Beginner’s Guide To Pole Fishing Part 1- Glossary

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Beginner’s Guide To Pole Fishing Part 1- Glossary. Hello all fishing lovers, Today’s post is “Beginner’s Guide To Pole Fishing Part 1- Glossary”. We hope this article is useful for you, all fishing lovers.

Beginner’s Guide To Pole Fishing Part 1- Glossary

Talking with a novice angler recently and he was bemoaning the lack of a good basic guide to fishing with this particular type of rod. So first thing to discuss – what is a pole?

In the USA all rods are known as fishing poles but in Britain we make a distinction between two types of fishing implement – rod & pole. What we call a rod has a reel attached to the handle or butt end and the line runs from the reel though a series of eyes and out into the water. The pole is effectively a long stick with the line attached to the end furthest from the angler, there is no reel, no eyes. I’ll explain more in a History section later.
The use of carbon fibre means that poles can be up to sixteen metres long and some have been made slightly longer.  Generally sixteen metres is seen as just about the maximum useable length possible with the carbon fibre available today.

I will also cover pole floats as a separate section but for now assume that everyone knows what a float is.
The first thing to go through is a glossary of terms and names.


Not in alphabetical order because some things follow on naturally from the previous item.

Section – A pole is made up of a number of sections of (normally) carbon fibre tube. Each fits to the next until you have the fully assembled pole from butt to tip. Sections are generally around 1.5 metres in length. Each section gets successively greater in diameter from tip to butt. Sections are numbered from the tip (pointy end) to the thicker butt.  The thinnest section is either number 1 or number 2 (see Topkit below). The pole can be used with any number of sections in place depending how far out you want to fish.

Topkit – Traditionally the top three sections of the pole though some topkits may only be made of two sections. The widest section that fits to the rest of the pole is always the number three unless marked otherwise. A two section topkit will be missing a number one section and the remaining two sections longer to compensate. If the pole is elasticated then the elastic will run through the topkit.  Topkits can be telescopic or take apart.  Always find out which before elasticating.

Match Kit – Normally a lighter and three section topkit used for smaller fish, lighter elastics and lighter lines.

Power Kit – A heavier, stronger and two section topkit.  The wider section will still be the number 3 unless marked otherwise.

  • NOTE – I am told that at least one manufacturer, MAP, are making poles with no match kits.   The only topkits available are two section and that as a consequence what would be a number 4 section on other poles is a number 3 on these models.  I believe though that they are labelled with the section numbers to avoid confusion.

Cupping Kit – A topkit used exclusively for attaching a pole cup to the tip. The cupping kit will be fitted with a ferrule at the tip end, this ferrule will either have a bolt screw thread or nut in the end for attaching a pole cup. Cupping kits are not used to catch fish. They are normally stronger and heavier like a power kit.

Pole Cup – A cup that fits onto the end of a cupping kit by way of a screw thread. It is used for feeding larger amounts of bait (loosefeed/groundbait). The cup will have either a protruding threaded section that screws into a ferrule in the end of the cupping kit. Or it may be the ferrule that has the protruding thread and the cup a receiving nut. Pole cups come in various sizes from roughly 50-250 millilitres. The actual size and range will be decided by the manufacturer.

Toss Pot, Kinder Cup, Cad Pot – A small cup that fits near the tip of either a power or match kit. Normally, but not necessarily, smaller than a pole cup. It is used for feeding and allows the angler to feed small amounts immediately over the top of the float/rig and then start fishing without having to change kits. This saves time by not having to attach a separate cupping kit to feed then replace that with the kit to which the rig is attached.  These can be shop bought or home made.  

A selection of my home made pots
And how they are mounted on a pole tip


Rig – The length of line with float, shot and hooklength attached that is used for fishing when connected to a topkit. When not in use it is stored on a winder and at this point may not have a hooklength on.  A small loop is tied at the top of the rig to allow it to be connected to the elastic.

Winder – A plastic device for storing made up pole rigs ready for use. In its simplest form it looks like a ladder. 

Anchor – A short length of rubber or elastic that attaches to the top of the rig and allows it to be attached to the winder.

A winder with rig attached and held in place with an anchor.


Elastic – Most modern poles have a hollow tip through which runs a length of elastic. This stretches from the hole in the tip to a bung at the butt or bottom (widest) end of the number three section. The elastic stretches when a fish is hooked giving the angler the ability to play larger fish that would otherwise cause problems when trying to swim beyond the range of the pole and attached line. The rig is attached to the elastic in one of three ways, connector, dacron or crows foot.

Bush – A PTFE/plastic bush is fitted where the elastic exits the tip of the pole. Reason is that the bare carbon would cut the elastic and on its own would splinter too easily when playing a fish. The bush provides a smooth, low friction surface for the elastic to run over as well as adding some strength to the thinnest part of the pole but which takes the largest amount of stress. There are two types of bush – internal & external. The internal bush fits into the end of the pole while the external fits over the end. Deciding which is personal preference. But to fit an internal bush to accept the same diameter of elastic as an external bush the pole tip has to be cut back further.

Bung – A conical plastic device that sits inside the bottom of the topkit and anchors the elastic. Fitted so that it can be reached with an extractor rod but far enough up the section so as not to be fouled by the male joint of the number four section when inserted.

Winder Bung – A bung with a small winder attached to the nose to enable either spare elastic to be stored or the elastic to be tightened up when circumstances demand more power from the elastic immediately a fish is hooked.
Winder Bung

Puller/Pulla – A device to enable elastic to be pulled from the topkit when playing a fish. This enables light elastics to be used and extra pressure applied to bigger fish by effectively shortening the amount of elastic being used to play the fish.

Puller/Pulla Bung – A variation of the standard bung that has a hollow rod running up the bung’s centre. The rod is long enough to protrude from the butt of the number three section with the bung far enough up so as not to foul the number four when the two are put together. The elastic is passed through the hollow rod and tied off, normally with a bead on the elastic to prevent it from being pulled through the rod when playing a fish.

Side Puller/Pulla – A device or slot in the side wall of the number three section through which the elastic exits the topkit and is anchored in similar fashion to the puller bung with a knot and bead. It is favoured as it adds less weight to the topkit than a puller bung and allows some adjustment to the amount of elastic in the topkit in different situations depending on the average size of fish being caught. It is also easier to use than the puller bung.

Connector, Stonfo – A hard plastic bead that is normally in three pieces, a central core and two sleeves. The central part is an elongated piece of plastic that has a hook at one end and a hole at the other. The connector is tied to the elastic using the hole, the loop at the top of the rig is put over the hooked end of the connector and a plastic sleeve slid over the hook to trap the loop in place. The second sleeve slides up the elastic and onto the connector core to cover the hole and knot making everything neat. They come in different sizes to match different strengths of elastic. Some versions have one sleeve that does the job of two.

A stonfo type plastic connector and a dacron
Dacron –  A doubled length of fine dacron string, normally fly line backing, that has the loose ends knotted together to make a loop. A rubber bead or sleeve is slid onto the dacron loop. The elastic is tied to the opposite side of the loop to the knotted loose ends and the rubber bead slid over the top to neaten and protect the elastic knot. The rig is attached to the knotted end of the dacron using a double loop and cow hitch type knot. Describing this method of attachment is difficult, view the following YouTube video for a demonstration.

Video – Connecting the rig to a dacron connector

And a couple of pictures for quick reference

Rig line is the white, dacron the black
The small tag loop can be cut to leave two tag ends.  This prevents the loop from snagging on overhanging vegetation and releasing the rig or snagging the pole tip and preventing the elastic from working.


Crows Foot – A method of attaching the rig to the elastic that is rarely used and was the pre-cursor to the dacron connection. Using the same double loop system the rig attached to the elastic directly. It has fallen out of use when targeting larger fish due mainly to very big fish exerting enough pressure for the line to cut through the elastic.

Shipping – The act of extending the pole over the water (shipping out) or retrieving it (shipping in). Rather than adding or removing each section the whole pole is slid through the hands until it has reached the desired length over the water or has been recovered to a point where the topkit can be removed.

Roller – A free standing device that is placed behind the angler to allow the pole to be shipped easily, smoothly and rapidly. While one roller is sufficient when fishing the pole at lengths up to 8-10 metres two rollers are preferred when fishing longer. While not essential rollers are a massive aid when pole fishing. Rollers can be flat (horizontal) or V shaped and on three or four legs.

Pole Sock – The name is taken from the similar shaped but much larger wind sock seen on airfields and some bridges. In shape it is like a very small, deep landing net, no more than eight inches in diameter. It is mounted to the front and side of the angler and accommodates the male end of the number four section while the pole is shipped in behind the angler and the topkit unmounted. It prevents the pole from being blown or rolling out of reach, or if on a sloping bank, from rolling forward into the water. Many people manage without this piece of kit that, like a number of pole accessories, is not essential.

Tulip Rest – A forerunner of the pole sock. This type of rod rest gets its name from its shape. It is designed to trap the number four section between two vertical arms that are somewhat flexible. Mounted in a similar position to the pole sock and doing the same job. Many people don’t like them because if the pole is blown by a strong wind its rigid nature can cause the number four section to break.

Over/Under rests – A pair of U shaped rests that attach to the legs of a seatbox and allow the pole to be left in them, extended over the water, without having to be held.  The rear one is placed so the U is upside down the front one right way up.  Really only recommended for fishing ten metres of pole or less.  Can cause the box to tip forward if the angler stands up while the pole is in the rests.  Can be a great aid to accurate feeding and positioning of the float.

Spray Bar, Bump Bar – A horizontal and padded bar that is mounted onto and slightly forward of the the legs of a footplate. Many people find these aid holding a long pole steady. Again another non essential accessory.

Diamond Eye Threader – A length (one to one and a half metres) of twisted fine wire with a loop (diamond shaped) at one end. Used to pull elastic through the topkit when elasticating a pole.

Flick Tip – A solid tip (Number 1) section that does not allow the use of elastic. Normally used on a whip.  The line is attached directly to the tip.

Whip – A short pole, normally 2 to 5 metres in length though can be up to 7 or 8 metres. Shorter whips are usually telescopic meaning the sections slide inside each other rather than having to be taken apart. Longer whips may be a combination of telescopic and take apart. Included in my definition is that a whip has a solid, flick tip. If it is elasticated then it is just a short pole or the top few sections of a longer one. Whips are used for speed fishing for smaller fish that generally do not require a landing net.

To Hand – A method normally associated with whip fishing in that the length of line attached to the tip is long enough for small fish to be swung “to hand” without having to reduce the length of the whip.

Olivette – Literally a small or tiny olive or egg shaped weight. Used when a large bulk is needed but the angler does not want a long string of shot on the line. There are two types, in line and pinned. The inline version, probably the most popular, is threaded onto the line using a hole through the long axis of the weight. It is then trapped in place using either a small shot above and below or by inserting a fine bristle into the hole. The pinned version has two protruding pins top and bottom and is attached like a float using two lengths of fine bore (silicone) tubing threaded on the line. Olivettes are used when a large bulk is required normally on heavy floats (over 1 gramme) in deep water. Made of tungsten they are heavy for their volume and thus sink quickly.

Skid Bung – A bung inserted into the final section on the pole in use to prevent damage when sliding the pole on the ground or through vegetation. It can also add some strength to the open end of the pole to prevent crushing.

Skid Bung

Roost – A device for storing topkits with rigs attached safely and within easy reach when not in use.  They can be free standing, mounted on bank sticks or attached to a seatbox. 
A pair of bankstick mounted roosts keeping my topkits safely off the snow.
Backshot – Shot placed on the line between float and pole tip.  These help steady the line and sink it out of any breeze.
Dropper Shot, Droppers – The shot nearest to the hook.   May be one, two or three small shot.

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