With no reels or rollers to add complications, whip fishing is about as basic as it gets. But in the right hands a whip can be responsible for catching huge bags of smaller fish and its also a great way to introduce someone to the sport and progress them into pole fishing with longer poles.
Generally whips are telescopic in design, sometimes including a take-apart top kit section but this all depends on the manufacturer. The rig is either attached to a metal eye that is fused into the end section, commonly referred to as a "flick tip" or you can thread some elastic through the end section for added insurance when targeting larger fish.
The best fishing whips at a glance:
Best for lightness - Daiwa Connoisseur Pro Whip - View offer on Fishing Tackle and Bait
Best for beginners - Leeda Concept GT whip - View offer on eBay
Best for carp - Middy Baggin' Machine 5.5m whip-pole - View offer on eBay
The best that money can buy - Browning Sphere Silverlite System whip - View offer on eBay
In terms of fishing with a whip, its best to have a rig as long as the whip itself, so if you're fishing with a 5m whip, a 5m rig is best suited as it allows you to swing it back into your hand when re-baiting or landing a fish. If it is shorter or longer than the length of the whip, you will have real difficulty when it comes to retrieving the rig and it makes the whole process very inefficient and challenging.
Light and crisp in the hand, these quality Daiwa Connoisseur Pro telescopic whips will cover
- Superb action.
- Classy aesthetics.
- Best suited to smaller species.
Best for rivers
Designed predominantly for river fishing where longer whips are becoming a necessity, yet tough
- Good strength for a long whip.
- Additional top 3 and 5 kits can be added.
- Not the strongest for carp.
The Drennan Acolyte Pro is a superbly well thought-out and great value system whip that can be
- Light and responsive for speed fishing.
- Can be elasticated for bigger fish.
- Not in the the best price range for beginners.
Trying out fishing has never been cheaper with this exceptional value range of whips. Each comes
- Incredible value.
- Can be bought ready elasticated.
- Not the longest or lightest.
The Colmic Emperor are the highest quality telescopic whips with a fast action and a slim profile.
- Fantastic for speed fishing.
- Super light.
- Not the longest whips on the market.
An incredible value 5m telescopic whip with a 0.5m dolly butt. It comes with a flick tip and two
- Perfect for youngsters.
- Can handle fish big and small.
- Not the longest whip on the market.
Designed using the same technology as Sphere poles, Browning believes it’s created the lightest
- Super light.
- Can be elasticated for bigger fish.
- Comes at a price only suitable for top-level match anglers.
Three super-slim whips matched to a solid carbon flick tip, these Preston Response Whips are ideal
- Fully telescopic.
- Great for catching silvers at speed.
- Not elasticated for bigger fish.
Best starter fishing whips
These new Guru A-Class Whips in 3m & 4m are designed for quick and effective fishing, allowing
- The ready rigs are the perfect length.
- Strong and little to go wrong.
- Could come with a few more accessories.
What to look out for
There are two main types of whip – the system whip or the fixed length telescopic. Designed to be fished at a fixed length, the fast-acting flick tips of telescopic whips are ideal for plucking smaller fish straight out of the water.
Although not normally as well balanced, system whips are far more adaptable, with a telescopic top followed by a number of ‘put in’ sections that allow them to be used at various lengths.
System whips often come with spare tops, so you can easily switch between flick tip and elasticated options.
Whatever your style, ability or budget, there’s a whip in our line-up for you!
Whip: A telescopic carbon or fibreglass fishing pole, usually around three to eight metres long.
Flick Tip: The end section where the rig is attached, there is a metal eye or plastic connector but there will be no elastic present.
Elasticated section: The end of the tip section is cut back to allow elastic to be run through the centre of the section, this is fastened with a bung at the base and a rig connector at the tip end.
Telescopic: An item consisting of concentric tubular sections that are designed to slide into one another. The whip packs down into one large section.
Take Apart section: A section, usually at the end or the base of the whip that is pushed onto or into rather than telescopically attached.
Rig: The name referred to the final product of line, hooks, floats and weights.
Dolly Butt: A section usually around 0.5m that is inserted into the base of a whip for added length.
Fast Action: If a whip is fast acting, it means it can be moved quickly though the air to help striking efficiency.
Responsiveness: The time it takes for a strike to register at the tip end, better responsiveness means a shorter time between the two.
Frequently asked questions
What length whip is good for a beginner?
If you have just started fishing or this is your first venture into whip/pole fishing we recommend choosing one of around 4-5m in length. This will get you out far enough to catch fish and it is also a comfortable length to get used to fishing without a reel. Any longer and you may find them a little cumbersome to use.
How do I attach the rig?
Attaching the rig couldn't be simpler. If the tip has a metal eye you can just tie it directly onto it with whatever knot you prefer, if it has a plastic connector with a hook attachment, just create a loop in the rig, pull back the sleeve on the connector, attach the loop to the hook and slide the sleeve back over to lock it into place.
Are whips only for small fish?
Whilst whips are primarily used for catching smaller fish like roach and dace this does not mean they aren't capable of landing larger fish. Many carp are caught on whips, it just takes some patience to land them. If you were looking to target somewhere that had a lot of larger fish like tench and carp, we recommend looking at one of the stronger products on the list or elasticating your chosen whip to cushion the fight.
Are whips easy to use?
When it comes to angling, using a whip is probably the simplest and easiest way to fish. There are no reels to get tangled, no casting is required and you can buy good quality rigs that are ready to use. Simply attach the rig, bait the hook and swing it out into the lake and you are fishing, it really is that easy.
Author Dan Webb first became involved in angling journalism in 2015 and has worked as Tackle Tester at Angling Times since April 2021. He is a fanatical all-round match angler and former England Youth International.