Buying a fishing pole can be an extremely tough choice. Given the options available, with at least 20 main pole manufacturers and even more pole types, it can be a confusing task!
Poles are very expensive, making the right choice is crucial. We will use the pole for several years, so let us look into breaking down the most important decisions for buying that dream pole!
To make this an easier process we can break the criteria into two sections.
Most Important factors (must have)
Less Important factors (the nice to have)
These two factors combined will result in the best value for money.
The first and most important question is what is the purpose of the pole we want to buy? Is the intention to fish close to the margins and at a relatively close location to the edge of the water? Or a more versatile pole to be able to fish at long range?
Basically, we have main two choices:
Normal Pole – Long Range – 10 Metres to 16 Metres
Margin Pole – Short Range – 5 to 10 Metres
Are you planning to target a specific fish type?
Do we want an all-around pole for general fishing?
Are you using the pole mainly for match fishing?
One other important point for you to consider is the type of lake/river/canal are you targeting to use the pole for. Some poles are better for specific fisheries and some are more general use.
Once we have made this choice then we can narrow down the options and the confusion!
Note: Another alternative is a whip, for the purpose of this article I will not cover this slightly different variant.
What Factors To Consider When Buying A New Pole?
Most Important Factors:
What is your budget?
Poles range in price tremendously even within the same category. Fix the maximum price you can afford before starting to review every pole that’s on the market. Focus on the key attributes and not the “nice to haves”
What actually does the Pole Package include?
Check and confirm what is included in the package. When comparing poles ensure that the options you need are part of the deal. Otherwise, you will end up spending more than the price stated on additional items.
Poles are heavy and whilst anglers tend to look at the weight of the pole this can be misleading. The balance is more important than the weight.
A pole must remain stiff when held at all lengths, it should remain steady and with minimum sag. A pole that has a lot of “wobble” or dips as it’s held in front of you is not a good indication. Stiffer poles perform better in the wind and are also easier to manage on the strike.
Strength and Power Rating
Poles have a power weight rating, a scale from Ultra Light to Extra Heavy and indicate the weight required to bend the pole. Resistance to bending is called the power rating. Certain poles have an excellent rating of 30. Choose a pole with a higher rating if possible.
Lastly, check what type of elastic strengths the pole works with, both minimum and maximum ratings.
Make sure that you GO AND TRY a few poles first before buying.
This is a key part of buying a pole, always try the pole yourself before you buy. Go to a pole alley or shop where you can pick up various poles, with different lengths, and review the packages. In this way, you can see exactly what you are paying for.
I can’t stress the importance of this – It’s extremely important to feel the pole before making the final choice.
When you are out fishing ask your fellow anglers if you can try their pole for a few minutes. Having a real-life try adds to the shop experience.
Read and understand more from users, not from the manufacturer’s websites! We are all different but rating reviews give a good indication of the best poles.
Some pole manufacturers have a longer warranty than others, poles can crack or break with use. Some manufacturers cover for up to two years from the date of purchase, and some only six months.
Certain pole companies allow downward and upward compatibility between their models. This means you can also use the top kits for your margin pole or vice versa. Do not underestimate this important factor when selecting a pole, it gives greater flexibility and saves money at the same time.
Spares and replacements
What are the options for spares, are they readily available and at a reasonable price. It can be an issue with delivery times on some replacement sections.
Most poles probably come with two standard top kits, this is generally not sufficient. Multiple top kits are required for giving the easy quick-change option of using different rated elastic. Look at the price of the additional top kits and if they are reasonably priced.
Also, confirm if all the top kits (match and power kits) are pre-bushed. This will save some money on the purchase.
Pole fishing requires the use of at least one cupping kit, confirm if one is supplied with the pole.
Less Important Factors:
Extras and accessories
Are any square butt sections available or nose cones. A good holdall is crucial to maintain the pole and keep it safe from any damages, scratches or nicks.
Side pullers and bushes
Check if pre-fitted side pullers are a standard as part of the package. Make sure good quality long PTFE bushes are already fitted as standard. If not, what extra cost is required to re-fit?
Weight at different lengths
Poles can vary in weight depending on which sections are used. Check by removing a section at a time on what are the pole weights. Some anglers like to use generally at only full length, but is this the length you expect to use the most often.
Is the brand name reputable?
Part of the decision process is to check if the manufacturer is well-established and producing quality poles for many years. Check out their web pages and social media for complaints and feedback. It’s strongly advised to choose one of the top-selling brands.
Pole Logo and colour design
One of the least important factors given the purpose of the pole. Fancy graphics doesn’t help us catch more and should not be a factor in choosing the right pole for you.
Discounts on older models
When a manufacturer is launching a new version there are good discounts available on the older model. Go and look at this as a great option to get value for money.
Online or shop purchase
As stated earlier, My recommendation is always to try the pole yourself prior to buying. Once you have made your decision look for the best pricing possible. Confirm every option you need and then buy. Buying online always tends to have better discounts and options available versus your local tackle shop.
In Summary, So Which Pole Should You Buy?
The answer to this question depends upon the fisheries you visit as well as the fish you intend to catch. If you primarily fish for carp then a margin pole is the best choice at shorter lengths. 8 to 10 Metres
If you fish everywhere, Lakes, Canals, and Rivers, then I strongly recommend buying a long pole with a minimum length of 14m. This gives a greater range of fishing to cover far banks and with better versatility.
If you fish a lot of commercial fisheries that have various small and big species then go for an all-purpose pole in the 10 to 12-metre range.
Whichever you choose, I strongly recommend that you test it first, look at all the options, and keep to your budget. Keep to the more important factors I have listed to make the best decision.