A Guide to Adding an Anchor to Your Fishing Raft

Adding an anchor to your fishing raft is slightly more complex than just buying one product. All in, this addition could run you anywhere from $800 to $1000, but it's well-worth it if you're looking to float and fish some of the most pristine and wild areas in the West.

We created this guide because fishing boats are often personally customized, and we want to give you as many options as possible to outfit your boat without overcomplicating the process. This guide to Adding an Anchor to your Fishing Raft should help you make the right choices for you and your fishing boat.

Before you begin, you will first (obviously) need a raft and a raft frame. If you need help figuring out the right raft or frame parts, please contact us. 

For assistance on finding the right raft for you, please view our guide here.
For help on building your raft frame, check out our raft building instructions here.

There's four pieces of gear you'll need to attach an anchor to your fishing rafts.

  1. Stern Mounts
  2. Anchor System
  3. Anchor Weight
  4. Rope

In short, the stern mounts/rails extend your frame to the back of the raft and the anchor system gives you the attachments to hold the anchor/rope. All manufacturers sell the rope and anchor separately to make your setup customizable to your boat.

1. Stern Mounts

Stern mounts allow you to get the anchor attachment and suspension point at the back of your boat. 

CKS Online offers two options for Stern Mounts:

NRS Stern Seat Mount
NRS Frame Stern Side Rails

The NRS Stern Seat Mount is a simple, one-product addition to your raft. It is a swivel seat that passengers can sit and fish from (note: the Stern Seat is not the seat you row from). The seat is supported by a metal piece that sticks out and away from the seat – this is where you'd attach your anchor suspension to.

The stern seat mount is overall easier to install and a better solution for those who are looking to seriously step up their fishing rig. It also gives you an extra seat for a friend; and the swivel lets you change your angle to cast off the back of the boat, even while someone else is rowing from the center. The primary drawback of this piece is that the Stern seat will not fit on many smaller 10' or under rafts.

NRS Stern Seat Mount Recommended Sizing:
  • The Small - 32" is for the AIRE Puma
  • The Small - 39" is for narrow rafts like AIRE Super Puma and Super Duper rafts, which aren't particularly wide but need the longer stern rails.
  • The Small sizes are designed for 54" or narrower frames.
  • The Large is for 60" and wider frames.  
Important Note: A Stern Seat Mount will not fit on an AIRE CUB or other 10' boats.

Stern side rails are an alternative to a Stern Seat Mount, but you will need to measure the length and width of your raft to determine the most compatible stern side rail for your rig.

Stern side rails come in 32", 36", and 39" sizes. If you are getting stern side rails on their own, you will also need a piece of frame pipe to attach to the stern end of the rails. This is where you will attach your anchor.

Stern side rails are a great investment for fishers who are looking to eventually add a motor mount to their rig. Rails are also great for smaller boats – like an AIRE CUB or any other 10' boat. 

 Stern Rail Recommended Sizing:

  • 32" for frames 54" and narrower
  • 36" is for 60" and wider.
  • 39" is for narrow boats; mainly the Super Puma and Super Duper Puma.

You should confirm your size before ordering either stern setup. To do this: measure the distance from the center of the cross bar on your frame the rails will attach to, to the center of the boat's back tube panel. Pick the size that is the closest match. If you need assistance, please contact us

Without a stern mount, your anchor will not be able to hang off the back of your boat. 

2. Anchor System

The anchor system is a set of pulleys and cam cleats that are attached to the frame and stern mount. This system allows you to lift up and lower down your anchor from the front of your raft. You run your rope through this system and attach your anchor weight to the stern end, which is detailed above.

There are two anchor systems readily available for anglers: the NRS Raft Stern Frame Anchor System, and the Down River Equipment Frame Anchor System (custom order only; call us for assistance).

NRS Raft Stern Frame Anchor System

The NRS Anchor System is a universal three piece system added to your raft frame:

  1. Cam cleat near bow
  2. Pulley on the side rail
  3. Suspension off of stern

Rope is not included in the NRS Anchor system; it will have to be purchased separately. Both the NRS and DRE anchor systems let you raise and lower the anchor from the rower's seat, letting you position your boat exactly where you want it before dropping the anchor.

3. Anchor Weight

We currently have two boat anchors available:

NRS Squid Lightweight Boat Anchor
Tornado Anchor

The Squid Lightweight Boat Anchor is essentially a mesh bag that you throw some rocks in, and attach at the stern suspension point.

The primary advantage of the Squid Lightweight anchor is that it's easy to transport when emptied. The disadvantage of a Squid lightweight boat anchor is that it only holds 15 pounds of rocks, which won't do much to anchor a raft in a strong current. 

The Squid anchor is perfect for someone who won't use an anchor often, and for those who are looking for an economical anchor option. 

raft fishing colorado

The Tornado Anchor is the higher-quality anchor option. It is a stack of plates, and these plates will contour with the riverbed as they hit the bottom.

A big advantage of these Tornado weights is that you can get more contact with underwater rocks than a traditional pyramid-shaped anchor. A Tornado weight will keep a raft in place more effectively than other anchors.

The main disadvantage of a Tornado Anchor is common to all anchors: it is heavy, making it a bit of a pain to transport when not in use.

 Tornado Weight Sizing Recommendations:

18 lbs. 9-10' raft or a light setup
24 lbs. Most 10-13' rafts
30 lbs. 13' fully loaded raft or lighter 14' setup
35 lbs. 14-15' rafts

If your raft is between sizes, go with a heavier weight. Since we know that a lot of CKS Online customers routinely row whitewater in addition to calmer rivers, it's best to weigh up to compensate for stronger currents. 

4. Rope

You'll need a way to to attach your anchor system to the anchor itself. This is done with rope. Please note that the NRS Anchor System does not come with a rope and must be purchased separately.

 Rope Sizing Recommendations:

  • For a rough estimate, you can guess the ideal rope length by adding the length of your boat and 2-3 times the depth you want to be able to use the rope at.
  • For example, a 14' raft in a 5' deep section of water requires somewhere near 30' of rope for smooth operation.
  • You will be able to stop your boat better by dropping your anchor upstream of where you want to rest, and the lower angle your rope is, the better your raft will stop.
  • It's best to get a rope that is longer than you expect to use, then cut it down if you are finding you have too much extra rope.

CKS Online recommends the Sterling UltraLine Water Rescue Rope 3/8" rope. This is the same poly rope that you'll find in a lot of throw bags. It's a really high-strength, low stretch rope. This rope will, in fact, float in the case you drop the wrong end or accidentally let it pull through the anchor system.

Sterling UltraLine Water Rescue Rope 3/8"


Adding an anchoring system to your raft frame is the truest definition of the phrase: "greater than the sum of its parts." Together, these four key pieces of gear will allow you to pump the brakes and cast away. 

  1. Stern Mounts
  2. Anchor System
  3. Anchor Weight
  4. Rope


Beebo Russell

Beebo Russell

Now I need an anchor system for my sup

Matt Irish

Matt Irish


Logan Steed

Logan Steed

Good stuff thanks for compiling good information

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