Oddly, one of the most common questions I receive regarding my boat is directed at the two Power-Poles mounted on the transom. I agree, they are odd looking and draw the eye right to them, so the many inquiries are no surprise. Unknowing people have referred to them as “smoke stacks”, “rocket boosters”, and so on. No, they are nothing like that, but are merely a multi-hinged pole that unfolds to poke the bottom of the lake/river and prevent the boat from drifting with the wind/current. There are many advantages to them and every serious professional bass fisherman has their boat equipped with some type of shallow-water anchoring device. There are even miniature versions designed for smaller craft like kayaks.
The advantages of Power-Poles and other brands similar to them are many, making them an absolute necessity for professional anglers. Before discussing them, allow me to first present their limitation. They are only capable of anchoring a boat in shallow water. Not all models have the same maximum depth though. Some models are designed with greater length allowing them to poke the bottom at a greater depth. The deepest reaching models will reach about 10 to 12 feet.
My favorite application for Power-Poles is for bed fishing. Bass on their spawning beds can often be very wary and spook easily with any kind of movement. Power-Poles hold the boat still so an angler can lay off the trolling motor, minimize movement, and focus solely on catching the bedding bass. I find bass will become comfortable and lose their awareness after I have been anchored down for a period of time.
Power-Poles are very handy for fishing docks. I like to anchor whenever I catch a fish, when a specific casting angle presents itself, or anytime I feel the need to repeatedly cast to the same dock. Another handy use for dock fishing involves fishing around in tight spaces around docks. This I learned from another pro, Jeremy Lawyer. By deploying the poles only partially, they act as “bumpers” just in case the rear of the boat drifts too close to a dock. The arm of the Power-Pole will bump against the dock instead of your boat’s rear or outboard motor.
Fishing shallow, grass lakes is much more effective using Power-Poles. For instance in many of Florida’s shallow lakes, bass will school up in shallow grass. By anchoring, the school is less likely to be disturbed, allowing an angler to catch a greater number of bass from the school.
Flippin/Pitchin’ heavy cover is greatly aided by Power-Poles because the targeted cover (whether it’s matted surface vegetation or gnarly flooded bushes) can more effectively be picked apart by an angler without accidently drifting up into the cover and disturbing the bass hiding there.
I guess the bottom line is that anytime you are fishing shallow enough for the anchors to reach bottom they can be a great benefit, no matter what type of shallow fishing is involved. They provide a much higher level of control over any situation. Added control can simply mean using them as brakes, to prevent your momentum from carrying into an area that you would rather not.
Other handy uses include docking and beaching. For example at a boat launch, instead of tying your boat to a dock, the anchors can be deployed instead. Or if the boat is beached on the sand, deploying the Power-Poles will prevent the boat from washing away from the beach.
They are also useful anytime that you simply need to take a break. If I need to re-rig, cull, or eat lunch, I will deploy the Power-Poles so I don’t drift into something that I shouldn’t.
There is even a use for Power-Poles in deeper water to control drifting. Paddle-like attachments can be secured to the Power-Poles which will then slow down an open water drift.
So why not just simply use an anchor? Power-Poles operate with the touch of a foot button making for quick and easy use. With a real anchor, you have to stop your fishing while you wrangle it over the gunnel and lower it to the bottom. And then when it’s time to move, once again you have to cease fishing while you bring the anchor aboard along with all of the bottom sand/muck that comes with it.
Lastly, why have two (like nearly every pro) instead of one? Well, one is way better than having none. But having two will prevent the boat from pivoting on the one pole. Two prevents pivoting and keeps the bow locked into position, which means that an angler can leave the trolling motor alone.
So if you have ever wondered what those things were, now you know. They are high dollar, high tech, shallow-water anchors. And you also now know that they are very important pieces of equipment that allow anglers to catch even more bass!