Making an Old-Fashioned Cane Pole for Fishing

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A summer spent by the banks of the river lazily relaxing in the summer sun, soaking up the heat, the humidity, and the vitamin D. The memories of easy days aren’t complete without an old-fashioned cane pole for fishing with and a prize fish to bring home for dinner. Cane poles have been around for a couple hundred years.

Now, it’s a lot of fun to fish with modern equipment, but it’s also challenging and fun to fish with old fashioned gear. A cane pole can work fine to get bluegill, small catfish, and even bass. This is especially fun for children, as not only do they make their own equipment, but then they get to try it out and see if it works. How much fun would it be to make your own fishing pole, catch your own dinner, clean your own dinner, and then cook it over an open fire?  These are the activities children dream of and just so happen to be excellent for surviving in the wild.

  1. First, you’re going to want to cut your cane poles. A good cane pole can be about 10 feet long. Trim any thin or wiggly bits at the end that are likely to break off. Then go down the cane pole and take off any leaf and stem as close to the pole as possible. Cut through the fat end of the bottom joint so that the butt end will have a closed cap. Go over any rough edges with some fine grit sandpaper.
  2. Next, you’re going to want to dry your cane pole. To dry your cane pole, tie a string to the thinnest tip and then suspend the cane pole from a tree until it dries to a nice tan color. Drying can take several weeks. This is also the time you would like to straighten out a curved pole by weighing it down with a heavy rock or brick so that it remains straight.
  3. Once your cane pole is dry you can start a regular line. With an Arbor knot, attached 20-pound line a couple of inches above the place where you will hold your rod. Lay the link line along the entire length of the pole and then we’ve finished the running line to the rod with an old fly line at two spots in the middle. If the rod breaks at the tip the line will then remain attached to the pole. Then attach a 2-foot leader. The total length of the line from the tip of the rod should be about 14 to 16 feet. You will want to finish with a bobber, sinker, and a hook.

Cane pole fishing isn’t a throw it out and be done type of fishing. Also cane pole fishing isn’t just for pan sized fish either. You can catch somewhat rather large catfish with one and with this line wrapping technique should a catfish break your pole, you won’t lose the catfish. Cane pole fishing in the summer and in the South is a lovely pastime.  It’s almost time to go looking for your perfect cane pole.


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