Here at Angling Direct, we understand that the right rod support system can play a hugely important role in the success of your fishing. No matter your target fish, you cannot expect the best results without the best gear to make it happen. We’re proud to offer what’s undoubtedly one of the largest and most comprehensive selections of rod supports on the UK market today. As every angler has their own unique preference when it comes to the various methods of ensuring maximum rod stability, we’ve taken the time to assemble a huge range featuring hundreds of high-end products from the leading names in angling hardware.
You can use this quick and simple guide to help you to decide on the perfect rod support setup for you – whether you want to use single sticks, buzz bars, or tripods. If you’re in the market for a rod pod, you might want to check out our dedicated category page but – before you do – we recommend sticking around to hear out the benefits of a bank stick setup first. You never know, you might just be converted!
Fishing banksticks have long been a stalwart of the carp angler’s rod setup and, although they were temporarily at risk of being dethroned in the 1990s with the invention of the rod pod, they still remain the most popular way of supporting and positioning your rods on the bank. The pros and cons of bank sticks have long been debated in the angling community, so we thought we’d collect together the best of the arguments for and against them in order to give you a clear picture of what to expect when you invest in your first set.
By far and away one of the biggest benefits of using a bank stick setup is how sturdy it is. This is because, unlike rod pods, you push or screw your bank stick directly into the bank, leaving no room for movement in high winds or after an aggressive take. You’ll find that all of the bank sticks that we stock have pointed ends, allowing you to push them directly into the ground. However, some companies have gone one step further and have added a screw point onto the end of their bank sticks – rather than simply smoothly transitioning down into a point. This has the added benefit of allowing you to setup on harder ground, for example, when the summer sun has baked the moisture out of the earth. Of course, you could always use a small hammer or a mallet with your smooth pointed bank sticks – although be warned! This is generally seen as bad form among the most ardent carp anglers and might not be a method that makes you many friends on the bank!
Obviously, the only downside of using bank sticks is when you’re confronted with a wooden or concrete platform to fish from, when it is impossible to push your bank stick through no matter how hard you try. This is becoming increasingly more popular on commercial venues, as venue owners look to protect the bankside, and it can often be the norm if you’re targeting canals or rivers. Some venues combat this by inserting pegging points into the bank to allow for bank sticks, but this restricts where you’re able to fish from. Most anglers agree that it is a good idea to check out the venues you’re looking to fish if you’re deciding between a bank stick or rod pod setup – or else buy both and be prepared for all scenarios.
Another area where many anglers agree that bank sticks are better than rod pods is when you’re trying to fish close off the bank or you want your rods spread over the bank. With a rod pod setup, you’re restricted to targeting one set area and you definitely aren’t able to get right down to the edge of the bank. You’re also able to more precisely angle your rods with single stick bank sticks, as you can move each rod support independently of one another. If you’re a precision angler, it is more than likely that a single stick bank stick set up is ideal for you. However, one potential downside of this is that if you do want a parallel setup then it can be more difficult to get all your bank sticks perfectly aligned. Some companies have created solutions to this, including inserting small spirit levels into the bank sticks, but by far away the most popular solution to this problem is buzz bars (about which we will go into more detail shortly).
For most anglers, however, the main downside of bank sticks is their weight. If you’re fishing a traditional three-rod setup then you’re going to need six individual bank sticks (one for the rear and front of each rod), which can take up space and add significant weight to your tackle collection. Once again, buzz bars are used as a way around this problem, as it reduces your bank stick load to two. You will find that some tackle companies manufacture their bank sticks out of carbon, to reduce the weight of the setup. Not only this, but carbon bank sticks often come in matt or gloss black, so they look great with any modern carp fishing setup. Bank stick purists will disregard the weight issue and instead will go for stainless steel bank sticks. Although heavier than carbon alternatives, these stainless steel options are incredibly hard wearing and one set should see you through your entire angling career.
A final thing to bear in mind when you’re looking at bank sticks is their length. Bank sticks can be as short as 6 inches or as tall as 34 inches – the height you choose will depend on how far you like to insert your stick into the bank as well as how far off the ground you like your rods and reels to be, you will also need to factor in a banksticks compatibility with your chosen rod rest heads, although most rests are universally compatible. Many bank sticks will offer adjustable extensions, so you’re able to decide on the height of your rods based on the situation on the bank. Remember, you can mix and match heights to have an upwards or downwards facing setup, too. One final aspect to consider is aesthetics, most banksticks are silver but, in recent years there has been a preference towards black banksticks, which you can also find plenty of in the Angling Direct range.
Buzz bars are extremely useful additions to your bank stick set up. They allow you to enjoy a compromise between bank sticks and rod pods, as they give you the ability to fish with a goal post setup. By screwing your buzz bars into your bank stick you can transform a six-stick setup into a two-stick setup, whilst still fishing with three rods. This is because buzz bars have three threads available for screwing in your rod rests (more on these later), allowing you to fish three rods out of two bank sticks. As with bank sticks, it’s worth remembering that you’ll need to invest in two buzz bars, one for the front and one for the rear of your setup.
Like bank sticks, buzz bars are available in a variety of sizes. The size of buzz bar you choose will depend on how far apart you want your rods. If you want a spaced-out setup then chances are you’ll be after a longer set of buzz bars but if you prefer to fish in a more compact way then you’ll be after a shorter set! As with bank sticks, you can mix and match lengths in order to create a splayed or tightening setup, depending on your needs. Some buzz bars are adjustable, too, allowing you to decide on your setup depending on the conditions you’re fishing in. You’ll also have the choice between two, three, or four-rod buzz bars. Generally, three-rod buzz bars are the most popular – mostly because three-rod fishing is very fashionable in the carp community, but two-rod buzz bars are also popular if you want to fish a goal post setup and then a separate single rod in the margins.
There is come debate in the carp fishing community when it comes to whether buzz bars offer a stable setup or not. Some anglers believe that it is every bit as stable as a single stick setup, whereas others believe it is more stable than a rod pod but not as stable as a traditional bank stick setup. One thing that is consistent, however, is the knowledge that buzz bars have significantly improved since they were first designed. Initially, anglers had to contend with twisting and wobbling buzz bars but, for the most part, this is a problem of the past.
There are two main benefits to buzz bar setups, both of which we touched on when talking about the negatives to fishing with bank sticks. Firstly, the buzz bars ensure that you’re quickly and easily able to achieve a completely parallel setup. There is some debate about how important a parallel setup is to your angling but if you’re concerned about looking the part on the bank then chances are this will play a big role in your decision. For the angler who wants a parallel setup, using buzz bars is a huge time saver. Buzz bars also make it considerably easier to ensure that you have a level setup, too. The second big benefit of buzz bars is that is significantly reduces the weight of your rod support system. Rather than carrying six bank sticks down to the water, with buzz bars you only need two bank sticks and two buzz bars. Even if you have an all stainless setup, this still significantly reduces the weight of your load. This offers a more compact transportation size, too, which is ideal for the angler who is looking to consolidate their tackle collection.
Whether you’re using buzz bars, single sticks, or a rod pod, one thing remains constant: you need rod rests. These come in the form of cups, grips, or rests and they provide the place for you to stand your rod. You’ll want two rod rests for each setup, one for the butt end of your rod and one for the mid-to-tip section of your rod. These come in slightly different styles, from large scooped rests to V-shaped rests with divots to allow your line to run freely. The style of rod rest you choose will usually be dependant on the angle at which you’re fishing (if you’re fishing with the tips high chances are you’ll want a cup) and whether your rod rest is at the front of rear of your rod. Rod rests tend to be plastic, as this is gentler on the rod and won’t cause damage should you get a ripping take. However, you can find stainless steel rests and these usually have interior padding to protect your rod.
Snag ears are mostly used in conjunction with bite alarm setups and they perform the same basic task as rod rests (albeit without giving you somewhere to actually rest your rod). These are mostly to prevent your rod from jumping out of your support system when you get an aggressive take. Snag ears go through phases of being fashionable or not and it usually comes down to personal preference whether or not your see the value in them. However, if you do suffer a roaring take and you don’t have snag ears, you might have to be prepared to chase your rod as is bounces down to the water!
Tripods and Monopods
This is the final category in our collection of rod support systems. Designed to hold a single or dual rod, tripods and monopods are most often used when sea fishing. They allow you to have your rod tip high in the air, enabling you to better keep your line out of the rolling surf. Some anglers also use tripods when river fishing – again to keep the tip of the rod high and to keep the line out of trouble at the bank.
When it comes to bankware, you’ll see all the classic angling names in our collection – as well as some brands whose sole focus is on bankware production. Cygnet, for example, is a brand that solely produces rod support systems and accessories. JAG is one of the leading stainless steel manufacturers around, too, and many of the stainless bankware you’ll find in our range will have JAG’s name stamped on it. The brand even works with other tackle companies, such as Korda, to produce quality angling hardware. If you’re looking for the tools to ensure that your world class rods are going to suspend your expert rig at the perfect depth then you need look no further than our collection of rod support systems.
What’s more, we scour the UK market every day to ensure our prices remain the lowest you’ll find, while promising a level of customer service that goes the extra mile every time. Our price checked sticker, which you’ll find in the top right corner of the product page, lets you know that the tackle you’re about to purchase has been verified as the best price on the market. We’re also adding to our fishing tackle collections all the time with the latest gear from the world’s best-known brands, so there’s always a good reason to head back over and see what’s new.
With the right rod support and a little help from Angling Direct, your next carp fishing outing could land the catch you’ve always dreamed of. Give the team a call today with any question you may have, or for a discussion on the kind of gear that could take your skills to the next level and beyond. All our contact details and operating hours can be found on our website, or you can use the shop finder tool to locate your nearest Angling Direct. All our shop staff are avid anglers and can offer advice from a wealth of experience.