What is the Poletap Smartrod?
For many years I would fish at night for catfish. We put out trot lines, limb hooks and jugs and let them do the work. But we also loved to sit on the bank by a fire with a line or two cast out waiting on a catfish to bite. But it was hard to know when you got a bite.
There are products like little bells to attach to your rod tip to let you know when a fish is on your line, but if you put several rods out you don’t know which one to go to. And in the dark it is hard to grab the right rod quickly.
A few weeks ago I was sent a new product to try out. The SmartRod from Poletap is a modern way to know when a fish hits. On the handle of the spinning rod is an electronic device that detects a tap indicating a bite. When a bite is sensed red lights start flashing and an audible alarm sounds.
The heavy rod comes with a big spinning reel loaded with red line. The outfit is heavy and strong enough to handle big catfish.
I took the rod to my pond and baited up with night crawlers from Berrys. I tried it a couple of ways, putting the rod in a rod holder attached to a board on the dock and also leaning the rod against a post. Since I tried it out during the day, after casting out I sat and watched to see how the rod worked.
There was some wind that day and I was happy to see wind blowing the line didn’t set off the alarm even when set on high. There are three settings, high, medium and low, so you can compensated for conditions. You can also turn off the audible alarm and just use the lights so you don’t disturb the peace and quiet of fishing at night.
I have bream and bullheads in my pond and it was not long before I saw the line twitch a little. I was surprised the alarm didn’t go off. Then the line started moving. A bullhead had taken the bait and swam toward the dock. It then swam out toward deeper water and the line moved without really jumping any.
When the fish pulled the line tight the alarm and lights went off. I would not have seen the slight twitch and line movement in the dark but the reel on the outfit comes with red line, so it was easy to see in the daylight.
That might be a good thing that the alarm didn’t go off from the slight bite and line movement. Catfish and bullheads are notorious for nibbling baits and not taking it and you can try to set the hook too early if you are watching. The alarm didn’t sound until the fish pulled, which is when you set the hook. Since the rod was in a holder or leaning against a post the fish hooked itself.
The bullheads I caught were small, about ten inches long, so the rod reacted to a very small fish. A bigger fish would probably take the bait more quickly and sound the alarm faster.
The outfit did its job. At night you would know which rod to grab immediately, but would not let you know to grab it until the fish was hooked, so you would not pull the bait away from the fish. It would be a great outfit to have if you like to fish at night.
You can see more information on the Smart Rod at http://tackobox.com. There is also a video on YouTube. A video shows how to use it but instructions on the rod make it very easy to use. The combo sells for about $50.