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You could use one of those fancy side-scan sonar depth finders with the new underwater fish-eye orthographic readouts. Or you could go cut a switch of bamboo and do a little cane-pole fishing. If you choose the latter, a decent cane pole is as close as the nearest stand of bamboo. Everyday ordinary, backyard bamboo works just fine for panfish, bass, and small catfish.

Make a cane pole our way, with the line anchored to the pole along its entire length, and you’ll be able to land anything that doesn’t pull you into the pond first. So there. Drop your line right beside that tree stump. Sit on a bucket. Doesn’t that mud feel squishy between your toes? Hey, where’s your bobber?

How to Build a Cane Pole Fishing Rod

  1. Cut Your Cane
  2. Dry Your Cane Pole
  3. Rig Line to your Cane Pole


1. Cut Your Cane

Cut a straight piece of cane about 10 feet long. Trim the leaf stems as close as possible. Saw through the fat end at the bottom of a joint so the butt end will have a closed cap. Smooth the rough edges with sandpaper.

2. Dry Your Cane Pole

Tie a string to the slender tip and suspend the cane as it dries to a tan color. (This could take several weeks.) Straighten out a curved cane fishing pole by weighting it with a brick.

3. Rig Your Line

Cane pole fishing is hardly a lazy pursuit, with all the fish-catching that typically accompanies an outing with the bamboo and bait. And, it’s not just for pan-sized fish, either. There are as many ways to rig a cane pole for fishing as there are to skin the catfish you catch with one, but this line-wrapping technique will keep the line attached to the slender pole if Mr. Whiskers breaks the whippy tip.

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With an arbor knot, attach 20-pound Dacron line a few inches above the place where you’ll hold the cane pole. Lay the line along the length of the pole and whip-finish the running line to the rod with old fly line at two spots in the middle of the rod—a few feet apart—and at the tip. (If the rod tip breaks, the line will remain attached to the pole.) Attach a 2-foot monofilament leader. The total length of the line from the tip of the rod should be about 14 to 16 feet. Finish with a slip bobber, split shot, and a long-shank Aberdeen hook for easy removal. See the video about how to rig a cane pole fishing rod below for more info:

Video: How to Rig a Cane Pole