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CoolI often refer to "dip-sticking". This is the float tubing equivalent to flipping. It involves making accurate presentetions, in or next to cover, using a long rod and a light entry of the jig or bait. Combined with the natural stealth of a flotation craft, it can be a deadly way to extract spooky fish from cover.

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.
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Re: [TubeDude] DIP STICKS In reply to
Whew! I thought you were calling us amateurs names.

When I lived out of the states we used 12-14' hand poles (fiberglass rods without reels) to target the minnows we were going to use on the perch and the pike in the canals. I know that minnows don't have a lot of fight to them, but those rods were a good way to sneak up on the baitfish and I wanted to emphesize your point on the longer rods! Thanks for the flashbacks!

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Re: [TubeDude] DIP STICKS In reply to
Hey there TubeDude,

The heck with the 'US' business!! I thought I was being addressed personnaly and couldn't wait to hear what your message to me was. ha ha ha

You're gonna think I'm a whimp but one thing I noticed with my beloved 'Ms Noodle' rod was that when fishing outside the float tube and casting a coupla hours, the 9 feet of 7wt cheap composite rod in front of the ol wrist made for a pretty tired grip hand.

If I balance the rod and reel setup (with extended handle) with my index finger at the handle, my finger position is about an inch from the face of the reel. Isn't that about right all things considered? I'm casting 1/8 and 1/4 ounce stuff in a flowing current.

Older I am, still....... I can cast all day with the 9 wt fly rod loaded 250 grain sinking tippit on a weighted shooting head and not get half the fatigue!!

What's your experience and solution?

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Re: [JapanRon] DIP STICKS In reply to
CoolHey, JR, I hope I didn't offend anyone with my choice of subject title here. I probably would have really gotten you riled up if I had titled this thread "NOODLE-HEADS", or something similar.

As you correctly point out, a balanced rod can make a big difference in the fatigue factor of a full day on the water. That's why I experiment around with different reels to get just the right reel and balance on my dipsticks. That doesn't totally eliminate the strain on wrists and shoulders, but it helps.

The only thing I can offer on why casting a fly rod all day is less fatigueing is that we use a different set of muscles, and the casting motion is different. Also, when casting, retrieving and fighting fish on a noodle spinning rod, we have our arms extended more than we typically do while using fly rods. At least, if we are using proper fly casting technique we are.

The doctor's prescription is to go fishing more and build up your rod arm. Go forth and cast thy lures upon the waters.

AND...FOR RAM4X: Long rods have been the custom in most European countries for centuries. I don't know if you spent any time in the British Isles, but they have "matches" (tournaments) there in which they fish for carp, roach, dace, tench, and other "coarse" fish. They use the long rods and maggots for bait. Their rigging and float system are very scientific and they are really serious. My point...the long rods are the key, and a lot of the fish that go in the live nets are only a few inches long. But, taken on that gear, and in a competitive situation, they provide a lot of enjoyment.

In many of the southern states, dedicated crappie anglers have a garage full of long sticks...up to 16 or 18 feet. Where it is legal, they rig up a boat with rod holders all around their boat, with one of these rods set in each holder. It is scary to see such a craft fully rigged. And when a boat gets in the middle of a school of crappies, it becomes a comedy to watch the guys in the boat try to keep up with the bending rods.
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Re: [TubeDude] DIP STICKS In reply to
I spent more time playing in trees and accidently breaking windows with rocks and that sort of thing while I was in Holland, but I did learn a few fishing tricks from the locals. I'm going to have to grab that pole when I'm up in Montana. I can visualize a couple of instances where it will come in quite handy! Fishing is more of a sport than a hobby overseas. It's taken very seriously, like you said.

Very informative post. It gives a guy a lot to consider when it comes to gear. It's hard to break out of the old ways of doing things.