Fishing with a cane pole has to be the purest way to catch fish. Just a long pole, line, hook, and your choice of tackle. There’s just something great about removing all the bells and whistles and enjoying the sport like they did in the old days. Cane pole fishing for crappie is a great way to immerse yourself in this ancient art. Heck, a lot of successful crappie anglers still only fish with cane poles today. They work.
With a cane pole, it is so easy to maneuver your bait or lure through mazes of vegetation and structure to get it exactly where you want it. You also don’t have to worry about spooking the fish like a cast would when it hits the water.
Fishing from shore is a heck of a lot easier with a cane pole too, especially when you have a patch of weeds or rocks to reel your lure through.
The spring crappie spawn is an especially great time to use a cane pole. The sneakiness, accuracy and sensitivity cane poles afford can really help you to fill your cooler. Here’s how to do it.
What Are Cane Poles Made Of?
Cane poles were originally made of bamboo, and some still are today. But there are better options:
- Graphite – Light, sensitive
- Fiberglass – Cheap, durable
Graphite and fiberglass both have their pros and cons, although fiberglass are more common.
What Length Should I Get?
Cane poles range from 7’–23’. They also have powers (stiffness) ranging from ultralight to medium.
Longer poles will cover more area on the water but can be cumbersome while transporting. Telescoping poles and poles that break down into pieces have almost eliminated this issue, though.
10’-12’ foot poles seem to be the most popular. They offer quite a bit more length than a regular spinning rod while also being fairly easy to carry around.
The Best Cane Poles
Here are a few fiberglass crappie cane poles that are modestly priced and have great reviews. Note if you buy from any of these Amazon links, I will receive a small commission to support this site (at no additional cost to you).
1) B&M BW3 Black Widow Telescopic Rod
2) Shakespeare TSP20 Six-Piece Wonderpole Fishing Rod, 20′
3) Shakespeare Wonderpole Spinning Rod, 16′
4) Shakespeare Wonderpole Spinning Rod, 10′
If you are feeling crafty, you can even make your own cane pole.
How Do I Catch Crappie with a Cane Pole?
Two of the most popular methods used when cane pole fishing for crappie are vertical jigging and spider trolling. Jigs or minnows will work best for both.
- Vertical Jigging
- This is the most common technique for cane pole fishing.
- First, look for a spot you think might be holding crappie. Look for stumps, sparse weeds, drop-offs, holes, or channels, for example.
- Then, let out the proper amount of line for the depth you are fishing. Subtly drop your jig or minnow into the water.
- Oftentimes crappies will strike on the way down so keep a close eye on your line and pole tip. After you let your jig or minnow fall to the desired depth, give the pole tip a slight twitch every few seconds.
- If you don’t get any bites, lower your jig or minnow to a different depth next time. If you don’t get anything after a few minutes, try a different spot.
- Note this can be done just as easily and effectively from shore! The long length of a cane pole allows you to reach over rocks and vegetation near the shore into deeper water.
- Spider Trolling
- Spider trolling is a fishing method that utilizes multiple rods fanned out across the bow or stern of the boat. The boat is then trolled slowly or drifts with the wind.
- Each pole should be set at a different depth until you catch your first fish. Then set all the poles to that depth.
- Remember to start with only two poles at first until you are comfortable fishing multiple poles. Make sure you fan your poles out wide enough to avoid tangles. Using different length cane poles will also help avoid tangles.
If you want to fish like they did in the old day, try cane pole fishing for crappie. You might just fall in love with the simplicity and nostalgic feel.
Let me know what your thoughts are on cane poles vs. spinning rods for crappie and what works best for you!