Pole fishing is an incredibly exciting method used by match and pleasure anglers on various venues and when fished correctly, with use of the best fishing poles, it is one of the most precise tactics for placing a bait accurately over your loose feed and allows bites to be hit in an instant.
Buying a fishing pole is a serious investment. Even if you're purchasing one of the cheaper budget poles on the market, it is still likely to be one of the most expensive items of tackle you own. For this reason, it's important to consider what type of fishing you'll be predominately using your pole for and then purchase one which best suits this task. There's no point splashing out on a 16m pole if you never need to fish at 16m.
The best fishing poles at a glance:
• Best Flagship Pole: Daiwa Air Z Pro - View offer on Angling Direct
• Best For Strength: Guru Aventus Zero 700 - View offer on Total Fishing Tackle
• Best-Selling Margin Pole: Preston Innovations Edge Monster 10m / Edge Monster 8.5m - View offer on Total Fishing Tackle
• Best £1000-2000 Pole: MAP TKS 501 3G 16m - View offer on Total Fishing Tackle
There are some fantastic poles available to coarse anglers, from flagship models for those who demand cutting-edge features and the latest technology to shorter-margin poles for extracting hard-fighting carp at close quarters. So, before you shell out for a new pol, make sure you read this guide to find the best one for you and check out our advice below on what to look for, pole fishing terminology and frequently asked questions about poles.
Best Flagship Pole
Utilising new and ultra-high-grade nano alloy carbons, Daiwa's Air Z Pro pole has built a strong
- Light, stiff, responsive - everything you want in a pole.
- Spares are readily available in the UK.
- More expensive than other flagship poles.
Identical to the top-spec Guru Aventus 900 but made from a lower-grade compound of Japanese
- Loads of package options to choose from.
- Super strong with incredible stiffness at 13m.
- Loses a bit of finesse beyond 13m (try the Zero 900 at this length).
This top-of-the-range pole is strong enough for commercial carp fishing, yet light and responsive
- Top kits are universal for the whole Superium range.
- Incredibly stiff.
- Not the most responsive pole on the market at the full 16m.
Best-Selling Margin Pole
The Edge Monster range has established itself as the go-to choice of poles for demanding
- Super strong.
- Performs well above its price range.
- Not a tool for finesse fishing, best suited to commercial carp with heavy elastics.
Best Pole For Stiffness
Whether it's UK commercials or naturals, the Garbolino UK1 Accomplice pole totally delivers on
- Incredibly stiff and fast responsiveness.
- The range is totally compatible with all previous UK series poles.
- Not the lightest flagship pole.
First-Ever Flagship Hyperpole
Designed and tested in the UK by Stephen Bellion and Callum Dicks, this is Maver's new flagship
- Spares held in stock in the UK.
- Top kits compatible with a lot of other options on the market.
- Package could come with two more lightweight match kits.
TKS from MAP is a famous name in pole fishing, and this stunning range of poles (including the MAP
- Strong and stiff.
- Top kits compatible across the entire range.
- Past 13m, the 601 will provide better balance.
When you add Middy's established long pole know-how to the top match fishing brains of England
- Performance exceeds this price range.
- Capable of performing for both silvers and carp.
- Doesn't come with pre-fitted side pullers.
To produce a pole better than the original MTX4 was never going to be easy, but in doing so,
- Comes with stacks of top kits.
- Incredibly responsive.
- Spares can take a while to get hold of.
What to look out for...
Poles vary massively in price, so it's important to have a budget in mind before you start looking. When it comes to length, 13m is a good place to start, as that will cover most situations in commercial venues.
Don't always think a lighter pole is best for you either, particularly if you're a bit heavy-handed. The pricier the pole, the stiffer or more rigid it is likely to be, and this will make it easier to fish with. You don't really want one that bounces around all over the place.
How does the pole feel? A non-stick finish that allows you to ship it in and out without having it catch in your hands is essential.
Final consideration is spares, how easily available are they? By their very nature and design, poles are delicate things, and breakages will happen. You need a pole that sections and top kits can easily be replaced for, so you are not left in a situation where you can't go fishing.
Rig: The length of line with your float, shot and hook on that you attach to the end of your pole.
Mandrel: The metal tubes used as a template that carbon fibre sheets are wrapped around when a pole is being made. A lot of manufacturers will produce a whole range of poles on the same mandrel, meaning all the sections are the same length, diameter and taper and will interchange between each pole. Doing this is not always a good idea, as although the sections might look the same, the ones from cheaper poles will be made from a cheaper, heavier and less rigid carbon that will affect the performance of a high-end pole.
Top kit: The last 1 or 2 sections that you place on the end of your pole that contains the elastic that you attach your rig too. Most poles will come with a variety of top kits allowing you to choose which elastic to fish with or allow you to set up multiple rigs.
Cupping kit: A separate top kit specially designed to attach a pole cup, allowing you to deposit a large amount of bait right where you are fishing.
Elastic bung: A plastic cone that fits inside your top kit, which you attach your elastic to, anchoring it inside your pole and stopping it from pulling out completely when a fish is hooked.
Side Puller: A small hole in the side of your top kit with a bush or roller fitted inside, used instead of a bung to anchor your elastic. The bottom end of the elastic is threaded through the puller and anchored by a bead on the outside of your pole. This allows you to grab the bead and pull some elastic out of the pole, changing its tension when playing a fish. This is useful when a larger fish has pulled a lot of elastic out of your pole, making it difficult to net.
Bush: Often called a PTFE Bush, after the smooth low, friction plastic it is made from, a bush fits at the end of your pole and provides a smooth exit point for your elastic.
Connector: The item that allows you to attach your rig to your elastic at the end of your pole. The main types are a Dacron Connector, a bead, or traditional plastic connector.
Mini extension: A half-size or smaller, extra-strong piece of pole that goes into the back of a section. This help protects the bottom end of your pole from damage whilst also allowing you to fish slightly further out when a full-length section would be too much.
Bottom out: When a particularly large fish fights so hard that it gets your elastic to full stretch. With no more give in the elastic, you run the risk of a hook pull, line breakage or, in extreme cases, a pole breakage.
Pole cup: A cup that attaches to a specially designed cupping top kit, allowing you to deposit a large amount of bait right where you are fishing.
Pole Pot: A small cup that attaches to the end of a top kit, allowing you to feed small amounts of bait on top of your float, and can remain in play whilst you play a fish.
Shipping: The process where a pole is pushed or pulled back or forth, often over a pole roller. Shipping out is pushing the pole out over the water and towards your fishing position. Shipping back is pushing the pole back behind you so you can reach then remove your top kit to re-bait or land a fish.
Pole roller: A device with a cushioned rotating area that a pole is shipped across. Longer lengths of poles of around 11m or over will require 2 pole rollers.
What is the difference between a margin pole, a power/carp pole and a match pole?
A margin pole is a shorter, often 9m or less, super strong pole designed for fishing for very big fish that live close to near bank features. A power or carp pole is almost as strong but designed to be used at longer lengths of up to 16m. A match pole is a lighter, more rigid and easier-to-handle pole that can also be used for big fish and carp, but with care due to their decreased strength.
What do the numbers mean on elastic ratings?
The bigger the number, the more powerful the elastic. As a rough guide, elastics from 2 to 10 are best used in match kits for smaller fish. More powerful elastics, up to a 20, are best used in power kits. Elastics over a 20 are normally only used in margin poles. Always check the rating on your top kits and pole first though.
What length pole should I buy?
Only you, as the angler, can decide this. 8m is a great length for margin fishing, whilst 11m to 13m is ideal for open-water fishing. Most serious match anglers will want a 16m pole, the maximum length allowed in a lot of matches.
What is the difference between Hollow, Hybrid and Solid elastic?
A solid elastic is the cheapest and most powerful elastic but wears out and perishes the quickest. A hollow elastic has a hole down the middle, which compresses as it stretches, giving it more cushioning and total stretch, making it ideal for mixed sizes of hard-fighting fish. A hybrid elastic sits somewhere between the two.
What is the difference between a match kit and a power kit?
A match kit is the lightest top kit made from the best carbon fibre and was the one your pole was designed with. A power kit is a heavier but stronger version which, although it allows you to use bigger elastics, will make your pole feel heavier and more cumbersome.
Why would I want to use an F1 kit/short kit instead of a normal length match or power kit?
These special top kits are shorter than normal and are often only one piece. This allows you to fish light elastics for smaller fish yet still remain in control. They are ideal for F1s and fishing shallow for smaller species, but full-length top kits, which will hold more elastic, are normally better for bigger fish like carp, which fight harder and will easily bottom out short lengths of elastics.
Why would I use a pole instead of a rod?
With no casting required, a far lighter float can be placed with pinpoint accuracy exactly where you want it. With shorter lengths of line in use, you get more control over your float, allowing you to manipulate your bait to appear more natural, induce bites, better combat wind and tow whilst making bites easier to hit. All these factors mean that in the right hands, a pole will normally outscore a rod and line approach fished within pole range.
What is pole elastic for?
The internal elastic will stretch as a fish pulls, cushioning the fight and reducing line breakages and hook pulls. Without the cushioning bend of a rod or the clutch on a reel to let fish run, elastic is crucial for playing fish on a pole.
How is a whip different to a pole?
A whip can be telescopic or take-apart and is designed to have a rig the same length as the whip itself, meaning a cast is required. Whips are a niche product designed for catching larger numbers of smaller fish and don't offer the same versatility or control as a pole.
How do you pack a pole away?
All the smaller sections of a pole will fit inside each other for transport. The last few sections of a longer pole are often parallel, meaning they won't fit inside each other. This is why a 16m pole will often come in 3 separate tubes. All the top kits should be carried in a separate tube or case.
Why are poles so expensive?
Poles vary in price from a few hundred pounds to thousands of pounds. Cheap poles are made from a very cheap carbon fibre, which is very strong and durable but makes for heavy and floppy poles. Expensive poles are made from higher-quality carbon fibre, making them lighter and stiffer, allowing them to remain manageable at longer lengths. More expensive carbon fibre is more brittle and less durable though, meaning top-end poles are far more easy to damage if not used correctly.
Author Mark Sawyer holds the position of Tackle Editor at Angling Times, boasting more than thirty years of experience working within different fields of the angling industry.