Pods vs Bank Sticks

A question I often get asked is whether it’s best to use a pod or bank sticks when carp fishing. Funnily enough, it’s one that popped up on the Anglers Net Forum, recently too, so I thought I’d put down a few of my thoughts.

I should point out at the start that I own both. However, for 99.9% of my fishing, I use my bank sticks with buzz bars. For me it’s all about the speed in which you can set up and break down the gear – not to mention how much it weighs when you’re transporting it to the swim!

I find pods too heavy, cumbersome and time consuming to set up. With adjustable height front and back, adjustable length, and adjustable legs… there’s a good chance you’ve had to adjust seven or more different parts before you put it down in the swim, and then you’ll likely have to re-adjust all seven of them again to get it sitting right…. and for me that’s the other thing, rarely when fishing a pod do I get the rods just how I like them, as they can only be adjusted to a certain point.

No surprise then that I favour bank sticks. A fraction of the weight and supremely versatile. They are great as part of my lightweight approach and you only have to screw each stick into a buzz bar, push it into the ground and that’s it – job done. I fish with adjustable buzz bars, which means the wings on either side can be moved in or out, but this is something I don’t mess with – I set them once when I first purchase them to ensure my rods sit an equal distance apart front to back, and then leave them at this setting. Depending on the water I may actually set up each rod on its own set of bank sticks depending on the spots I’m fishing – one thing many seem to forget is that the less angles there are in your set up, the better your bite detection will be, i.e. if your rod points in a straight line to your bait, the fish have got less chance of getting away with it!

Bank Sticks

Pods do have their place, however; there’s one water I used to fish once a year that had wooden platforms, which by their nature meant you could not get your bank sticks in – so you need to give a bit of thought to the types of venues you’re going to be fishing. There’s another water I fish which is rock lined, which again can be a bit of a struggle sometimes with bank sticks. But, personally, I’d rather struggle every now and then and have the versatility of the sticks, than lug a pod around just two have the benefit on a couple of occasions a year!

And that’s the thing; the pod for me is there as a back up should I need it. If there’s a water I’m going to fish for the first time that I’m not sure about, I may well chuck it in the back of the car just in case – but it’s the sticks I’ll take with me to the swim.

So, my advice really would be to have both, but if you’re buying for the first time I would definitely go for bank sticks first. They’re my number one choice and they’re much more cost effective, too!

In terms of recommendations, if you need to make your money go a long way, check out some of the products on offer from Bison Stainless. It’s incredibly cheap, with sticks starting at just £4.99  and pods from around £30.00, but it’s very robust stuff. I’m using some Bison sticks I bought about six years ago and they’re still like new! CLICK HERE to see them on eBay.

If you have a bit more to spend, check out some of the mid-range products from Chub. Quality stainless that’s precision engineered, with a sleek design and finish. CLICK HERE to see them on eBay.

And, finally, for top end products, check out the likes of Matrix Innovations. More combinations than you could possibly imagine for sticks, pods and bite indication. I use quite a bit of their stuff in my own endeavours and it’s bombproof.  CLICK HERE to see them on eBay.

Hopefully, in the not too distant future, I’ll be able to recommend rod support products from Banktech… a new business just started by my friend. All products are in development at the moment, but it’s going to be exciting stuff!

Julian Grattidge
January 2013