Last weekend saw me at the side of a lake, pole fishing, something I enjoy immensely, despite the gusty wind trying to snatch it from by hands.
Being somewhat of a cynical, old-school traditionalist, I’ll admit I took to pole fishing late in my angling career, but it’s opened up a world of possibilities.
The very first pole I handled left an indelible imprint on my mind of just how not to fish.
The pole was made of fibreglass, ten metres long and had a diameter of around four inches at the butt section and weighed close to a ton, or so it felt.
At full extension, it bent like a banana, wobbled uncontrollably and had a zero recovery rate.
Every put-in resulted in the float getting horribly tangled. It took a long time to recover from that experience.
But today’s poles are a delight to use; I can fish all day at 13 metres, without suffering aching back and arms. They are made from high-tech carbon, lightweight, straight as an arrow and extremely effective at catching fish.
With a little patience and trial and error, most anglers take to the art of pole fishing.
The ability to place a bait in the same spot every time, the capability to lift that bait a few inches off the bottom of the lake and let it flutter back down and the chance to use soft baits like cat meat, pellets and paste make the pole a very effective fishing machine.
If you’ve never fished with a pole before, try one of the shorter margin poles around six or seven metres long. They are well balanced and easy to use. Don’t worry about fitting bushes and elastics – your local tackle dealer will gladly sort that for you and explain how it should work.
What you need to do is develop a smooth technique for shipping out sections and learn how to balance the pole across your knee, effectively taking all the strain from your upper body.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, it’s time to experiment with rigs, floats, shotting patterns and hook lengths. You can fish with extremely light, sensitive tackle and remember there’s no need to cast!
I wouldn’t attempt to catch huge carp on the pole, but I’m confident to land doubles all day on standard run of the mill equipment. Give it a go!