An Introduction To Pole Fishing


Pole fishing is the most popular form of fishing on still water such as ponds and lakes. In this post we will introduce you to the basics of pole fishing to help you to enjoy your day and hopefully catch some fish too!


Whips come in different lengths from 3m to 7m. To decide on the length of whip for you, I work on the basis that you can always make a long whip shorter, but you cannot make a short whip longer. If you see fish feeding the other side of a lily pad and your whip is too short, it will not work. I like to find a spot to fish, bait up that area then make the whip fit that spot. If you place the float about 50cm under the tip of your whip, you can fish the same spot over and over again. There is no casting, just place the float in the same spot every time.

With a longer whip, you always have the option to make it shorter.
With a longer whip, you always have the option to make it shorter.

Because there is no casting this method is great for kids. There’s no reel to get used to, so no hooks up a tree or in the back of the head to worry about, and with practice you should be able to hit the same spot every time. With a twitch of the wrist the fine end of the whip will set the hook.

Whips should only be used for smaller fish of 1oz to 5lb. Caperlan whips are telescopic, so do not come elasticated. Whips should not be overloaded – for example, if using a 5lb main line, the hook link should be only about 4lb. This way if you hook into a 20lb Carp the hooklink should break first so as not to damage your whip, main line and most importantly the fish.


The Rig you use is very important. Caperlan rigs come with a main line, float, weights, hooklink and hook. As a guide the length of your rig should be the depth of the water plus 50cm, so if the water is 2.5m you should fish with a 3m rig, the tip of the whip being just above the float with no slack line. Slack line means the wind can take it and make it drift, and also means you have to strike a long way to connect to the fish. If you purchase a longer rig than you need you can always cut it down, tie a new loop and use it. Most Caperlan whips come with an adapter on the end of the whip that will take a loop.

If you make your own rigs it is useful to use a micro swivel between the main line and the hook link. I use this as part of the weight system. It is most important not to have the rig longer than the whip as this creates too much slack line and you will find it hard to land the fish.


Once you have hooked a fish, by keeping tension on the line try to slow the fish down then ship the whip behind you. Never collapse a telescopic whip as this creates slack in the whip and may bump the fish off. Also, please remember in the UK we mostly use barbless hooks.

When teaching fishing remember not to put the whip down (kids have a habit of doing this). You should use a rod rest with a V at the front and a hook at the back. By hooking the end of the whip under the hook end you create a pivot that stops the whip from going into the water, and it also gives you a break from holding the whip.

I strongly advise the use of a plummit. This is a device that attaches to the hook to find out the depth of the water – if the float goes under the water, bring the line out, move the float up and try again. With the depth of the water known you can always fish over or under depth or at set depth. In terms of bait, I would recommend maggots, sweetcorn or bread. There are lots of other baits but these should do for starters.

A landing net should always be used to net the fish. If you keep tension on the line and ship the whip behind you keeping it up in the air, point the whip up, the fish will come towards you until you can get a landing net under the fish. I recommend a long handle net so as to keep the kids away from the edge of the water.

Ground bait can also be used to concentrate the fish where you want them. You can also mix maggots, corn and other bait with your groundbait. Try to feed little and often. In summer you can use size 12 to 16 hooks and in winter size 16 to 24 hooks.

To discover more about the Caperlan range exclusively available at Decathlon, please visit our website.

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