On any given weekend afternoon, there will actually be more people pole fishing in the UK than watching football. Incredible, but true. While there certainly are people who go netting or trapping for fish, anglers who use a pole constitute a massive majority. The odds are very good that anyone reading this article has pole fished at one time or another. It's roughly as common as riding a bicycle.
Most people consider pole fishing to be more sporting than many other types of fishing. It also happens to be an Environment Agency-approved method of fishing with a very long tradition. While other countries allow more exotic forms of fishing such as "noodling," or spear-fishing, these are considered illegal in Britain. Some companies and clubs offer fishing trips to parts of the world where this is allowed, but most Britons simply don't ever have a chance to engage in such practices.
And, while fly fishing is sometimes considered different from other types of pole fishing, a pole or rod certainly is used, even if the rods are somewhat different. There are generally three different types of pole that are most commonly used.
- Match pole lighter and stiffer than most poles, these are best used for smaller fish.
- Carp pole a much heavier and sturdier type of pole, these are considered somewhat "sloppy" to handle by experts.
- All-around pole the type of rod that most anglers go for, these have the strength and girth of a carp rod and the lightness and portability of a match pole
Selecting a pole is largely a matter of personal taste, with flexibility and weight being the main concerns for most anglers. While one can spend a rather large amount of money on their pole fishing habit, the durability of any given pole has a great deal to do with the type of fishing you intend to do. It is not uncommon for the very serious angler to have several poles available for any given contingency.
Most manufacturers will guarantee their poles for a set number of years given "normal" use. You can usually expect to get at least a decade of good use out of a pole in fact, it's more likely that you'll tire of a pole before you actually snap one in the heat of battle.
The most common rod materials have changed considerably over the last several decades. While it was once common to use little more than a branch or bamboo pole 50 years ago, today's rods are made from high tech materials such as graphite fibres or reinforced fibreglass. It's also important when you are looking to purchase a pole that you look into how available spare parts are, should something break.