Nick Speed’s Pole Fishing Masterclass | Part 1 – Understanding Your Pole

Nick Speed pole fishing

by Tony Grigorjevs |
Updated on

Have you ever looked at someone pole fishing and thought you fancy a crack at it, only to shy away for fear of it all being a bit too technical?

Well, I’m out to prove that any angler can soon master it by taking things step-by-step.

During a new six-part series exclusively for Angling Times, I’ll explain all you need to know about pole fishing, from rigs, to essential accessories and winning techniques.

First up, let’s start with the pole itself. Seasoned match anglers will understand all the little devices required to make the tactic work efficiently, but a newcomer is bound to have questions.

Read on and you’ll soon have a thorough grasp of what everything is meant to do...

Top Kits

Almost every pole comes with a series of top kits. These allow you to have several rigs set up to help attack areas with different depths. The market has become awash with various styles in recent years to cover a range of situations.

‘Match kits’ are designed for smaller fish such as roach, perch, bream and F1s, and can accommodate an elastic rating up to approximately a grade 12. These have a smaller bore (opening) at the tip-end where the elastic comes out than ‘power kits’ do, for example, which can house thicker elastics for catching bigger carp.

Elastic Connection

There are several types of connector on the market, but the Dacron versions are by far the best. The line from your rig connects to the small length of Dacron, helping to offset it from the pole-tip. This helps prevent the rig from wrapping around the pole-tip when you are lifting and dropping it, removing the risk of an expensive breakage if you hook a big fish that races off at pace while the line is wrapped around the top kit.

Section Aligners

Look at the thickest end of each pole section and you’re likely to see a number. These are known as section aligners, and they help you line up the spine of the pole. Make sure the numbers are adjacent to each other on the two sections and you’ll find that your pole is a fraction more responsive when it comes to hitting bites.

PTFE Bushes

Look at the end of any top kit and you’ll find a small white plastic cap. This allows the elastic to run out fluidly without being damaged by any blunt edges of the top kit itself. Most top kits have them installed when you buy a pole, but if this isn’t the case for you, you’ll find a full range in your local tackle shop. It may involve using a small saw to cut the top kit back a fraction so that a PTFE can fit in snugly. Both internal and external versions exist, the former being more effective for the job. If you don’t feel confident about cutting back a top kit, ask your local tackle shop to help you.

Side Pullers

Any angler who wanted to catch big carp when the commercial scene first arose would have laced a very thick elastic through their top kit. It would be needed to stop the fish gaining too much control, but a small device known as a side puller has changed all of that. These allow you to have access to the end of the elastic at the thickest end of the top kit, and once you’ve shipped back and broken the pole down, you can strip it out. This allows you to use a lighter elastic, as you can effectively add tension by stripping elastic to tire the fish out. Every top angler uses them, especially on commercials, when your elastic needs to be quite soft to prevent an initial hookpull, before powering up as you get a fish closer to the net.

Elastic Choice

There are dozens of types of elastic on the market, and deciding which to buy can prove confusing. The higher the number in the rating, the thicker the elastic is. As a rule of thumb, solid elastics such Preston Innovations Slip are brilliant for silverfish in grades four to eight. Hollow or hybrid elastics are better for big fish, where a little more stretch is required to prevent your pole from being under too much pressure when you hook into a lump. Use grades 8-10 for F1s, 12-14 for carp in open water and 14-16 for carp down the edge, or when fishing close to prominent features.

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