Buying a pole can be a confusing and difficult process, they look the same just one long length of carbon of varying lengths, how do you establish which one is right for you? Read on to find the all you need to know about making the right purchase for you, your fishing and your budget.
First we need to understand what makes a good pole, and understand which ones are right for you. Things to look for are the weight, the strength and the balance of the pole, these things are crucial and getting these right are one of the reasons it makes choosing a pole so difficult.
We need to understand the benefits of using a pole to fully come to terms with the full potential of utilising a pole on your water.
Accuracy – You can place your bait and rig exactly where you want it, something that you can never to do with a rod and reel.
No complications – There is very little that can go wrong with a pole, very rarely will you get a tangled rig, this ensures you are always fishing at maximum efficiency.
Feature finding – It is so easy to search for depths with absolute accuracy, so much easier than you could with rod and reel, find subtle features like a gentle sloping margin, underwater ledges and the slightest deviation in depths all of which will instantly help you catch more fish.
Rig control – A pole makes it easy to hold your baited rig against the undertow of a lake or current on a river, with a pole you can use the natural flow of water to help your hookbait act naturally, something that is almost impossible to do with rod and reel.
Maximum bite efficiency – If you miss a bite, simply lift the rig from the water, check the bait is ok, and dip it back onto the hotspot, most of the time this will result in another quick bite, no disturbance, no time lost with the bait out of the water, again no rod and reel set up can match this.
Basically there are 3 types of poles for you to choose from:
These are the shortest style of pole normally ranging from 4M to 10M. They are extremely strong poles that are made for catching large carp that inhabit the margins in commercial carp fisheries. Margin poles are great for those starting, juniors, pleasure anglers as well as professional match anglers, because they are light, durable and almost unbreakable. Margin poles range from under £40 to top of the range models at over £150.
These are very strong as they are designed to cope with the strains of catching big, strong powerful fish quickly and often. The extra strength gives them more weight as the thickness of the pole sections is increased to ensure they do not break under the stress you put in them while bagging carp all day.
These poles are available in a wide range of lengths 10M through to over 17M. Most good carp oles are supplied with additional to kits and most will handle the strongest, thickest elastics. As a starting point look for a pole between 11M and 14.5M a good quality pole will cost between £130 to over £500.
Match poles are the stiffest, lightest and most well balanced poles available. These poles are designed for catching large numbers of small to average sized fish, with a wide variety elastic strengths. The poles are used by most match anglers when tackling canals, mixed Stillwater and rivers. These are the poles to use when delicate precision tactics are required. Match poles are normally long between 14.5M and 16M and are normally expensive due to the high grade of carbon used to eliminate weight while retaining strength. Expect to pay £800 or more for these high quality poles.
How to decide on pole length
It is vitally important when buying a pole to pick the longest pole you can afford, as this will ensure you have as many options as possible when fishing, more features can be reached, those distant island margin spots become easy to reach and extra open water can be searched for shoals of fish.
You won't need to use your pole at full length every time you fish, but having the extra length available means you can react to fish moving further out, against far banks or that bit further down the margin should the need arise. Most of the time you will be fishing at 10 – 13M but there are times when fish will move out of range, and with the longer pole you have them covered.
Weight and balance
The weight of the pole is not as important as many people think. The weight of the pole is given as a whole package when the pole is packed away in its holdall when you transport it to the waterside. However the reality is the pole when in use is tapering away from you, where you hold the thick butt end pointing directly to the thin, light tip end. It is when using the pole that the downforce of the pole becomes the important factor in holding the pole all day.
The downforce is the amount of weight that has to be placed on the butt of the pole to lift the tip section from the ground. The more downforce you have to apply the harder it will be to hold the pole comfortably. The less downforce required, the better balanced and lighter the pole will feel when in use. So the better the balance the easier the pole is to fish with.
Why Stiffness is important
When you pick up a pole and perform a striking motion, you will notice that some poles wobble for sometime after striking while others will straighten almost immediately, the poles that wobble the least and return to stillness are the ones to choose.
The reason is simple but crucial, the stiffer poles will be better in the wind as they don't bend as much, you will notice in a crosswind the softer poles taking the shape of a banana, these are very difficult to control. Stiffer poles also help you strike fast bites, delicate bites and they will also help to ensure you don't "bump" fish off on the strike. All these factors will make a difference on those difficult fishing days or when trying to win a match.
Extra top kits and cupping kits are always useful. A cupping kit allows you to place loose feed, and groundbait exactly where you want it, this total accuracy will result in more fish caught.
Extra spare top kits will also help you catch more fish as you will be able to set them up with different elastics and different rigs to enable you to quickly react to different fishing conditions, species of fish and different parts of your swim, allowing you to search for fish with a variety of tactics is essential to keep catching consistently throughout the day. As an example you could have one rig set up for catching fish on the bottom, one for fishing in mid water and one for the margins. Being able to use each tactic in an instant can be the difference between a bad day and a match winning one.