Hook, Line, Bait….and Bamboo?

Hook, Line, Bait….and Bamboo?

What is a cane pole?

You’ve probably heard of spincasters and maybe even trolling rods, but have you ever heard of a cane pole? Cane poles are traditionally a large stalk of bamboo with a line and bait at the end. Cane poles have proven themselves to be a successful fishing tool dating back many generations. The modern version of the cane pole is made from fiberglass or graphite, and can collapse like a telescope for ease of storage. If you’re brand new to fishing, cane poles are a simple way to learn the basics!


How To Use A Cane Pole

Cane poles are different than your stereotypical fishing rod, but they’re easy to use! They are usually recommended at lengths between 10 and 15 feet, and the line should match the length of your rod or extend a little longer. Use the pole to drop your bait into ‘fishy’ spots where fish like to hang out, such as by submerged logs or in the reeds. When you feel a bite, gently pull up on your pole and set the hook, this secures the hook in the fish’s mouth so it doesn’t just eat your bait and swim away. Then slowly raise the rod into a vertical position until the fish is close enough to you that you’re able to flip it up on shore or into your boat. For a safer landing, and less jolting to the fish, scoop the fish into a net and be sure not to lose it! Make sure when you release the fish not to throw it back into the water, instead hold it in the water until it swims away on its own.


Cane Pole Pros

Cane poles are a fun and affordable way to get started fishing. Given the simplistic and traditional design, all you need is your pole, hook, line and bait, and you’re ready to catch some fish! This type of rod is great for catching small panfish like bluegill, perch and crappie, but you might get lucky and find a smallmouth bass on your line! Plus, the length of these poles helps you drop your bait exactly where you want it, and the reel-free set up makes tangled messes a thing of the past. The old-school bamboo rods are very durable and may even be tougher than regular fishing rods, so say goodbye to broken poles. Not to mention the modern telescopic cane poles are great for easy storage and travel. 


Cane Pole Cons

Like all good things, nothing is ever perfect. There are a lot of benefits to using cane poles, but there are some downsides too depending on what type of fishing experience you are looking for. If you’re looking to catch some big fish like walleye and largemouth bass, the cane pole might not be the best choice. Cane poles are also limited in how deep they reach since the line can’t be reeled in or released, and with bigger fish it can be harder to fight them as they come out of the water. 



Cane poles are a great option to try at least once, especially if you are looking for an inexpensive and easy way to get started fishing. It’s always a good idea to do your research and make sure you are using the proper equipment, for the safety of the fish and your own enjoyment, before you start fishing. If you don’t, make sure you have someone along to mentor you! Maybe you’ll be able to mentor someone in fishing someday!

For more tips and tricks, join Into the Outdoors Adventure Team member Ben and his friends on this latest episode as they try out cane pole fishing at their favorite local fishing spot! Learn alongside Ashten, Lucy and Antonio as Ben teaches them the fishing basics like bait types, safety tips and the best spots to drop your bait!


By: Kylie CompeOctober 29 2021