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KAYAK BRUSH GRIPPER: INTRO
Fishing in a kayak is near impossible when the wind is blowing it away or the current is taking it down river! A kayak brush gripper will help you anchor your kayak to a branch or a reed – or really anything else for that matter! See what I have to say about them in my complete guide below – you’ll be glad you did! And so will your kayak!!
Kayak Brush Gripper – Overview
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Most people don’t know what a kayak brush gripper is, let alone know which one is best for them. In this guide, I’ve tackled that issue by providing an insight into what it is and how it works.
I have divided the guide into various sections so that you can skim the text quickly to find what you are looking for. The more quickly you find what you are looking for, the more quickly you can get out on the water! The first section explains what kayak brush grippers are and why you need to use them.
The second section deals with how we can set up, install and then successfully use a kayak brush gripper. It’s not all that complicated but can seem intimidating if you have never seen one in action before. Don’t worry – we keep this really simple and easy to follow.
Next, I’ve touched upon what to look for in kayak brush grippers. They look simple at first, but there’s a lot that goes into making them. Once you master this list of important considerations, you’ll be able to separate the “best” from the “rest” with ease!
Next, I’ve chosen the best kayak brush gripper from out of hundreds. I found that it is the best brush gripper for kayak fishing and most other kayak related hobbies. Now, there are other GREAT grippers on the market, but this one edges them out by just a bit – don’t worry, I’ll explain why!
Finally, I’ve summarized my experience in the “My Experience” section and listed some pros and cons. Its kind of dorky, but I like learning from pro and con lists – I hope that you do too!
Now enough of that. Let’s start with the guide!
Kayak Brush Gripper – Basics
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A kayak brush gripper is a piece of equipment used to clamp down upon reeds, branches, and bushes. It consists of two parts: a clamp that holds onto the brush, and a cord that keeps the kayak tethered. Sounds pretty easy huh? Its kind of like a kayak paddle holder, only it holds onto brush instead of a kayak paddle!
So why do you need a kayak brush gripper? And how is it any different from a regular anchor? Not familiar with regular anchors? We have ranked The 5 Best Kayak Anchors for you!
Well, kayak brush grippers are comfortable to use. You only need to set them up once, and they’re good to go. All you need to do is press down on the clamp to open the jaws and release to close.
They provide a means of temporary anchoring. You may want to consider a kayak brush gripper, especially if you’re using the kayak for fishing purposes. Its easy to clamp on and easy to clamp off. Perfect for when the fish aren’t biting in one area and you need to move quickly to the next!
Brush grippers don’t disturb the water and thus won’t scare away the fish! This is IDEAL in terms of keeping the fish calm and under your kayak – right where you can snag them! They can also be used to tether your kayak to a tree or a shrub to secure it in place.
Setting up the brush gripper is relatively comfortable and faster once you get the hang of it. A kayak anchor, however, requires an intricate network of cords to hoist it. You can see why some prefer the gripper to the anchor – CONVENIENCE!
It is for this reason that many people go for a brush gripper rather than a kayak anchor. However, you need to understand that a brush gripper can’t anchor a kayak to the water bottom. So if you want to fish in the middle of the lake, get an anchor and a trolley (you can learn how to install a kayak anchor trolley here)!
Brush grippers need to be resistant to the force of the wind and the power of the current. These pieces of kayak fishing equipment are made from high-grade stainless steel and premium quality paracord. Manufacturers use tough materials like these to stand up to the currents and winds!
How to Use a Kayak Brush Gripper
Kayak brush grippers require a first-time setup. Your brush gripper will come with a manual, but installation can still be tricky. That’s why we have provided the short checklist below explaining exactly how to set up your kayak brush gripper.
This list covers the general rules, as each brush gripper is just slightly different from the next – but you’ll get the picture very quickly, as there is a ton of overlap!
- Unbox the brush gripper, including the clamp and the cord.
- First, look for any manufacturing faults or shipping damages, and then proceed with setup.
- Unravel the cord and run it through the handle of the clamp and pull it out from the jaw-end.
- Pull a decent bit out, preferably a little more than half the cord.
- Now run the cord through the jaw-end of the other side and pass it out from the handle.
- There will be pins or “teeth” inside the handle and along the entire clamp to hold the cord in place.
- For further security, tie a knot right under the clamp.
- There will be just a little bit of the cord between the two jaws of the clamp that tightens down the brush to fasten it as you pull on it.
- The other end of the cord can be tied to any hook, carabiner, or pad-eye on your kayak.
- And voila! You have set up your very own brush gripper!
Side Note: If you liked learning how to use a kayak brush gripper, you might also like to learn how to use kayak outriggers! Also, learn how to stay comfortable in your kayak for longer by using the Best Kayak Seat!
Kayak Brush Gripper – Important Considerations
Brush grippers are made of two components: the cord and the clamp. When buying a gripper, make sure the cord is of supreme quality. Brush gripper cords should be designed to withstand tension, high current, and wind. This is quite literally your lifeline!
Paracord, also known as parachute cord, is the best example here. It is the type of cord that, as you might have guessed, is used in parachutes and is made of lightweight nylon! Most paracord is termed as “kernmantle rope,” which means that it has a protective sheath on the outside.
It is this sheath (and the core material) that keeps paracords taut and water-resistant. What’s best with paracords is that they’re made of 100% nylon, lending some elasticity to them. This helps create a little bit of a “ben, but don’t break” aspect, or so the saying goes!
If you’re looking to use this type of cord, go for the type-III paracord, also known as 550 cord. Type-III cord can handle a weight of 550 pounds and can stretch up to 30%. There’s also type-IV, which is even stronger. This is MORE than enough to manage a fishing kayak in even the swiftest of currents and strongest of winds!
There are some other types of cords, such as those made from polyester and polypropylene. But you’re compromising on durability and tensile strength here. Plus, a lot of regular ropes are not water or windproof. NOT GOOD! So don’t substitute a decent paracord with your local hardware-store string.
The length of the brush gripper cord is a highly essential factor to consider before buying it. However, most people don’t, and that’s where the problem begins.
When you’re anchoring to brush, you can find fish a few feet away from there. This is why the length is so important.
Typically, a length of 7 to 10 feet is preferred. However, you need to consider that the cord will loop once. So an 8-foot cord will give you a little less than 4 feet of distance from the brush. It can get annoying if you want to fish just slightly further from your anchoring point.
If your kayak brush gripper came with a cord that’s too short, you could substitute it with a similar but longer cord. There isn’t a real limit in terms of how long of a cord you want to use, just know that brush grippers are typically meant to keep you somewhat near the brush, not 500′ away! You get the point!!
Now for the main clamp. Clamps should be made from some waterproof material, such as stainless steel or aluminum. Aluminum is more prone to bending and warping and will cost you more. It’s mainly used to reduce the weight of objects, but how much can a clamp even weigh?
Stainless steel is your best shot here. Particularly, go for either grade 304 or 316 steel. Grade 316 is “marine grade” and can withstand chloride corrosion. But it will cost you more, and you can get similar results from the cheaper 304 grade.
In addition to that, you should check the coating of the steel. Using powdered coating, as it keeps the steel durable for longer. Powder-coated steel is not susceptible to flaming and is not toxic to the environment.
There’s also galvanized steel, which has a coat of zinc to prevent rusting. It is an even harder coating. And since it has been done by machines instead of laborers, the cost is lower. It can withstand the elements, including water, air, and dirt.
When to Use a Brush Gripper
When buying a brush gripper, it is essential to know whether you need one or not. We can use brush grippers to keep our boat or kayak anchored to a tree, shrub, or bush. There is a ton of versatility here!
We commonly see the application of brush grippers while kayak fishing. Kayak fishing, as you well know, requires you to stay in one place and prevent your kayak from floating away (kind of like the role served but the Best Kayak Paddle Leash). A floating kayak not only scare away the fish but also takes you away from the “sweet spots.”
In this case, a regular anchor (paired with a trolley) is not suitable. Anchors scare away the fish, and they require more precision to set up and remove. So you can’t move from one place to the other very quickly. If you do go with a kayak anchor and trolley, we would suggest that you get the Best Kayak Anchor Trolley!
If you’re not all that interested in kayak fishing (but you are still on this blog due to our wonderful writing skills and want to continue along), you can still use your brush gripper to secure your kayak and watch while others fish! It prevents it from floating away!
Buy The Best Kayak Brush Gripper
Among the very few tip top quality brush grippers that are available on the market, the showcased model tops them all. It is quite a versatile product, which we can set up to withstand high wind and tension.
To start with, the clamp of the brush gripper is made from powder-coated stainless steel. To be more specific, the steel is 18 gauge and stamped and bent to get the optimal performance.
Adding even more value to the product at the galvanized steel rivets. As stated before, galvanizing steel is just as durable as powder-coated steel, perhaps even more. Both of these materials come together to make one of the best brush grippers I’ve seen.
With respect to the cord (or rope), our showcased gripper uses a 550 paracord. We can use this type of cord in parachutes and is famous for being tension-resistant and saltwater-proof.
This paracord is about 9 feet long. You have to keep in mind that a lot of the cord will have to loop so that the actual length will be different.
This brush gripper, much like many other grippers, is specifically designed to get tighter and tighter, the stronger the wind pulls. Its kind of like a Chinese finger trap, if you remember those toys! This is because there’s a loop in the clamp itself that will tighten against the brush as you pull on the main cord.
I highly recommend this brush gripper, mainly for its durability and high versatility. You can use it to anchor your boat for security, to catch fish, or even use it as a tether for your equipment. You can use it in other hobbies too, such as hunting (though I much prefer hunting fish – if you know what I mean).
In my personal experience, I found the showcased model of brush gripper to be a highly durable gripper indeed. It clamps right down onto any brush or reed.
What I love is the fact that the harder you pull, the tighter it gets. It isn’t a new concept, and I don’t know if they’re the first ones to do it. But it’s certainly something that you wouldn’t want missing in a brush gripper.
The only downside I see here is the paracord’s length. It’s 9 feet long and loops once, with a hefty bit inside the clamp itself.
So you only get ~4.5 feet of anchoring. This isn’t good if you want to fish a few feet away from the brush. You can buy longer paracords of the same grade to mitigate this problem, of course. Don’t let the length deter you. Its like they say – size doesn’t (always) matter!
Here’s what I think of this brush gripper in terms of its “pros” and “cons”. Hopefully this list helps you make a quick evaluation.
- Resists tugs and pulls (Chinese finger trap example).
- Saltwater-proof clamp (great for kayak fishing in the ocean).
- Gets tighter, the harder you pull.
- Less prone to breaking and snapping.
- Works for most boats and kayaks.
- We can repurpose for other hobbies (if you ever take a break from kayak fishing, that is).
- The cord isn’t very long (buy longer para cord to bolster length – easy to find).
- The clamp is not welded (doesn’t lack strength, however).
So that’s it for the kayak brush gripper guide! I hope you found it useful, as I put in much work into it and have enjoyed my own brush gripper very much. For me, the best kayak brush gripper is the showcased gripper from above. It’s durable, reliable, and I don’t feel my kayak budging when I use it. It keeps me in my desired fishing location and that is good enough for me!
So how about you? Did you know there was such a thing as a kayak brush gripper before you read this article? I’ll be honest, I have been a kayak fisherman for many years now and it wasn’t until just very recently that I saw one of these for the first time!
Perhaps you have used a kayak brush gripper before on a kayak fishing outing and would like to share your story with us? Maybe you’ve even had first hand experienced with the showcased model of brush gripper and you want to share some of your own thoughts and feelings! Please reach out to us by posting on the Comments board below! We read and reply to every comment and love interacting with the kayak fishing community!