How to Fish with a Cane Pole

Fishing is something that has been important in people's lives since the dawn of time. First as a way to feed families and then as a way to spend time with them. Fishing with a cane pole is the easiest and most ancient method of fishing you can share with your kids, your parents, friends you have, or friends you have not met yet. Learning how to fish with a cane pole is a good part of anybody's fishing library.

450 Making-your-Own-Cane-Pole

To learn how to fish with a cane pole, you will need certain equipment, but not much of it and it's not very expensive. That is one of the main reasons it's so easy to introduce children to this excellent and exciting pastime. Plus, the bluegill, crappy and sunfish it can catch might just produce dinner. These small, shallow freshwater species are collectively referred to as "panfish" because of that exact reason: they're great dinner!

What you need for Fishing with a Cane Pole...

Fishing can be quite expensive. We know of fly rods that people pay upwards of $5,000. Cane pole fishing, however, is on the other side of the scales when it comes to expense, cost, and pure simplicity.

  • A cane pole. They are available at any tackle shop. They range in length from about six to ten feet, so pick one in the middle: eight-to-nine feet.
  • Fishing line. You only need a piece of line as long as the rod is long, but add a few feet. The weight of the line should be very light, and you do not need a leader.
  • Hook. You should use tiny hooks. The smallest hooks can successfully land the bigger fish. Pick a small pack of #8 or #10 hooks.
  • Knots. You need to tie the line to the pole and the line to the hook. Use a Clinch knot for both spots.
  • A bobber. You can fish with a cane pole without a bobber, but why in heaven's name would you want to? Use a bobber! A small round red-and-white bobber that has a small button on top and a hook/spring to hold it to the line is exactly what you need. Buy small ones no bigger than a quarter. When a fish grabs the bait, the bobber will disappear. And thrill the heart of an old man or a child of three.
  • Bait. The best bait for panfish is a dough made of flour, egg, and a little water. Adding a small amount of fish oil or sardines helps but is not necessary. Hard-core cane pole tournament anglers (we are making that up) use crickets, but if the box accidentally opens in your car on the way to the fishing hole, it will ruin your view of fishing. Even if it does not force you to take up chess to release your stress and keep you in touch with nature (wooden chess pieces only), it will show you why we do not use them as bait.

Where to fish with a cane pole...

Freshwater ponds. If there is a pond near you with a place you can stand next to the water, it will work. I do not know natural or man made ponds in Florida that touch the aquifer (the clean fresh limestone-filtered water that Florida floats upon) that does not have fish in it. Try to fish near weeds or lily pads. The best spots we know in the state are golf course ponds. The wealth richie-rich ones will threaten your life and freedoms if they catch you on their course fishing, but most of them will let you take your kid out there to catch a bluegill without calling the secret service. You might want to give them a call and ask them first.


Don't laugh - we are not kidding. You can buy five pound of tropical fish food at good tackle shops that we use for chumming saltwater baitfish. If you have a pond close, try feeding the fish a handful every day at the same time (dawn or dusk is regular feeding time and best for this tactic). Before long your shadow and sound will tell them it is dinner time. Put a small ball of dough-bait on that small hook, drop it in the feeding frenzy, and watch that little child of yours' eyes light up.

Ours still do. So try it, you will like it. Knowing how to fish with a cane pole is one of the best things you can put on your list of things you have to do.

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