My first long rod for dipping was nothing more than a fly rod fitted with an ultralight spinning reel in place of the standard fly reel. It worked well and I liked feel of holding the rod forward of the reel, just like using a fly rod. I have since built many dipsticks of many sizes incorporating the handle forward design. Here are a couple of pics of the main rods in my current dipstick arsenal:
The tape measure is extended to six feet. The crappie rod on the right is a twelve footer. It is light action and works great for crappies and other small species, although I have wrestled some big cats with it too. The rod second from the right is built on a 9 foot fly rod, for an 8/9 weight line. It doubles as a "bubble chucker", for throwing bubbles and flies long distances and then reeling and fighting fish handle forward, like a fly rod.
The three rods on the left are all built on stout downrigger or salmon blanks. They range from about 9' to 11'. The two on the left are handle forward. The third from the left is a heavy trigger grip standard handle I use for hand-to-fin combat with big cats when they are in cover in the spring. Even with a heavy rod and stout line, I lose some of the battles.
A closer view of the handles...some cork and some foam. Note the old fly rod rebuild still has some of my old diamond wrapping. I gave that stuff up and started building more for utility than glitz.
The long crappie rods are available commercially from Cabelas, Bass Pro and other sources. They are about $30 and are a good investment for the float tuber that wants to probe stickups and the edges around docks or pilings without alerting fish to their presence.