Ridetheducksofseattle is reader-supported. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

The Best Anchors for Rocky Bottom

Anchors readily connote security and resilience because of their terrific, and at times unbelievable, holding power. With the right anchor, most moored boats can weather even the cruelest of storms.

best anchor for rocky bottom

Of course, the keyword there is “right”, and if you’ve been sailing long enough, you know how tricky anchoring in rocky bottoms can be. What if the anchor won’t hold? Undoubtedly, this question, at one point, has gnawed at any seaman’s mind.

Fortunately, with the best anchor for rocky bottom, you will acquire the much-needed peace of mind. With that said, do you want to know the secrets of seasoned fishermen and kayakers when it comes to this anchoring topic? If yes, continue reading the products featured here! Our guide should uncover them all for you.

Top 10 Anchor for Rocky Bottom Reviews

1. Best Marine Kayak Anchor

For a lot of kayak lovers, the activity should be 100% relaxation. This smart anchor guarantees just that and a host of other conveniences as well.

For obvious reasons, you’ll find plenty of grapnel anchors mentioned in this list simply because they’re widely considered the overall top-rated boat anchor for rocky bottoms. I just have to say that this anchor serves as an excellent example of what to look for if you’re more into kayaking or are limited to smaller boats.

It’s the kind of anchor that deserves to be called “well made”. In my opinion, its lightweight (3.5 pounds) construction hits the sweet spot for small boats since you barely feel the added heft. The sturdy holding power for rocky bottoms is also precisely what I look for in an anchor.

I can immediately determine if an anchor is good by whether or not it has zero drift and current movement. This grapnel showcased both in all the times I’ve used it.

It delivers solid holding power in favorable weather conditions but not so much on windy days or days with strong tidal currents. Based on my experience, reinforcing it with a chain ought to do the trick, though.

Another major feature is its folding flukes’ locking mechanism, which makes stowing and using the anchor easy. I also like that Best Marine was generous with their marine-grade nylon rope, which adds holding power if you know how to manage it.
Pros
  • Adequately lightweight for small boats
  • Zero-drift hold in good weather
  • Folding prongs with locking mechanism
  • Sturdy and lengthy nylon braid
Cons
  • Not recommended for windy days and strong currents
All in all, there is not a more perfectly designed anchor for kayakers and fishermen as this. It smoothly and consistently delivers sturdy holding power as well as other useful perks.

2. Extreme Max 3006.6659 Anchor

Responsively-designed and economical, this cost-effective anchor takes it up a notch and disproves the common notion that anchors are readily expendable.

I’ve taken this folding anchor in plenty of my lake kayaking excursions. I got the 3.5-pound variety for reasons I’ve stated above, and it fit right in with all my kayaks. I can say it’s relatively versatile because it handles murky and rocky bottoms suitably well, and it hooks easily every time I drop it.

As much as possible, I choose galvanized steel all-around because it’s cheaper, and I’m fairly impressed by its durability. Stainless steel anchors often overshadow galvanized steel ones when it comes to that aspect, but this Extreme Max proves to be an exception. It’s made to last, as evidenced by its design and because it offers a stainless steel variety.

The attachment point at the anchor’s head surely deserves a spotlight. It has to be used to make the most out of its design since it allows you to overcome those tricky situations when an anchor appears to be stuck for good. That has happened to me twice now with this anchor and looping the rope through that attachment hole at the head has gotten me out of that predicament with the anchor saved and intact every time. Really, it is an ingenious design.

Holding power is also notable as it can keep my vessels in place in mildly windy conditions and slow to no current. However, take note that I’ve only used it on lakes. I can’t find any major flaws to discuss other than, I suppose, the locking mechanism, which feels a bit feeble to me.
Pros
  • Remarkably durable galvanized steel material
  • Smart, lightweight design
  • Seamlessly hooks every time
  • Above-average holding power
Cons
  • Locking mechanism a little weak
Boaters who want a boat anchor for lakes built to last for years and will always be reliable despite being cheaper than most, will love this ideal grapnel anchor.

3. Lewmar 57905 Claw Anchor

A claw anchor that exhibits the inherent adaptability of this type to any kind of bottom, I was pleasantly surprised by this anchor’s remarkable durability and holding power.

Thanks to the relatively extensive research I did about anchors for rocky bottoms, I never bothered to use a Danforth anchor as they tend to break free a lot. I settled for the more all-around claw anchor, and considering that I’ve been using this for close to a year now, you can’t blame me for becoming a fan of this anchor type when fishing in spots with rocky bottoms.

Made of stainless steel, it’s definitely one of the more heavy-duty anchors in my collection. Naturally, I have no intention of losing it, and thankfully, I continue to succeed in this regard because I’ve always managed to dislodge it when mooring my Jon boat. I even took it on a trip to the southwest Florida Gulf Coast, where the bottom’s mostly soft sand, and it still performed spectacularly.

I’m also confident that this will hold even with a hurricane battering any small boat that’s tethered to it. I haven’t tested it on a storm but have seen that it can handle gusts between 40-50 mph quite easily. It’s as sturdy as it’s durable, that much I’m sure of.

Claw anchors tend to cling to rocks, and this one is not an exemption. What I did was connect a 10-foot 5/16 chain to the front attachment point using a ⅜ shackle, though I had to do a little drilling and tinkering to make the hole larger to accommodate it. Then, I used cable ties to connect the rear hold to the chain, so I can just snap the ties if the anchor gets stuck in a rock by applying forward tension.

I do have a little qualm about the comparatively short scope. I feel it limits the anchor’s holding power and depth. Nevertheless, the overall size and weight (22 lbs.) are still manageable by a single person.
Pros
  • Superb holding power
  • Demonstrates the versatility of claw anchors with ease
  • Easy to dislodge with the right setup and a few modifications
  • Proven durability
Cons
  • Scope a bit short
For its terrific holding power and versatility in handling most bottoms, this is the kind of rock anchor boat you wouldn’t mind bringing along on boating and fishing ventures.

4. AITREASURE Grapnel Anchor

This highly portable anchor weighs like a feather but still manages to capture boaters’ hearts.

I had doubts about this anchor because of its minuscule build but the vast number of positive reviews pushed me to give it a try. It definitely didn’t disappoint and even exceeded my expectations.

For one, it is very lightweight, which means that it gives me plenty of room to carry it as a backup anchor for my longer kayaking trips as well as the canoeing I do on the side. It’s also a bonafide space-saver once folded. It is one of the most compact anchors I’ve ever owned.

The real juice is the fact that it holds amazingly even though a lot of sailors may be nervous about its size. I’m not ashamed to admit that I carried a second anchor the first time I gave it a try to be sure. All things considered, you probably already have a good idea of how trusty this anchor is for kayaking in rocky and sandy bottoms!

As you probably already know, I’m a sucker for smartly-built anchors and this is certainly one that deserves that recognition. The main rope is meant to be attached at the hole on the anchor’s tip which loops to the usual attachment point. You can keep it secure with a light but sturdy plastic tie. So, once the anchor snags, you just yank it up, breaking the tie. Afterward, you can freely back the anchor out.

During specific conditions like stronger currents, you’ll need to give the anchor more bite by adding a heavy chain to it. If that can be considered as an issue, then know that’s my only misgiving about this product.
Pros
  • Very compact and portable once completely folded
  • Easy to carry as a backup anchor because of the reduced weight
  • Reliable for rocky and sandy bottoms
  • Smart, anti-snagging design
Cons
  • Weight might become a holding power issue
This anchor’s sheer portability and reliability allow it to seamlessly earn its place among any kayaker’s and jet skier’s arsenal.

5. BeGrit Small Boat Anchor Kit

Wonderfully compact and tiny, this grapnel holds like a champ even when up against imposing 4-foot waves and moderate gusts of wind and currents.

This is almost like a twin of the AITreasure anchor featured above considering the weights and the items included. I received this as a gift from my friend and since it sports the responsive design I love, it automatically earns a spot on this list. However, it’s not the only reason why, as evidenced by the abundant praise it has gotten.

Obviously, because of its weight, it’s easy to include in any small boat. Yet, in my case, I tested it out on a paddleboard, and it still worked wonders! Sure, waves that reach 3 to 4 feet made it budge, but I’m still impressed that all the waves managed to do was push the board to a slow crawl.

With my kayak, this anchor served as a great substitute for my AITreasure kit. The holding power is evenly matched to say the least.

I’ve taken this to most of my fishing trips in various rivers and lakes in the US, and every time I encountered rocky bottoms, I never hesitated to drop it down, especially if the weather is calm to moderate.

However, the size of the included bag with regards to the length of the rope leaves a lot to be desired. I ended up cutting the rope down, which most probably took a toll on the anchor’s grip, but I still struggle to stow it away. I rarely have the drive to buy a separate container for ropes, especially if my anchors come in kits, and this one is a disappointment in that regard.
Pros
  • Smart design that makes anchor retrieval easy
  • Fits small boats perfectly
  • Very lightweight and easy to carry as a secondary or main anchor
  • Always reliable for rocky bottoms based on first-hand experience
Cons
  • Rope too big for included storage bag
If you want a fluke anchor that’s guaranteed to take as little space as possible yet still manages to be a lifesaver, BeGrit’s offering should be high on your list.

6. Extreme Max 3006.6554 Anchor

One of the few delta anchors I’ve tried that can set and maintain a firm grip on rocks, this Extreme Max anchor is truly a cut above the rest.

Besides being relatively more inexpensive than most of its kind, this is my anchor of choice when fishing with my skiff and 16-foot center console because it showcases the versatility of the delta in most bottoms. That said, I initially doubted its claim that it works well in rocky bottoms too, as I was aware of the performance history of this type of anchor when used on them.

But, one day while fishing in one of the rocky areas in Lake Erie, I boldly cast it down. You can only imagine my glee when it set quickly and firmly. I’ve used it on more choppy days and rivers with strong currents, as well as in various depths. Needless to say, it’s versatile. I haven’t gotten any janky snags with this anchor yet, which is why I wholeheartedly recommend it as a rocky bottom anchor and even as an all-around one.

It’s by no means perfect. I’ve had instances when it got lodged in some bottoms but it pulls through every time even though it doesn’t have a hinged design. Another thing I adore is that it holds on to mud as long as there’s a bit of grass, rocks, and trees thrown in the mix. This is despite the brand’s disclaimer that it’s not guaranteed to work in soft bottoms.
Pros
  • Cheaper than most delta anchors
  • Outstanding holding power in extra windy days and strong currents
  • Sets quickly on almost all bottoms
  • Can still handle a bit of mud
Cons
  • Doesn’t hold on to hard sand
Many sailors clearly favor the delta anchor because of its ever-reliable holding power and bottom flexibility. If you want one that doesn’t struggle in rocky bottoms, there is no better choice than this.

7. Gradient Fitness Marine Anchor

Gradient Fitness’s lightweight grapnel anchor belies a holding strength rarely seen in this kind of anchor. As long as you know what chain to pair it with, it swiftly transforms into a staunch beast.

Many of the things that I love about this anchor should be obvious by now. The weight is already a given, as well as the folding capability. I love that it fulfills my requirements for grapnel anchor compactness when folded. Overall, it delivers the convenience I need every time I use an anchor for my boards and kayaks.

What definitely makes this anchor stand on its own pedestal is its holding power. It’s one of the few that proved me wrong with regards to my belief that most grapnel anchors this lightweight can’t handle choppier and windier weather conditions. I believe part of the reason behind this is that it jives with the chains that I typically use for my grapnel anchors.

I tend to use a moderately heavy chain that spans 5 feet at most. I rigged it up with this anchor, and it’s like the stars aligned because this anchor is one of the few that managed to display notable strength. As a result, this has become my go-to anchor in most kayaking trips.

The coat also stands out, and it’s not just because of the bold green colors. It’s well coated enough to boost its resistance to corrosion and even raise its style up a notch, if I may say so. The included bag is spacious and makes on-the-go storage easy.

Even so, the rope it comes with doesn’t deserve it. I distinctly remember that it didn’t take long for it to start fraying. After just a few fishing trips, I had to replace it with something more durable and deserving and have not looked back since.
Pros
  • Topnotch holding power
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Well coated for better rust resistance
  • Very easy to store in its spacious bag
Cons
  • Subpar rope
This grapnel makes a fine anchor for rocky rivers and windy beaches and can be tethered to numerous small boats while still maintaining top-notch holding power.

8. Attwood 119-661 Grapnel Anchor

This Attwood anchor really pushes the limits of the durability you can expect from galvanized steel anchors, while maintaining solid performance throughout.

This is the first-ever anchor I bought, so there’s certainly a tinge of sentimentality in my decision to include it here. However, I do want to stress that that’s a considerably milder reason compared to the others that I’ll mention below. At best, this anchor abounds in durability and holding power.

I’ve been using this anchor for almost 4 years now, and that’s close to miraculous as far as the fates of most anchors I’ve owned. I got it for a substantially cheaper price back then, so you can say that this gave me the most bang for my buck. The durability I’m talking about is not so much concerned about the years I’ve had it in my possession as the fact that it still continues to hold up well despite that mileage.

I took this in most of my early-years kayaking and fishing in the Great Lakes, and I can still count the number of times it let me down, such as when it snagged on rocky portions, although those mishaps could also be on account of my inexperience back then.

I no longer use it as frequently as before but the fact that it lasted this long makes it deserving of extra recognition. It also did stellarly on bottoms with combinations of sand and rock and most completely rocky bottoms. Full sand is a long shot, though.

On the whole, it’s an anchor that’s made for small boats and delivers what you expect from it. I got the 5-pound type, and it never felt like a burden to carry along, though I’m planning to get the 3-pound variety next time. My only real complaint is that debris-like mud tends to get stuck to it.
Pros
  • Exceptional durability
  • Relatively stronger holding power
  • Superior in partial sandy and most rocky bottoms
  • Manageable weight
Cons
  • Mud tends to stick to nooks and crannies
Based on its simple design alone, this anchor evidently puts utility above everything else. Its no-nonsense performance imparts it with all the charm it needs.

9. MarineNow Grapnel Boat Anchor

This grapnel anchor deserves a spot on this list because it fulfills everything I look for in an anchor for kayaking. It also delivers the icing on the cake with its relatively superior holding power.

This anchor might appear like your average grapnel anchor out there minus the kits it usually comes with. Does its quality make up for the price? I’d say the 3.5-pound variety is a real gem in more ways than one because its locking mechanism is the smoothest one I’ve ever had the pleasure to own. Moreover, it hides a vastly superior holding power compared to other grapnel anchors available nowadays.

I once went kayaking with a friend in Gauley River in 2017, and I remember autumn was just around the corner when we went. Halfway through the excursion, we had to stop for lunch so we looked for a calmer portion to do so.

We found a spot that still has a moderate current and used this grapnel anchor to tie both our kayaks with it. It held sturdily as we feasted on some turkey sandwich. The park has a catch and release policy so we had no choice but to return the trout we caught while we rested. Overall, we had a blast, and one way or another, this anchor let us have that much-needed peace of mind.

It also proved how efficient this anchor is on rocky bottoms. It bites quickly and stays set without much hassle. Again, I attribute this to the smart design. I can’t find anything to dislike about it, nothing major or minor, but I guess, it would have been neat to include a rope that works well with its design.
Pros
  • Smooth locking mechanism
  • Superior holding power
  • Proven to work extremely well on rocky bottoms
  • Smart design
Cons
  • Could use a companion rope
If you’re going for assured quality in a grapnel anchor and can do without the extra accessories, you might have just found that proverbial missing piece in your small-boat anchoring puzzle.

10. Extreme Max 3006.6652 Anchor

A true technological marvel, Extreme Max’s cube anchor may be the answer to boats that always seem to drag even after trying out all anchors.

Cube anchors are relatively new, but they have already created a noteworthy wave in anchoring circles – enough to convince me to purchase the one that has received the most positive reviews. For what I got, I’m glad I did.

You wouldn’t want a dragging anchor in spots with a rocky bottom mixed with various sediments and an extra-strong current, for obvious reasons. These were the conditions I once encountered when I fished for salmon on the Columbia River. I felt fortunate that I brought this anchor to support my 16-foot skiff because they quickly proved to be compatible.

This anchor can support boats that span 28 feet, so that should give you a clear idea about what kind of holding power to expect from this. I know because I once lent this to a friend with a pontoon boat that has that exact measurement.

Did I mention that it sets quickly, too? Also, it can handle moderate to strong winds and currents, which is necessary if you ever want to go in the zone while fishing.

The zinc material is another plus because it shows the manufacturer meant for it to last a long time. Wish it came with its own bag, though, so I won’t have to figure out how to store it properly.
Pros
  • Outstanding holding power
  • Innovative design that actively solves anchoring problems
  • Weight suitable for skiffs, pontoon boats, and center consoles that span 16 to 28 feet
  • Zinc-plated for rust protection in freshwater
Cons
  • Could use a bag to ease up storage
Innovative anchors don’t get any better than this. It takes experiencing its features first-hand to truly know what the inimitable value this anchor brings to the table.

Buying Guide

best-boat-anchor-for-rocky-bottom

When it comes to rocky bottoms, you only need to turn your attention to either a claw anchor, the standout delta anchor mentioned in the review, a cube anchor, or a grapnel anchor.

Based on my list, it’s clear that grapnels are the typical favorite. Should it really be a surprise, though? This kind of anchor is specifically designed for rocky bottoms that are characterized by precarious grips.

Though grapnel anchors may seem to be overshadowed in holding power by their weightier cousins like the claw and delta, their 4-fluke design that hooks onto objects outweighs that downside.

Heck, mountain climbers often can’t do without grappling hooks, which were the main inspiration for grapnel anchors, and what do they usually have to deal with? Rocks! So, as you can see, what makes grapnel anchors win is their specialty.

Of course, claw anchors, similar to a rocna anchor, also made it to this list because they do well in any kind of bottom. Their drawback, obviously, is that they often weigh thrice or even 4x to 5x the weight of grapnel anchors.

Delta anchors, on the other hand, are debatable since they often struggle in rocky bottoms, but there are definitely a few that can prove even the most experienced seadog wrong.

Look For Smartly Designed Grapnel Anchors

As I’ve mentioned at times in my product reviews above, I always opt for a grapnel anchor with a “smart” design. This means anchors that you can rig in such a way that they can be recovered easily even if they get lodged among rocks or other underwater debris.

Most grapnel anchors nowadays come with foldability features to save space and most don’t even weigh past 1kg. Oftentimes you may have to compensate for the lack of weight by rigging it up with a heavier chain. This should up their holding power significantly, to the point that they can keep your boat steady in more agitating weather and current conditions.

I’d say most grapnel anchors that allow you to do this deserve to be called versatile, and almost all that incorporate a smart design have this characteristic. That said, the other factors that you should always be mindful of when buying the right anchor for rocky bottom are the following:

  • Holding Power

This is technically how much pulling force the anchor can withstand. While each anchor has its own holding power, it’s often greatly affected by environmental elements like wind speed and conditions of the water.

The design and area of the fluke also largely impact holding power as well as the length or scope of the chain or rope used. Since anchoring is rarely an exact science, getting the anchor with the right holding power requires a bit of testing on what works best in your particular scenario.

  • Weight and Size

The common rule of thumb is to keep the weight and size of the anchor relative to the boat’s size and weight. A reliable resource to use as a reference for this is the boat anchor size chart found here.

Since grapnel anchors can be carried around and handled easily, they are often the preferred option by kayakers, skiers, canoers, and casual fishermen in bodies of water with rocky bottoms. Combined with holding power, weight often determines the overall efficiency of an anchor.

  • Material

I said I prefer galvanized steel because they are often lightweight, inexpensive, and highly resistant to rust. I never fully cross out the possibility of losing an anchor, and galvanized steel anchors have proven to be the most cost-effective in this regard.

Stainless steel is almost always heavier but stronger and also rust-resistant. Most look better than their galvanized steel counterpart. Another option is the more lightweight aluminum but anchors made of it often cost more and aren’t as durable.

You may want to opt for anchors with zinc coating or plating if you’ll be in freshwater more. Corrosion risks aren’t limited to saltwater after all.

Care and Maintenance

Rusting used to be one of the biggest issues anchor owners face, but what’s good is that most anchor makers nowadays readily address it by using materials and designs that prevent or slow down corrosion. They may not be immune to rust but this problem is unlikely to pose any serious threat to anchors, especially if they are coated with special paints that boost their corrosion resistance.

In fact, it could just as easily be about the actual anchor being more of a threat to coral reefs and other valuable bottoms than the other way around. However, that doesn’t necessarily give you the green light to not take the time to maintain your anchors, especially since any rock anchor boat should undergo regular maintenance in the first place, with the anchor system included.

Once you see rust beginning to rear its ugly head, that’s a sure sign that you need to do some maintenance. One proven way to prevent rust from developing is to apply marine paint to your anchors. That should offer protection or reinforce the layers that may have worn off over time. You should also consider making it a habit to not let your anchors be exposed to saltwater residues long after you’ve raised them.

It also won’t hurt to dislodge debris that happens to get stuck in the normally inaccessible parts of the anchor to ensure it would continue to work optimally. After every trip, disassemble the anchor from its chain then wash everything with fresh water to remove any saltwater that may have clung to the said parts.

Don’t forget about the anchor chain as every link plays an important role, as many experienced sailors can attest. Conduct regular inspections of portions that are likely to be weak. While anchor chains with weak links are often always replaced and aren’t recommended to be maintained anymore, doing these checkups is still a crucial step to ensure you won’t end up with a faulty chain in one of your trips.

Frequently Asked Questions

rock-anchor-boat

Who makes the top-rated anchor for rocky bottoms?

The brands I included here all deserve to be recommended because they can handle rocky bottoms without any of the usual hitches. All the grapnel anchors here have smart designs and the claw, delta, and cube anchors have been tested on the said bottom type. Each one has a specific aspect that makes it stands out, and my detailed reviews should suffice to reveal them.

If you’re going full-speed ahead for holding power and innovation, then I suggest you opt for ExtremeMax products. Attwood shines in durability, while AITREASURE and Gradient Fitness can woo anyone with their strong, compact, and lightweight anchors.

Does an anchor have to touch the bottom?

You don’t have to use an anchor in open water most of the time, so it’s almost always a given that the anchor should touch the bottom. Anything less than that would connote a doubtful grip, which defeats the purpose of anchoring.

How to use?

Most anchors come with ropes, but you also have to learn how to properly rig them to make the most out of their design. As for the standard way of anchoring a boat, it usually involves gauging the water’s depth and the anchor scope to get the most holding power. Experts recommend a 7:1 ratio when determining anchor scope.

Once you’re comfortable with the two factors, you can start lowering the anchor and securing the rope to the bow cleat you are using, all while paying attention to the scope. The boat should not drag at all. Otherwise, that’s a tell-tale sign that the anchor didn’t bite and hold properly. You can always repeat the said steps until you’re sure that there’s no longer any dragging present.

Conclusion

We hope you have a clear understanding by now about what type of anchor to buy. The best anchor for rocky bottom hinges a lot on design, holding power, weight, proper usage, and the X-factors that are wind and water conditions. We hope this information helps you to steadily wade through the torrents of other facts you encounter in your research.

5/5 - (3 votes)