What are Banksticks? Why Every Carp Angler Should Use Them

We have all been there, new to a sport and all the terminology that comes along with it. I know when I first began researching carp fishing gear I had no idea what a bankstick or a rod pod was let alone a buzzbar? This will be a fairly straightforward article on the ins and outs of banksticks. It will also include some extra tips and uses for banksticks besides just holding your rod!

What is a bankstick? Banksticks are extendable poles that are pointed on one end and have a female 3/8” British Standard Fine thread on top. They are driven into the ground and used to hold your rod while fishing. Anglers use them to hold threaded bite alarms and rod rests that cradle their rods.

Long gone are the days of resting your rod upon two flimsy forked sticks. Today’s banksticks come in a variety of sizes and are precisely engineered to be durable yet amazingly light.

Listed below are topics that will delve deeper into the world of banksticks.

Common Features of a Bankstick

  • Tip or Point – The tip or point of a bankstick is usually pointed so they can be driven into the ground easier. I’ve noticed some brands of banksticks come with a spiral screw design on the tip to be screwed into the hard-packed ground.
  • Shaft – Made out of carbon composite or stainless steel material, most banksticks are very durable yet lightweight.
  • Telescoping – Common designs have one pole that slides in and out of another larger diameter pole.
  • Locking Device – Banksticks have either a quick clip or thumbscrew that secures the inner and outer pole at the desired height.
  • Rod Holder or Bite Alarm Seat – A female threaded portion at the top to accommodate bite alarms, butt rests or buzz bars.

How Does a Bankstick Hold Your Fishing Rod?

A bite alarm, rod rest, butt gripper or buzzbar is first threaded onto your bankstick. These are additional pieces of kit you will need for the banksticks to be of use.

Be sure to order these items when you buy your banksticks. I made the mistake of just ordering the banksticks before fully understanding the ins and outs of using them.

What is a Buzzbar for Carp Fishing?

A buzzbar is basically a bar that threads onto a bankstick. It enables a single bankstick to hold 2 or 3 rods. It is a very effective way to fish with multiple rods without the need for a costly rod pod.

Aptly named due to the fact that it holds bite alarms that emitted a buzzing noise when they were first created.

I find buzzbars quite useful when I am fishing an area with very hard soil. I simply thread the buzzbar onto the bankstick and use it as a handle to drive the stick into the ground.

What Size Banksticks Should I Use when Carp Fishing?

Banksticks come in a multitude of sizes. When I ordered my first set of banksticks, I was sure to order some of each size. They are usually sold in pairs, it is best to order multiple sizes for the different situations you will be faced with while carp angling.

The size I use the most is the 12” – 22” range. Most of the time I fish in areas where the grass is groomed. This enables me to set my rods and reels fairly low to the ground to help avoid false indications on my bite alarms from the wind.

Common sizes of extendable banksticks are:

  • 9” – 16”
  • 12” – 22”
  • 18” – 34”
  • 24” – 46”

Banksticks are made up of 2 poles, an inner pole and an outer pole. The outer pole is thicker and pointed on one end that you drive into the ground. The inner pole slides inside of the outer pole in a telescopic fashion, it has a female thread on top that accommodates rod rests and bite alarms. The height of the inner pole can be set via a thumbscrew threaded through the outer pole.

Should I Use Banksticks or a Rod Pod When Carp Fishing?

This is a question that will be answered differently by a lot of carp anglers, it can spark quite the heated debate. In the end, it comes down to personal preference and the conditions you’re faced with.

It depends on the location I’m at as to which I prefer to use.

Banksticks – Some of my fishing spots have thick brush or uneven ground which makes it difficult to set up a bulky rod pod. Locations such as these are where banksticks really shine. They can be placed in narrows between trees or even in the water to avoid obstacles.

Short and tall banksticks can be used in combination to deal with steep slopes. One condition all banksticks require is a surface that is soft like soil, sand or clay.

Rod Pod – I also frequent some urban locations. It is in these areas that a rod pod is my go-to choice. A lot of the ground is cement, asphalt or covered with large boulders, making it impossible to set up banksticks. Large, flat and hard surfaces are ideal for the rod pods’ wide stable base.

If you’re wondering what a rod pod is for carp fishing be sure to check out this Beginners Guide to Carp Fishing Rod Pods.

Carp Angling Tips and Tricks – The Bankstick

  1. Keep Sack Tether – When fishing in tournaments or at night it is very important to keep fish alive in keep sacks while waiting for them to be weighed or photographed in daylight hours. In some cases, it can be hard to find a suitable object to tether the keep sack to shore with. Simply drive a bankstick into the ground near the edge of the water and tether your keep sack to it.
  2. To Hold Your Landing Net Like a Keep Net – If you end up with a doubleheader or need to set up your camera, banksticks can be a handy way of holding your net in the water with a fish in it until you’re ready to deal with it. Place 2 banksticks equipped with butt rests into the lake or river bed near to where you are fishing. In the event of a doubleheader, you can quickly net the fish and set the net handle into the butt rests. The majority of carp landing net handles are of similar size to carp rods so they fit snugly in the butt grippers.
  3. Longer Banksticks Can Double as a Baiting Spoon Handle – I keep the spoon portion of my baiting spoon in my bait bucket with the bait as it is usually dirty. This causes me to oftentimes forget the handle at home! In a pinch, I’ve used my larger banksticks as a handle for the spoon to toss bait. Not ideal but the threads on the spoon are the same as banksticks.
  4. To Hold Your Line Up Out of the Water – I’ve noticed some carp anglers using this tactic when fishing in tournaments. In tournament fishing for carp, you’re normally assigned a peg (predetermined position on shore) that you have to fish from. At some pegs, anglers can be faced with obstacles in front of them such as thick weed, roots or other submerged objects. Crafty carpers use long banksticks positioned out in front of them to hold their line up to avoid obstacles such as these.
  5. They Can Act as a Rod Holder for Other Rods – Here in Canada, we are only allowed to actively fish with 1 rod. I normally have three rods with me on longer sessions. I actively fish with one. My second rod is rigged up and ready to go as a backup. If my line breaks on my main rod, I can quickly cast out my second while I rerig my main. I have a 3rd rod that has a heavier test curve and stronger line for baiting via spod or spomb. Extra banksticks and rod holders or a buzzbar provides storage for my additional rods, keeping them high and dry.
  6. Banksticks as Distance Pegs – Some manufacturers supply pegs for measuring distance while angling. Simply place the pegs in the ground a certain distance apart, for example, 3 meters. Now you can cast out to where you want to fish, secure your line to your reel line clip, reel in, open your bail and wrap line around the pegs until you hit the clip and voila, if you’ve counted properly you can calculate exactly how far out you’re fishing and set your other rods to that distance on the pegs as well. If you don’t want to spend the extra money on special distance pegs simply use two banksticks.
  7. Banksticks as Tent Pegs – Yes, I am a very busy person and many times I forget gear at home when I’m in a rush to get in what little fishing I can! I have even forgotten my tent pegs at home before, luckily I had some spare banksticks to peg my tent down as it got quite windy that evening.