distance from the end of the yak on either side.  Its not terribly important that they’re completely symmetrical from side to side, but it sure would bug the hell out of me looking at it all day.

When you have it all planned out, start by drilling the pilot holes for your screws.  The pilot hole should be just slightly smaller than the diameter of the screw so that the threads with catch on the plastic.  This will vary depending on the diameter of your screws, but I used a 5/8″ bit for my screws.  Use the pad eye to align the bit and keep it steady on the slippery plastic.  When drilling, do not push down hard on the drill.  Just let the weight of the drill push it through.  Drop a nail or smaller screw in the hole to hold the pad eye in place while you drill the second hole. This is imperative so the holes line up.  When both holes are drilled, remove the nail or screw and the pad eye.


Once you finish drilling the holes, cover them with some of the silicone to help seal them.

Align the pad eye with the holes, and insert the first screw.  Use a drill to screw it into the kayak about half way.  Align the second screw, and drill it in halfway also.  Do not drill these all the way down until you add the nut and washers on the other side.

On the inside of the hull add the rubber washer first, then the metal flat washer over it, then the nylon lock nut to keep it all in place.  Use a ratchet to tighten it down.  Rig up and tighten the second nut as well.  Using a crescent wrench, hold the nut still and use the drill to finish off the screws while you hold the lock nut.

Seal the pad eyes with some more silicone and clean up any excess with a paper towel.  Make sure the entire screw head is covered on both sides of the pad eye.

Allow plenty of time to dry before using and at least an hour or so before continuing this project so as to not make a mess of the silicone.

Once the silicone is dry to the touch, insert one of the bungie loops through the pad eye.  Make sure the union is close to the pad eye.

Grab both ends and clip together with the carabiner.  Slide the bungie to the back loop of the carabiner and clip on the pulley.

Repeat this for the other pulley on the same side.  When you have both pulley’s attached, grab the NiteLine utility cord.  This stuff is awesome for two reasons.  First, at only 3mm, it has a tensile strength of 500lbs.  Second, it has a reflective ribbon woven into the cord that makes it highly visible at night, adding an awesome safety feature without the ugly tape stripe around your boat.  Here’s two pictures of the rope.

This is with the camera flash off.

And here is a picture with the flash on so you can see how reflective it is.

As you can see, its extremely effective.

Take the rope, and run it front the center to the back of the yak.  Run it through the pullet from the bottom to the top, and then thread it through the nylon ring at the center of the yak.  Run the rope through the other pulley, and tie it to the nylon ring.  I used a Poacher’s Knot.

Cut the coiled end of the utility cord at the ring leaving enough slack for your knot.  Tie it on to the other side of the ring.  Cut the excess off except for an inch or so and finish off the ends by melting them and covering the tag with heat shrink or electrical tape.

Repeat the process for the other side of the yak, and voila!  You have a reflective, strong, flexible do it yourself anchor trolley for a fishing kayak.  Enjoy!

If you are using a clip on anchor, clip it directly to the ring and run it where ever you need it along the side of the hull.  If you are using an anchor float, check out my next post on making an anchor flot and how to use it with the trolley for a quick release anchor when you need to fight a fish.

Tight Lines,


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