Beginners Guide To Pole Fishing, Part 3a, Elasticating Your Pole (1 of 2)

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Beginners Guide To Pole Fishing, Part 3a, Elasticating Your Pole (1 of 2). Hello all of fishing lovers, Today’s post is “Beginners Guide To Pole Fishing, Part 3a, Elasticating Your Pole (1 of 2)”. Hopefully this article is helpful for you, all fishing lovers.

Beginners Guide To Pole Fishing, Part 3a, Elasticating Your Pole (1 of 2)

Because of the total length of this section I have split it into two parts.

Part one covers elastics and choosing which for your pole plus cutting topkits and cupping kits and fitting a pole cup.  Part two will cover fitting the bush and bung, fitting the elastic and attaching a connector or dacron.

Many newcomers will get their local tackle shop or a friend to elasticate their topkits.  But I guarantee that eventually, if you take to pole fishing, this is a job you will want to do yourself.


First thing to decide is what elastic you need. To make that decision you need to know something about elastics.

And while it may seem obvious, I will mention that all elastics are of a round cross section.

In the UK elastics are graded by number, the lower the number the thinner/weaker the elastic. Obviously the thinner the elastic the less weight it takes to stretch it. So larger numbers for larger fish, stronger lines.

As a rough guide it is said that you can team an elastic up with a line of maximum breaking strain half as much as the elastic number. So a number ten elastic can be used with lines up to five pound BS. In practice though the actual breaking strain line used will probably be less than half of the elastic’s number. But this gives the beginner a guide as to the size of fish that can be landed on any given grade of elastic.

The problem comes though in that there is no industry standard and so you will find elastics of the same number from different brands may differ slightly.

And then some elastics are stated as a range of grades for example 18-20, 6-8 or 10-14. And the brand called Hydro is graded by colour.

About the only thing I can advise is to keep it simple to start and experiment over time and settle on a brand and grade that fits what fishing you do and you feel comfortable with. As a guide or starting point I will give details of my choices/suggestions later.

In France they appear to be a bit more logical and elastics are graded by diameter in millimetres.

Types of Elastic


Solid elastic is as it says, solid all the way across its diameter.

This type of elastic has a hollow core running through its length. Preferred by many over solid elastics it tends to be softer when first stretched but get tougher the longer it is stretched out. It will also stretch further for any given length than a solid elastic of similar diameter/grading.

Users also report that it lasts longer before deteriorating and needing to be replaced.

As far as I know this was the first hollow elastic sold and preceded puller bungs. The central core is filled with, I believe, a silicone liquid. The thinking behind this is that when the elastic is bent around the bush while playing a fish the elastic may stretch a little but the liquid below the constriction caused by the flattening against the bush makes it more difficult for the elastic to stretch further. So an angler can either reduce the angle between pole tip and fish and allow it to stretch the elastic or increase the angle to prevent more elastic stretching from the pole.

Hydro is the most expensive but again appears to last a lot longer.

A form of solid elastic that is made from pure latex rather than standard solid elastics that will have other ingredients. It is said to be softer than standard solid elastics and thus is preferred by some when targeting such fish as skimmers that can have soft mouths and a harsh elastic may cause the hook to pull out.

Some anglers prefer to use a lower grade elastic but doubled so that there are two strands being used side by side to play fish. It is claimed this provides a softer initial stretch but powers up as the fish takes more from the pole as in the case of hollow elastics. Something to dabble with when you become a pole expert.

What to Choose
As this is my guide I will give my advice. I know others will disagree but that is what forums like are for, getting a range of opinions. I think with my experience what I use is a good starting point. You can then go on and research and experiment as you get comfortable with fishing the pole.

In my canal pole I use almost exclusively a Preston Innovations number four solid. I find it copes with any canal fish I have so far encountered with the exception of the odd rogue carp. From half ounce roach and gudgeon to three pound bream. Admittedly the latter does prove an interesting fight but can be landed with care. I have also had tench to three pound on size three elastic, hairy but landed. I team this elastic with lines down to 0.06mm diameter (12oz BS).

I have a couple of topkits with ten solid for those odd occasions I may be targeting far bank canal monsters like tench or bream.

For rivers, if I fished them regularly, I would use something like a Middy 6-8. Still capable of coping with tiddler species but with a bit more toughness for playing larger fish in a current.  For targeting species like chub or river tench, large river bream I would opt to increase the strength to a ten or twelve.

As most of my fishing is on commercials with carp as the target I take a no messing about approach and use a Preston 16 solid and Middy 18-20 solid with no puller. I still manage to land fish down to a couple of ounces and occasionally less. But as these are not my quarry I see little sense in compromising on choice of elastic to account for them. I would rather bump a 4 ounce skimmer than lose a 10lb carp.

The majority of commercial anglers have probably now switched to using light hollow elastics and puller systems. I have tried these and cannot get on with them. And I would suggest for the beginner not to complicate matters using them – at first. Once you have the experience then by all means try them out. They work for so many but not for me.

So for a first pole for fishing commercial fisheries I would opt for the Preston extra yellow 16 solid. It will cope with carp up to and just over ten pound without having to mess with pullers. Get your playing technique sorted before going the soft hollow route. I’ll cover playing fish in a future post.

Some new poles have side puller systems already fitted to the topkits.  If fitting to a side puller system you can still use this elastic and may not have to use the puller system when playing anything but exceptionally large fish.

One thing I don’t agree with is fitting various grades of elastic in multiple topkits. Unless you really are going to use just one topkit on one type of venue then I see little point in compromising. If, for example, you are going to use the pole on a carp dominated commercial water then have a single grade elastic in all topkits capable of coping with the average size of fish being caught. You cannot predict what will take the bait next so having different sized elastics for different fish on the one venue is illogical to me.

Cutting Carbon
When fitting a bush or a cupping kit you will need to cut the pole at some point.  Also if you buy a universal topkit to augment those that come with the pole you may need to cut the butt section for a comfortable fit.  Carbon fibre can splinter easily if cut too aggressively.  With the right tools and patience it need not be difficult.
For cutting the pole I use a hobby rotary tool like a Dremel, only cheaper from eBay, and a diamond cutting disk. This I feel is the best tool for the job. For me a good investment at around £15 in total. Also proved useful for other fiddly jobs around the house. Cutting the pole with this takes seconds and does a neat job. Go slowly and don’t force it and you will get a neat finish.
Next best thing is a fine file, either triangular or oval. I think they may be referred to as jewellery files. Will take a little while using this but getting aggressive will only end in splintering the carbon. Available on eBay for under £5.

With the edge of the file make a shallow groove all round the section. Then slowly work around the section making the groove deeper until the section comes apart. Do not try and saw through like you would if cutting a drainpipe. Tidy the cut edges with a piece of fine sandpaper or the flat of a fine file. You may want to tidy the inside edge of the cut, do this with a rolled up small piece of sandpaper.
Some people recommend a junior hacksaw. I feel these are too coarse and can cause problems.  And you only have to make one mistake to ruin the job.

And speaking of universal kits.  If I do have to cut the butt section to fit I will use a six inch section of the offcut to sleeve over the butt and thus reinforce it.  It may not be necessary but it gives me confidence.  Most topkits have a strengthened area at the butt and if you have to cut this off to fit your pole then I feel it is worth taking this precaution.  I glue the sleeve in place with epoxy.  It may not want to stay in place while the glue sets so I use electrical tape bound round to hold it.   

Topkit & Cupping Kit Lengths
Ideally you want all of your topkits and your cupping kit to be the same length when mounted on the pole’s number four (or three – see Part 1) section. Making an assumption that you have at least one  match top three and one power kit plus a cupping kit I would start with the match kit. Things are easier if you have kits of the same type as they can just all be cut to the same length and the same bush fitted.

Many newcomers to pole fishing try and keep as much of the pole as they can and cut back a minimal amount. Given that we are possibly talking of losing a few centimetres from a pole that is ten metres or more in length this is not necessary. Cut the kit back as far as you need to fit your chosen elastic easily. Actually the shorter the topkit the stiffer it will be and thus reducing friction between elastic and internal wall thus improving the efficiency of the elastic. And remember that to fit an internal bush you will need to cut back further than for an external bush that would take the same elastic.

Some people remove the number one section from the match kit and put a bush directly onto/into the uncut number 2. This will produce a kit more capable of taking a thicker, stronger elastic even up to the same grade as may be fitted in the power kits. 

If you want to fit an elastic of a particular diameter then select this and get a bush capable of accepting that thickness easily. Once you have fitted the bush to this topkit you will be able to work out where your other kits need to be cut to match the length and then get a bush to fit.

Also note that while it is perfectly possible and acceptable to put thinner elastic through a wider bore bush the opposite is not possible.

Cupping kits are usually long enough that they can be reduced in length to suit the topkits. But there is a particular way of doing this that will be covered next. Do not rush to fit the cupping kit ferrule permanently to the cupping kit until you have read how.
Fitting a Pole Cup
When you buy a pole cup system it will come with two or three cups and one or two ferrules.  The two ferrules will have different internal diameters into which the tip of the topkit will be glued.  You will need to choose the one that will fit your cupping kit at roughly the right length but not shorter than the elasticated topkits.  A bit of a guess but it should be the narrower bore ferrule that you will need.
By offering the ferrule up to the number one section of the cupping kit you will be able to work out roughly where the ferrule will fit on the tip.  I would mark the tip in some way and check that the cupping kit is going to be at least as long as the topkits when mounted on the number four section.  If it isn’t then you may need to cut your topkits to match the cupping kit.
Cut a few inches above the mark and try the ferrule for fit.  You will be gluing the ferrule in place so a snug but not necessarily tight fit is required.  If you need to cut some more off the tip to get the right fit do so in one inch stages.  
If the cupping kit with ferrule in place will be longer than your topkits by more than four to five inches you will want to shorten it.  If a lot longer then you may need to use the ferrule with the wider fitting. 
To shorten the cupping kit by a few inches you cut and telescope the number one section.  Cut the section at a point halfway along its length.  Tidy up the cut and telescope the two halves together.  This should reduce the length by around four inches.  If the cupping kit is still too long then repeat the process at the three quarters and quarter point until the kit is the right length.
One benefit of this telescoping method of shortening is that it will stiffen the cupping kit so it won’t bend as much when shipping out with a full cup.
Once you are happy that the assembled cupping kit is the right length then glue the ferrule in place using an epoxy glue.  Most cupping kits are take apart but if the cupping kit is telescopic then please ensure it is telescoped before gluing the ferrule in place.

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