Choosing the Right Push Stick

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Choosing the right push stick is important for success.
Jon Whittle

Although coastal purists are often strongly tempted, perch rigs and perches aren’t expressly designed for jousting with boring jet skis. On the contrary, this combination on flat boats and technical pole skiffs opens up vast expanses of super skinny water inaccessible to boats with only trolling motors. Deliberate perch is much quieter than a troller’s pulse, and most craft will float shallower than the length of the motor shaft. The height advantage of the raised platform also allows the poler to spot fish or movement before the fish are alerted, and the boat can be quickly repositioned for better casting angles.

To take full advantage of pole opportunities, the first step is to choose the right pushing pole. Materials of construction include fiberglass, hybrid glass, and graphite, as well as carbon fiber and graphite, with decreasing weights per foot with each respective option. However, the price tags increase for those on crash diets.

The length of the boom is determined by the length of the boat, the height of the platform, the depth of water normally encountered and the consistency of the bottom. The general rule is to add 3 feet of pole beyond the length of the boat, but a soft, fluffy mud bottom or deeper beach side flats may force the addition of an extra foot or two . Go too long, and mooring and towing or storage becomes problematic.

If you’re switching from trolling to rod fishing, get the lightest rod you can afford for your intended use. Less weight means less fatigue and easier handling. Longer lengths equal more hand-over-hand strength without replanting. Using a pair of gloves like those made by Fish Monkey improves grip and reduces wear. And when you slowly release on a tailfish for the perfect cast, a contented sigh and the hiss of the line coming off the reel will be the perfect soundtrack.

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