Poling techniques

This is a first posting in the new How-To category on the Texas FlyFishers website.  During the recent Redfish Rodeo 2016, there was some discussion about organizing some poling education during a popular saltwater outing or event.  That will take a bit of planning, but in the interim, a few folks shared some links that might be useful to those of you who are curious.

The first is a posting from the Saltwater Sportsman written by local guide Scott Sommerlatte called “Poling Basics

The second is a YouTube video by guide Capt Joe Gonzalez called  “Fundamentals of Poling a Skiff“.


5 thoughts on “Poling techniques

  1. Good information on poling! Basics are all there… I really like the “quadrant” concept, and will use that.

    Two comments:
    1) you can get an idea from the article and video, but the only way to pole is from the platform of a skiff. Can’t learn to swim by riding a bike, after all.

    2) The video shows an awful lot of splashing with the pole… wrong! Remember you’re trying to be as stealthy as possible. If I made that much noise from the platform you could hear Graham screaming all the way across Lighthouse Lakes!

    Good stuff, thanks Dave for positing!


  2. Scott’s article is good. A little too technical but good teaching aid. The video is horrible George is correct that Captain couldn’t sneak up on a mullet. He uses the wrong poling end. The foot end shouldn’t be used unless your in deep mud period. The pointed end makes far less splash when inserting into the water, is easier to remove from bottom after applying pressure, and doesn’t get “caked-up” with mud. If poling downwind, very seldom does one need to add a hard push. Always better to glide effortlessly under complete control. If you scour the internet you’ll find twenty different poling instructional videos all saying their way is best. Just like casting a fly rod. It is good to understand the basics, but one must feel how their boat reacts to their input. Wind is a huge player in the poling equation. My best advice is “less is best” and think way ahead of the bow. Start inputting a directional change very gradually before you actually need it. That way you don’t get stuck trying to make a quick turn into the wind or around a oyster shell bed to keep from scratching the boat. It is also critical that you be able to identify the upcoming bottom structure from 20 to 30 feet away so that you have plenty of time to make a gradual correction without disturbing the fish and fisher. QUIET QUIET QUIET. Keep your feet still on the platform. Best to go barefooted if possible. No noise should come from the boat while searching for fish. I think it is better not to talk very much too. Both the fisher and the poler need to keep balanced and not rock the boat while casting or poling. Fish no likey!


    • The video came to me from Mike F. Interesting to note that it was under the Hell’s Bay name. On a separate note, I expect that positioning the poler and fisherman relative to where their shadow is cast is important as well. Two bodies standing over 12′ off the water can cast a very long shadow and the fast movement of a rod and flailing arms of a double haul could be enough to scare any wary fish.


    • Good Info….. No Talking……..Mike…….really. 🙂
      Let me know if you want to set up a poling clinic. I believe it would go a long way to increase participation within the club, at club functions and for all fishing excursions. I am always looking for a fishing partner who can pole.


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