Ignore the diagrams and all the theories behind them.  Scanning the Internet I have come across drawings, illustrations, and long drawn-out descriptions on how to bank pole correctly.  Weather, location, and the time of the year is just a few variables that can make a complicated diagram wrong.  Running bank poles since I was a young child, I have navigated the strong currents of every type of river with fishermen of varying expertise. Over the years, I have learned how to fish with bank poles in the most efficient and safe way.

1. Don’t Over Think It

The new guy in the front of the boat is pointing in excitement, “Let’s put one there, put one there!”  An hour later, the bank pole is bouncing with a fish on it.

There is no standard spot for a bank pole.  Most fishermen will tell you to find a deep bank that is straight up and down with little to no current.  This is absolutely true.  However, I have seen experienced fishermen put their bank poles on a sand bar with only a foot or two of water and catch 50 pound flathead.  Their theory, the fish come in the shallows at night to feed, especially sand bars full of bait fish.  How do you know where to fish?  Trial and error.  Try the deep banks and try shallow areas.  Put a bank pole in a spot you think you would never catch a fish.  If you start catching fish in this spot consider moving your bank poles to similar locations.

2. Take Your Time

When setting the poles out take your time driving the boat and baiting the hooks.  Every person in the boat has their specific job and everybody should work as a team.  Rushing to get the poles out can lead to injury, like somebody getting hooked or thrown out of the boat.  Like any outdoor sport, stay methodical and keep your head in the game.

3. Pull Debris Away

Before deploying any bank poles I always check to see if there is debris in the water where I want to drop my hook. It is also useful to carefully stick your bank pole in the water to feel around for debris. If there is debris on the surface, simply pull it out with your hands and toss it on the bank. Never submerge your hands in the water after you have dropped your hook. Any movement from the boat or passenger in the boat can put your arms and hands in jeopardy of being hooked.

A few minutes of preparation increases your chances of keeping your bait alive and ultimately landing a fish. Another way to avoid debris is…


How to Fish with Bank Poles
Purchase Bank Pole Shirt
4. Push Bank Poles in Straight

Having the tips of the bank poles pointed towards the sky means the hook will be closer to the bank, increasing the chances of snags.  Rather, push the bank poles straight in with the tips facing towards the other side of the river.  This allows you to use the length of the pole to your advantage by keeping the hook further away from any tree roots growing under the surface.

5. Buy a Big Net

Having a fish of a lifetime and not having a large enough net is every fishermen’s nightmare.  In this situation, somebody usually braves the elements and puts their hand in the mouth of a thrashing fish.. With a hook lurking close by and a moving boat, the fish may not be the only one being hooked.

6. Check Bank Poles Frequently

The rule of thumb is to check bank poles once every hour.  You will not catch fish if there is no bait on your hooks and you will lose fish if they are on your hooks for a long period of time. However, it is important to stay far from your bank poles when they are baited.

7. Think Outside the Box

Get creative and always try new spots! Test deep and shallow waters with varying currents. Experiment with different depths and bait. Put two bank poles right next to one another or spread them out down the river. It is important to try something new every time you go out. Overtime, you will see patterns and become familiar on how to catch fish in your specific area on the river. If you really want to learn how to fish with bank poles, listen to your gut instinct – it never lies.

You got to check out this bank pole shirt I designed – Flathead Catfish Bank Pole Fishing Shirt

Feel free to read me catfishing fishing articles :

Drift Fishing for Catfish: 2 Critical Tips You Must Know

How to Light Fishing Poles for Night Fishing

How to Hook Live Bluegill Bait for Flathead Catfish

How to Flathead Fish: The Basics

Justin J. Lind

October 2017
White Buffalo Outdoors