What is a cane pole and what is cane pole fishing? If you’re curious about the origins of fishing and going back to the basics, you’ll find the tried-and-true method of cane rod fishing very interesting.
The allure of this type of fishing is its simplicity. Whenever people discuss the topic of bamboo cane pole fishing, an image of Huckleberry Finn using a cane pole to fish while barefoot and on a raft comes to mind.
Although this isn’t entirely wrong, don’t be fooled as cane poles aren’t as primitive. They’re highly effective and there are even a number of advantages to cane poles over the modern baitcasting and spinning setups.
Cane pole fishing, with the use of a cane fishing pole, can be traced back to ancient Egypt. It involves the use of fiber and silk cordage as line with bones in place of hooks. Apart from these materials, nothing else changed in the past 4 millennia!
What Are Cane Poles?
Cane poles, often made of bamboo, are fishing poles used to catch fish. There are also other materials that make great alternatives to bamboo, such as fiberglass and graphite. They are as effective as the traditional material for still water fishing.
The typical setup for cane pole fishing makes use of a bamboo pole with a length of 8 to 12 feet. A monoline of similar length is tied onto the pole’s end and the hook is tied to the line with bait on it. Anglers can use a float or bobber of some kind. Weight can also be added to a setup, depending on the species of fish being targeted.
As a cane pole doesn’t have a particular method for casting, bait is just dropped into water for fish to find. It’s called still water fishing or still fishing as there’s no continuous line movement, which you would find in the cast-and-retrieve type of fishing.
It’s the most minimalist and simplest style of fishing, making it incredibly fun to do with kids and beginners. It doesn’t require too much equipment and it’s a good introductory course to fishing.
It’s also an incredible survival skill as you can fashion a unique pole from scratch, making use of the available materials presented by the surroundings.
Types of Cane Poles
The traditional pole made of bamboo is the most common, but there are a couple of variations that deserve a close look such as:
Treated Bamboo Cane Pole
Bamboo is a great material as it’s flexible, tough, and possesses tensile strength. A classic bamboo pole is a thick-walled bamboo used as is. The length can vary, depending on the angler but most stay at a length of 8-12 ft.
If you’ll be using bamboo, we suggest you take the extra step of treating the material with some kind of anti-insect or anti-fungus treatment. This is because bamboo is organic.
This means the material will decay over time. It’s a natural process, which the treatment can hinder. A cane pole made of treated bamboo will have a longer lifespan and protection against beetles and termites which can destroy it.
The most common treatments are smoking, prolonged soaking in clean water, and boric acid/borax treatment.
Fishing with a jigging pole is very old-school, particularly for bass fishing.
The pole style dates back to the 14th century, which makes it one of the oldest methods of catching bass using an artificial lure. Although it’s old, it’s still a productive way of targeting bass in murky water and cover.
A jigger pole is long, often longer than the common bamboo cane pole, and it’s flexible. It works incredibly well in an area that is hard to reach. It’s rigged with a leader tied to the end of the jigger pole with a wood or plastic plug fixed onto the end.
If you’ll be camping or backpacking, you can assume a 12-ft cane pole will be a pain to transport. A telescopic pole will solve the problem as it’s both lightweight and compact.
It’s usually made from a newer material such as graphite and fiberglass. Most telescopic poles are affordable, so they are excellent options to throw in your trunk or backpack for when the rare opportunity to fish presents itself.
How to Fish with a Cane Pole
Cane pole fishing is simpler than the modern ways of fishing. As a matter of fact, it’s a relaxing and simple way to catch fish.
You can forget about casting, bird’s nests, snags, and reels. All you have to do is take the pole and drop the line in a spot of your choosing. Then, wait for the fish to strike!
The technique is fairly straightforward. The goal is to give the lure or bait natural momentum by dipping the pole downwards and then lifting it up gently. Just remember to not move the pole too rapidly or violently as doing so will spook fish.
As the line has the length of the pole, lifting the pole above your head to land fish should bring your catch closer to the bank or your boat or kayak. Then, simply grab the fish with a net or by hand and remove the hook.
If you’re fishing in a stream or river, you can drop the bait in the water and let the current carry the bait around just like with fly fishing.
There are those who think cane pole fishing is outdated as there’s great technology at our disposal. After all, using shorter rods will catch stronger, bigger fish.
But, you’ll be surprised how rewarding and satisfying it is to catch fish using a simple tool. Next time you’re on the water, try changing things up by using a cane pole!
Not only is it very easy to use, but it’s also extremely fun, especially when you introduce it to the kids and beginner anglers!