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Premium Member
1,208 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Pole fishing is a highly specialised version of float fishing. A pole is used instead of a rod. The idea of using a pole is based upon early fishing techniques. Many people will remember when people fished with a long supple stick of wood or cane stem. Modern rod materials like Carbon fibre and Fiberglass are now used to make long poles.

Poles provide a level of precision that a rod and reel just can't produce. They allow you to hone your rigs, presentation and skills down to a fine edge. I feel that pole fishing is the 'fly fishing' of 'coarse fishing'. It may seem like an ungainly way to fish, but once you learn how to use one, you'll ask yourself why it wasn't sooner.

There are many varieties of poles available. Poles can be used to fish shallow or fast rivers, to small ponds or large lakes. They come in different lengths, strengths and designs. They can be used to 'bag-up' on small fish like Roach, or to tame the hard fighting Carp. Poles allow you to fish with a great level of precision and sensitivity. It is a very popular technique with match fishermen, and when used in the hands of a professional, can result in a huge weight of fish. It really is something you have to see and try to believe.

What are Poles ?

Poles are similar to very, very long rod blanks. The length ranges anywhere between 6 to 18 meters. The pole blank is made up of many sections. A section is usually 1 to 1.5 meters long.

Poles are designed to be put together in different ways. The original poles used telescopic sections. These sections slide together like a telescopic rod or an aerial. The pole butt is the largest section. All other sections sit within it. The sections are extended to become one pole.

The other more popular design is the 'pull-apart' pole. Each separate section is made to slide into the end of the next section. This type of pole can use two different types of section joints. The first is the 'put-over' joint. This is where the section closer to the tip of the pole, is designed to slide into the end of the section behind it. The other type is called the 'put-in' joint. This is where the section closer to the tip of the pole, is designed to slide over the end of the section behind it. The 'put-in' joint seems to have become the most favoured type. I believe that when poles were first being designed, this joint used less materials, and therefore made the pole a bit lighter. Modern techniques and materials allow for the use of either one. I don't think it makes much difference with the range of poles available now.

What are Pole floats ?

Pole floats are a designed to be ultra light and sensitive. Since the float rig is literally pushed out by the pole, any excess weight previously used for casting, is no longer needed. This means that the float is only being used as a bite indicator.

Pole floats are recognisable for their small body, slender stem and stream-lined design. The pole float body is located nearer the top of the float. This reduces the weight needed to sink it. The body is usually made from balsa wood. This is because balsa wood is very buoyant, yet still very strong. Balsa wood also allows for many different shapes and designs. The shape and design of a body affects the way the float sits in the water, to the way it responds to a fish taking the hook.

The stem is an important part of a pole float. It needs to be strong yet very light. The main types of materials used for stems are cane, thin gauge wire, fibre glass, plastic and carbon fibre. Each different material has different characteristics.

Cane is the traditional material used to make stems. It is very cheap and natural looking.

Thin gauge wire and spring steel is very strong, but adds quite a bit of weight to the float.

Fibre glass is very strong and light, but isn't very thin.

Plastic is cheap and light, but isn't strong. If the stem bends from a big fish, then the float is usually wrecked.

Carbon fibre is the latest in pole float stem technology. It is extremely strong and light. The material is more expensive than the others, but if you are after quality, then go for floats made with this.

There are many varieties of pole floats. The range of shapes and styles suits all situations.

Body-up pole floats

The term 'body-up' refers to the 'bulge' of the float body being closer to the tip. This is the most common style of pole float. The main advantage of having this, is that the centre of gravity is closer to the float tip. This provides greater stability for the float. This float is suited to most fishing conditions. It works very well in calm water. It also works well to keep the float tip stable under windy conditions.

Slim body pole floats

Slim body pole floats are ultra sensitive and are used to catch very small fish like Gudgeon. The body is very thin and doesn't have a lot of buoyancy. These floats don't take a lot of weight to 'set' in the water. As a result, the shot size used is very small, so you can still set the float rig up correctly. Anglers use 'dust' shot for this.

There are many different variations of pole floats. The size, colour, shape and tip colour, varies greatly between manufacturers. If you like one style of pole float, then it is possible to buy a whole range of different sizes for that one version. You can even get the same float with different colour tips. Black is great for very bright days, Orange is good for normal light, and yellow is great for low light. You can even buy fluorescent tips. Many pole anglers keep a large range of pre-tied pole float rigs with them. If your line breaks, all you have to do is swing the pole to hand, detach the old rig, then attach the new one. Put some bait back on, swing it out and your fishing again in under 40 seconds ! There are even techniques to improve on that which will be discussed further on.

Wagglers and Dibbers also work particularly well on the pole. The one main advantage that pole floats have above these, is that the float sits straight above the 'rig'. This means that the shortest amount of line is being used. Any line or hook movement is directly relayed to the float tip. Wagglers usually have a slight time delay before registering movement. This is caused by the small amount of slack line in the rig. This delay results in many lost opportunities.

Pole fishing enables you to know exactly what is happening to your 'rig'. If a fish touches the line or takes the bait, then you will see the pole float move. Pole float rigs are very versatile. You can change the time it takes for the float to display movement, to the position it sits in the water. This level of precision is what separates pole fishing from float fishing.

If you find it hard to believe the difference precision makes, get on down to a local 'match fishing' competition and see for yourself. I had fished one venue many times, and caught a respectable amount of fish, but when I saw a professional match fisherman and pole in action, his one daily haul beat all my previous efforts. I was a humbled man that day.

Premium Member
1,208 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks mate.

The Hair Rig

The modern day Hair-rig was devised by Kevin Maddocks and Len Middleton in the late 70s. It was while conducting tank tests that they concluded that Carp were actually frightened by the effect of the hook and hooklength passing over their lips.

The way round this was to mount the bait on a very light, supple, two-inch Hair , which was attached to the lower bend of the hook.

The long supple Hair allowed the Carp to confidently pick up the bait and pass it back to the Pharyngeal teeth without feeling the effect of the hook or hooklength over it's lips.

The Hair-rig has changed a lot since then in that there is less emphasis being placed on the Carp's fear of the effect of the hook and hooklength over its lips. Nowadays the emphasis is on the hook being able to turn and find a good hook-hold as the hookbait is being ejected by the Carp.

The easiest and most effective method of producing a Hair-rig is to use the Knotless-knot.

The Knotless Knot

The Knotless-knot is very simple and easy to tie. The knot simply utilizes the hooklength material to firmly tie on the hook and produce the hair of a desired length.

Tieing The Knotless Knot

1. Tie a small loop using an Over-hand knot at one end of your selected hooklength material, I,ve used a 12 inch length of braid in this instance. This loop for your boilie stop to secure the boilie in place.

2. Using a Boilie Needle thread the boilie (or whatever your using as a Hookbait) on to what will be the Hair.

3. Once the Boilie has been threaded on to the Hair a Boilie Stop is pushed through the loop to secure the Boilie in place. Thread a small piece of Silicone tubing on to the hooklength and then on to hook, before threading the hooklength through the eye of the hook.

4. Adjust the length of the Hair to your desired length, about 3mm from the end of the hook to the hookbait is my desired length of hair. Whip up the shank of the hook using a minimum of 5 turns.

5. Thread the hooklength once more back through the eye of the hook and pull tight.

6. Tie a swivel on to the end of the hooklength and your ready to go!

I always put a small dap of Super Glue on the knots just for piece of mind, but it isn't necessary.

Using the Hair-Rig

Once the Hair-rig has been tied a Boilie or bait of the same size can be used on the same Hair time and time again as the Hair length has been set for that particular size of bait.

The piece of Silicone tubing that I use is to determine the position of where the Hair leaves the Shank of the hook, which is level with the hookpoint. This also allows the hook to turn and the rig to work, in a sense, as an anti-eject Blow-Back rig. In other words, once the hook has penetrated the lip of the fish, the fish wont be able to blow out the bait and hook, just the bait.

Other anglers prefer not to use a small piece of Silicone tubing, but instead whip all of the way up the shank of the hook until they are level with the hook point, which is fine.

Hair Length

In my experience, and whilst discussing Hair length with other anglers, Ive found that there is no ultimate Hair length, though a gap of between 2mm to 10mm from the bend of the hook to the hookbait is favoured by most.

It's a case of trial and error in finding a Hair length that works for the size and pattern of hook being used, the size of bait being used, the hooklength material and the way in which the carp are feeding. If you are missing runs or you feel the fish are picking up and successfully ejecting your hook and hookbait then a adjust the length of the Hair, which could make all the difference.

The same Hair-rig/Knotless-knot, but with a longer Hair.

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