How Do You Use A Kayak Stake Out Pole?

Kayak stakeout pole

Need a fast and secure way to park your kayak in shallow water? You’ve maybe heard of stake out poles, but how do they work? It may surprise you how easy it can be to rig your kayak to anchor you firmly in skinny water so you can focus on reeling in that big fish. Perfect for kayak fishing!

How do you use a kayak stake out pole? In skinny water, the anchor tool of choice is the kayak stake out pole. Read about pole options, how to attach to your kayak and the best onboard storage.

We review what a stake out pole is, how to fasten it to your kayak, and the best place to store it when not in use.

As a bonus, we provide some great videos that demonstrate some of the concepts we discuss.

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What Is A Stake Out Pole?

The first thing to know is that stake out poles are large, firm stakes or pins that are used to anchor a kayak, canoe, or skiff in shallow water. They are more effective in shallow, calm, and slow-moving water. For faster or deeper water, drift bags and boat anchors work better.

Kayak stake out poles are also known as kayak anchor poles, kayak, anchor pins, and kayak push poles. So, they serve several purposes.

As an anchor pole, their main purpose is to be driven into shallow mud, hard bottoms, or even through oyster shell or gravel to anchor or “stake out” your kayak. They can then be secured to your kayak using an anchor pole mount.

You can also use them as a kayak push pole. You can then slowly move through as shallow as 2-3 inches of water when you are fishing in the marsh.

They are a relatively inexpensive solution that is designed to anchor up to a 16′ kayak, canoe or small boat.

Warning: do not use a stake out pole in high winds (more than 20 mph) or moderate to fast current (more than 15 mph). This will tend to push your boat around and cause your pole to pull up from the bottom. For these conditions, you will want to use an anchor or a drift sock.

Best Uses For Stake Out Poles

This may be one of the most valuable accessories you carry. Here are some of the best uses:

  • To anchor a kayak or boat in shallow water
  • As a push pole to quietly navigate skinny waters
  • As a boat hook using the T-handle to pull close to docks or other boats

Kayak anchor poles are designed to get the best experience while kayak fishing. Learn all you need to know about fishing kayaks here.

Standard Vendor Sizes

Note: 3/4″ diameter poles are usually suitable for 22-foot kayaks, boats, and skiffs. 5/8″ diameter poles are designed for vessels less than 17-foot. 7/8″ and 1″ diameter poles are suitable for typical vessels up to 27-foot.

Anchor Pole Features And Options

Most stake out poles include:

  • Two pole types:
    • Hollow floating poles
    • Solid, heavy-duty non-floating poles
  • T-bar or push grip handle for pushing down the pole in mud or push poling your kayak
  • Some include a lanyard with a braided dock line
  • More include a threaded accessory insert for cameras, flags, and lights

Several vendors have clever features designed after years on the market.

The YakAttack ParkNPole has a multipurpose handle to push down the pole which doubles as a foot for pole pushing your kayak.

Yak Attack ParkNPole Stake Out Pole
YakAttack ParkNPole Stake Out Pole

Yak Gear has made the lightweight Floating Stake Out Stick made of rigid nylon. No added anchor float leash required!

The people at Salt Strong have a great video that gives several good tips on using your anchor pin that I found useful.

Anchor Pin Tips For Kayak Fishermen

How You Attach An Anchor

There are three methods I found to the most convenient and reliable.

Method 1: Anchor Trolley

You will find the most flexible and safest approach is to use an anchor trolley. You can control at what point the anchor pole to the kayak.

First, you simply insert the pole through the ring of the anchor trolley and secure into the water bottom. Second, you slide the ring to the front bow or the rear stern, depending on which direction you want the kayak to face to provide the most stability. Lastly, you lock off the anchor trolley to a cleat.

Anchor Trolley System
Anchor Trolley System

The people at Salt Strong have a great video that shares tips on using an anchor trolley and a stake out pole

Kayak Anchoring: How To Anchor Your Kayak Using A Trolley System

Method 2: Anchor Pole Mounting Bracket

The simple and effective bracket that bolts down on the gunwale or fastens to an accessory track of the kayak. Drive the kayak anchor pole through the bracket guarantees a secure and fixed position for your kayak. Although, it does not have position flexibility like the anchor trolley.

Stake Out Pole Mounting Bracket
Anchor Pole Mounting Bracket
Stake Out Pole And Bracket Fastened To An Accessory Track
Kayak Anchor Pole Mount Fastened To An Accessory Track

Method 3: Power-Pole Micro Anchor System

There are several powered micro anchor systems. With the click of a remote button, you can raise and lower an anchor pin located in the stern of the kayak.

Although it can be thrilling to operate, there are several drawbacks to this option. The micro anchor will require a costly lithium battery that will need to stay charged between fishing trips. Additionally, since they are located in the stern, the kayak will always be pointing downstream.

The entire setup is quite an investment, that most people think is worth it.

The people at Austin Canoe and Kayak have a great video that shares tips on using a Power-Pole Micro Anchor.

Power-Pole Micro Anchor

Note of caution: do not use a stake out pole, mud stick (or anything else for that matter) in your scuppers. Scupper holes are the weakest part of any kayak and can cause damage to the scupper and cause it to take water into the hull. This could sink your kayak and void the manufacturer’s warranty.

Keeping Pole From Scraping The Kayak

Be aware that when the pole is pinned too close to the hull, it can tend to scrap the side when the wind or water current is fast. This can also happen when the wind or kayak changes directions quickly and the pole and kayak rub.

This is only superficial in most cases but will look bad if you resell your kayak.

You must also consider where to store your anchor pole when you have kayak pedals in the cockpit. Read here about using a fishing pedal kayak.

Here are some simple solutions depending on which kayak attaching method you are using.

  • For method 1: Anchor Trolley System – it is best to tether to the trolley ring with a 6′ leash. This will avoid any conflict with the kayak
  • For method 2: Stake Out Pole Mounting Bracket – you should not have any issues since it is fixed away from the hull
  • For method 3: Power-Pole Micro Anchor System – you should not have any issues since it is fixed away from the stern

How To Mount An Anchor Pole To Kayak

There are a couple of options for a stake out pole kayak mount:

  • YakAttack Deluxe ParkNPole Clip Kit with Anti-Pivot Mounting Base and Security Straps are Rubber clips
  • YakAttack RotoGrip Paddle Holder
  • RAILBLAZA G-hold 35MM that installs in any RAILBLAZA StarPort. 
  • Any 1″ pipe holder which would be installed on the gunwale

The above options vary from bolt-on to accessory track gadgets. You will need to make sure the diameter of the stake out pole you use matches the grip size of the holder above. Consider the installation location, how the pole will be attached and removed while on the water.


  • For skinny water and marshes and its moderate price, the best parking tool of choice is the kayak stake out pole
  • The best use for stakeout poles is a shallow water kayak or boat anchor, a push pole to quietly navigate skinny waters, and boat hook by using the T-handle to pull close to docks or other boats
  • Three methods for fastening an anchor pole to a kayak are an anchor trolley, a fixed anchor pin bracket, and a powered micro anchor system.
  • The best three ways to lock down an anchor pole to your kayak are: accessory track clips, pole storage clips and pipe clips bolted onto the gunwale.
  • Do not use a stake out pole, mud stick (or anything else for that matter) in your scuppers. This can cause damage to the scupper and cause it to take water into the hull and void the manufacturer’s warranty.

Tracy Villarreal

I'm the owner of Active At The Beach. I grew up in a beach town in which I was fortunate enough to spend tons of time around the sea and the beach.

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