Myriad pole and long rod options for panfish are available to anglers who prefer to dip and dabble their baits around cover or troll spider-rig style in open water. This is a peak at a few of the prominent options on the market — a preview of tackle best suited for these applications. As a technical note, by In-Fisherman definition a pole does not have rod guides and isn't for use in conjunction with a reel. Many poles do have line keepers of one sort or another. Rods, obviously, are designed to employ a reel, most often a spinning reel, but also at times spincast and casting reels.
Bass Pro Shops
Crappie pro Wally Marshall's latest rod design is the Signature Series Super Slide Rod, featuring an adjustable foregrip and reel seat that slides up the rod for easy placement in a rod holder. These two-piece moderate-action rods are made of IM-6 graphite in lengths of 9, 10 and 12 feet. Also consider the Tightline Special Trolling Rod with a high-visibility tip and a handle designed to fit securely in a rod holder. Meanwhile, the Signature Series Universal and Pro Series rods are ideal for dabbling in thick brush. Uncle Buck's Crappie Poles are also available in lengths of 10, 12 and 13 feet, and he Uncle Buck's Deluxe Crappie Poles are offered in lengths of 10, 12, 13 and 16 feet — basspro.com
Buck's Graphite Jig Pole, a classic dipping pole, has been redesigned with larger Dynaflo guides that are lighter and more durable, plus a new cushioned reel seat. A flipping and dipping pole, Buck's Gold Jig Pole, has Dynaflo spinning guides and the new cushioned reel seat. Spider-rigging options include the Pro Staff Trolling Rod, with an offset reel seat to provide easy removal form a rod holder — in lengths from 8 to 20 feet. The Crappie Wizard Series has fluorescent yellow tips for better visibility — bnmpoles.com
Whuppin' Stick Crappie Rods and Poles are light-action fiberglass options for dipping tactics. The rods have foam grips with graphite slip rings to secure reels in various positions — in lengths ranging from 71„2 to 12 feet. The poles are telescopic to lengths of 10, 12 and 13 feet and have a high-visibility tip — cabelas.com
Grizzly Jig Company
The Grizzly Elite Brush Rod is offered in two- and three-piece models adaptable to many applications. The 101„2-foot model is for fishing in heavy brush but can be converted to a trolling rod. The three-piece model has a standard 101„2-foot tip for dipping applications, while the 91„2-foot brush tip is for winching heavyweight crappies out of cover — grizzlyjig.com
The Shooting Star Telescopic Series are available with either reel seats and guides for trolling or a line winder model for dipping. The newest model is the Shooting Star Pro equipped with a deluxe handle and gripping system. The HT Jiggin' Stick Pro is made of IM7 graphite, while the HT Panfish Special Pro available in 10-, 11- and 12-foot models is for dipping. The Jiggin' Stick, in either graphite or fiberglass, is a top choice for trolling — Hi-Tech Fishing
Outlaw Crappie Poles
Constructed with IM7 graphite blanks, these poles are in lengths from 8 to14 feet. The 8-foot and 10-foot models are for jigging in the brush, while the 11-, 12-, and 14-foot versions are for trolling. All the poles are two-piece except the14-footer which has three sections — anglersmidwest.com
Ozark Rod Company
The Ultralight Series in lengths of 8 to 12 feet are equipped with a center reel seat, while the 10- and 11-foot models have rear reel seats for dipping jigs or livebait. The Heavy Jigging Series rods are offered in the same lengths and have spinning guides for either flipping into heavy cover or casting a slip bobber and jig. The Trolling Series are12-and 14-foot fiberglass poles with high-visibility tips for strike detection. The Pro Series Trollers in 12, 14, 16 and 20 feet are graphite poles with an extended foam handle in front of the reel seat to provide easy placement and remove from a rod holder — ozarkrodcompany.com
Telescoping Wonderpoles have line keepers and fluorescent color tips for helping detect strikes. The light-action poles are in lengths of 10, 12, 13, 16 and 20 feet — shakespeare-fishing.com
Slater's Jig Company
The 10-foot Jig'n Pole is a two-piece fiberglass pole with line guides and a choice of foam or cork handles. Other models suited for dipping include the Eddie Slater's Classic 10- and 11-foot extension poles, Crappie Buster telescoping 10 and 13 footers, and the Ultimate Crappie Rod, a 98-percent graphite pole in 10- and 11-foot lengths. For spider rigging, consider the Trolling Master Pole — 12- and 14-foot fiberglass models — and Big Jim's Crappie Rod, two pieces in lengths of 9 and 10 feet — slatersjigs.com
Wright & McGill
Although labeled Salmon Steelhead Series rods, the Light Drifter and Float Rods are in sizes, actions, and lengths suitable for dipping tactics. The 9-foot Light Drifter has spinning and casting. The Float Rods are spinning models available in lengths of 101„2 and 111„2 feet — wright-mcgill.com
Abu Garcia MGXtreme
- At just 4.9 ounces, this is the lightest casting reel on the market, and the best low-profile reel we've yet fished. Its cutting-edge IVBC-4 centrifugal braking system offers superb spool control. Performance is smooth, thanks to its 10 bearings (seven stainless-steel HPCR bearings, two hybrid CeramiLite, and one roller) and one-piece alloy frame. The reel features a bent carbon handle and either round EVA knobs or standard flat. This year, the MGXtreme is available in 7.1:1 (28 inches per turn) only, and line capacity of 12/115 (mono), $499.95.
Abu Garcia Revo Rocket
- The Rocket, geared 9:1 and weighing 6.75 ounces, is the fastest reel on the market. It takes in 37 inches of line per turn, making it ideal for presentations that demand speed, like flippin'. The Rocket has both a magnetic brake and sealed centrifuge system for controlling spool speed throughout the cast. Right- and left-hand retrieves available, $299.95.
- Tatula series features Air Rotation, a precision gear design housed in a one-piece aluminum frame for maximum strength, reduced vibration, and increased durability. Tatula reels also feature a hybrid levelwind and redesigned T-Wing casting aperture with simpler mechanics for frictionless line flow and longer casts. Other features include Ultimate Tournament Carbon Drag (UTD), Magforce-Z magnetic cast control braking, 7+1 bearings, infinite anti-reverse, corrosion resistant clutch, and large angled power handle. Available in standard or Type-R models in both right- and left-handed versions, reels weigh 7.6 to 7.9 ounces depending on model. Gear ratios include 5.4:1, 6.3:1, and 7.3:1, $149.99 to $199.99.
Lew's BB1 Pro Speed Spool
- Building on the 2012 reintroduction of the BB1, the BB1 Pro Speed Spool is lighter and features a new externally-adjustable SpeedCast 6-Pin ACB centrifugal brake system. From free-spool to maximum braking, anglers can quickly match settings to bait size with 27 variable settings, without opening the side plate. Improvements also include an oversized titanium line guide to maximize casting distance. The BB1 Pro series includes five models, including the low-geared 5.1:1 PS1, designed with a multi-stop anti-reverse preferred by crankbait fiends like pro David Fritts, who applaud the reel's sensitivity. Four other BB1 Pro models are available in 6.4:1 and 7.1:1 gear ratios, both right- and left-handed, $199.99.
Okuma Helios Air
- Building on 2013's Helios, the Helios Air is even lighter, largely due to replacing the reel's aluminum frame and side plates with magnesium versions, cutting weight from 6.5 to 5.7 ounces. A seven-position Velocity Control System under the palm cover allows quick brake adjustment. The Air also features an all-aluminum drive system, multi-disc Carbonite drag, eight bearings plus one roller bearing drive system, Japanese spool bearings, and Zirconium line guide inserts. It's available in both right- and left-handed versions, and 7.3:1 gear ratio that picks up 31.6 inches of line per turn, $269.99.
- This flagship of the Pflueger line has been completely redesigned. It now features an all-aluminum frame and gears, carbon fiber handle, and other weight-reducing tweaks. The Patriarch now weighs just 6.28 ounces, yet still features the dual braking system that includes centrifugal and magnetic brakes (accessed via an all-new cam locking non-detachable side plate), 20 pounds of max drag, and gear ratios of 7.1:1 and 7.9:1 (right hand only), $199.95.
Pflueger Supreme XT
- Offering nine double-shielded stainless ball bearings, easily-accessed centrifugal brake system, seamless carbon fiber drag, titanium line guide and aluminum main gear, the new XT weighs a mere 6.5 ounces. It's available in both 6.4:1 and 7.1:1 models, $149.95.
Pinnacle Primmus Xi
- Individually tuned before leaving the California factory, the new 5.8-ounce Primmus Xi features strong carbon-fiber side plates and an X-Bone 2.0 aluminum alloy frame to distribute the torque of big fish and keep gears aligned. The reel incorporates Duralumin in its spool design, a lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum alloy that's stronger than brass. Remove the palm cover and a six-position centrifugal cast control allows quick brake adjustment to match lure size. The reel is covered by a lifetime warranty, including no-cost service when your reel needs tuning. Available in 6.4:1 and 7.1:1 models, $249.95.
Quantum TourMg PT
- Two years ago, Quantum introduced the 5.9-ounce Exo, a reel that cut weight through an all-aluminum alloy 'exoskeletal ' design. Their latest, the 5.4 ounce TourMg PT, is crafted with a magnesium frame and gear side cover to reduce weight, although aluminum alloy is still used in the reel's drilled-out main gear and drive shaft. Other features include 11 bearings, Performance Tuned ceramic drag system, easy-to-access six-setting internal centrifugal cast control, and flipping switch, long favored by Quantum fans. Available in 6.3:1 and 7:1 gear ratios with 26 and 28 inches of line uptake per turn, respectively, and 12/110 line capacity (mono), $279.95.
Abu Garcia Revo ALT
- This Revo features corrosion-resistant components making it suitable for both fresh- and saltwater. It features Abu's IVCB-IV braking system, 6+1 bearings, solid brass main gear, and Carbon Matrix drag (offering 12 pounds of max drag). It weighs 6.2 ounces with line capacity of 12/115 (mono), $259.95.
Abu Garcia Revo Elite 7 & 8
- Both the Elite 7 and Elite 8 feature Abu's externally adjustable IVCB centrifugal braking system, enhanced by the addition of two more braking arms (for a total of 8). The result is amazing casting control, especially when tossing light baits. The Elite 7 has 9+1 bearings, weighs 6 ounces, offers 15 pounds of max drag, and line capacity of 14/110 (mono). Its 7.1:1 gearing gathers 29 inches of line per turn. The Elite 8 offers the same features, but is geared 8:1 (32 inches per turn), $379.95.
Abu Garcia Revo LTX
- The LTX was engineered for finesse fishing. It pairs a one-piece X-Mag, alloy frame and C6 carbon side plates with a shallow Infini II spool and Magtrax brake system to create an extremely lightweight (5.4 ounces) performance reel that must be fished to be appreciated. Max drag is 12 pounds. Both right- and left-hand models are available, both in a 7.9:1 retrieve ratio (31 inches of line per turn) and line capacity of 8/130 (mono), $379.95.
Shimano Chronarch C14+
- Chronarch C14+ has a new carbon frame, re-engineered brake system, and X-SHIP technology. A departure from the magnesium used in their domestic Core and Japanese JDM Metanium reels, the Chronarch CI4+ carbon composite is even lighter and stronger than materials used in first generation Chronarchs. X-Ship technology, first available in their spinning reels, now brings greater strength and rigidity to baitcasters, reducing torque and subsequent tilt that big fish can put on the reel frame and gearing. For casting lighter lures, the SVS Infinity Brake system controls spool speed and an external adjustment dial allows on-the-fly adjustments. The reel also features S-ARM anti-rust bearings and additional non-corrosive carbon frame components for inshore anglers. Available in 6.2:1 and 7.6:1 gear ratios with 26 and 32 inches of line uptake per turn, respectively, and 10/145 (mono), $269.99.