Return to cane pole fishing if you truly want to keep things simple when fishing. This is one of the most basic tackles you can employ, but it’s still a lot of fun. A pole, line, and hook are all you’ll need. A sinker and cork are useful for some types of cane pole fishing, but you can catch fish without them as well. Unlike traditional fishing rods, a cane pole does not have line guides along the length of the bar; the line is simply connected to the tip.
I used to have a six-foot cane pole when I was a youngster. My mother and grandmother were far more skilled, using 12- to 14-foot poles, the typical adult length. We normally purchased them, but we would go to a cane patch and cut our own now and then. On the other hand, purchased poles were already assembled and ready to use. When we cut our own, we had to remove all of the leaves and husks off the stalk, or cane, and hang them to dry straight with a weight at the end.
For years, cane poles were just that: cane poles were constructed from plant stalks. Collapsible fiberglass poles, such as the Breambuster, are now available and are easier to travel. When carrying a natural cane pole in a car, open the back window slightly and insert the sticks, butt lying near the front seat. Commercial fiberglass poles collapse into themselves and fit into the vehicle with ease.
The rope was usually wrapped around the end of the pole, starting approximately 18 inches from the tip and finishing just at the information. That was done to guarantee that you could still land a bigger fish even if the pole’s very thin end broke. The rope should be long enough to extend from the pole’s tip to the bottom. The line was looped around the bar for transport, and the hook was inserted into one of the joints to fasten it. This results in a neat bundle to travel.
Because bluegill and small catfish are the most common targets when fishing with a cane pole, we always used a #6 light wire Aberdeen hook. The line was eight to ten pounds of the test, with a little amount of split shot soldered to the line above the hook if you wanted to make the bait sink and the cork stand up. We always used real pins that were long and thin. The corks had a hole in the center that ran the length of the cork, as well as a split along one side. You pushed your line through the slit into the hole and secured it with a little stick at the end.
When going after catfish, we employed a variety of baits, including earthworms, crickets, mealworms, and even chicken liver. We fished farm ponds and creeks in the area. We utilized cane poles, swinging a cork, sinker, and #2 or #1 hook baited with a live shiner minnow even after we started fishing for crappie at Clark’s Hill in the spring. I ultimately moved to a fly rod with a cork on the end of the line and a little crappie jig, but the concept remained the same. You swung the bait out and let it land near a beach shrub where the crappies were breeding. It was far more efficient than using a rod and reel to cast.
Fishing with a cane pole is different because you have to lift the rod tip to battle the fish. The combat is confined to the length of the line because there is no reel and just a certain quantity of line out. If you don’t have a drag system, you’ll have to learn to let the pole do the job and, if you’re battling a huge fish, even drop the pole tip down into the water.