In its use of special elastics, pole fishing represents a unique way of playing and landing fish. While conventional running line anglers use a combination of rod flex and the reel’s drag to land fish, a pole doesn’t bend to the same extent and most of the tension of the fight is handled by internally-fitted elastic. Your choice of elastic is down to the fishing you do, but there isn’t such a thing as ‘one size fits all. A thick elastic would be too harsh for catching small roach, just as a fine elastic would be too weak to stop a large, powerful fish such as a carp or tench.
The choice of pole elastics is wide, but can generally be broken into two types:
Solid elastics are a basic and effective option for various sizes of fish and strengths of tackle. A simple number rating gives a basic guide, and the higher the number the thicker and more robust the elastic will be. The really light stuff, in numbers 1-3 was once favoured for catching small fish in tough conditions, but is rarely used these days. Nevertheless, light to mid range elastics from sizes 4-6 are still useful for catching small-to-mid-sized fish such as roach, perch and skimmers. The advantage of relatively fine elastics is their forgiving nature: they don’t snap back too quickly or crudely, making it easy to hook and land smaller fish smoothly.
Leeds Liverpool Canal Fishing Permit Photo Gallery
Elastic stretches to contain a good fish. Guiding better fish steadily is often better than using shock tactics.
Going up through the numbers, heavier elastics handle heavier rigs and more demanding circumstances. A number 8, for example, would be ideal for a canal where adult bream, larger perch or fish such as crucians might make an appearance. Higher numbers of 10 and above would be suitable for harder battlers like tench and chub. The table should give a rough idea of applications.
Elastic is threaded through pole sections and secured at either end by a bright connector at the tip, and a bung at the rear. The design pictured has a little winder that adjusts tension easily. The bung is stored inside the pole and can be retrieved with a hooked wire length. If you ever lose this tool or get the bung stuck, the easiest cure is to put some five-minute epoxy glue on a thin stick and push this into the bung. When the glue dries you can pull the bung free.
While you have a bit of leeway with elastics, there is nothing like having just the right tool for the job. You might still catch roach on a heavier grade, for example, but a common issue will be that the smaller fish get ‘bumped on the strike, because the elastic is rather robust for the job.