Pole Elastic: The Basics

When we start talking about pole fishing, there are loads of different items that spring to mind, many of which might seem confusing to the novice angler……elastics, bushes, bungs, connectors, pull bungs, stora bungs, locking bushes, internal, external, hydro, hollow, solid, latex, dacron, lubricant it just goes on! In this article, we hope to explain about different kinds of elastics, what they’re all about, and when/where to use them!


To fish the pole, you need to thread elastic through the top two or three sections to act as a shock absorber. You can be easily baffled with the wide range of elastics that are available nowadays. Elastics range from a really fine number one ‘knicker elastic’ to really heavy versions of 25+ ‘bull rope’.


Sensas Solid Elastic

Solid elastics were the very first kind on the market, and at one point, were the only elastic available. Many anglers still favour solid elastics for all kinds of fishing. It’s available in all sizes from a number 1 right up to 25. The basic ruling for solid elastic is the bigger the fish, the heavier the elastic, although big fish can still be landed on light elastics. Most companies still manufacture solid elastic, and it’s probably the cheapest kind of elastic that is now available at around £1.99 for 5 metres.


Solid elastic is excellent for ‘small fish’ on natural venues, such as rivers, canals and lakes, where anything from a number 2 to 6 is required. In the very light sizes, 2 and 3, you can get away with threading the elastic though just the top two sections of a match kit. I personally prefer to thread all my elastics through a full match top three, as you can set the elastic a little tighter so its almost ‘pinging’ back into the pole, but the long length of elastic still allows this to be very soft so you don’t bump fish. Also, you stand a much greater chance of landing a larger bonus fish with the elastic through a full top three, as there is a hell of a lot of stretch over this length, therefore you will very rarely get bottomed out and broke, even with light hooklink. This can be a massive advantage on canal matches where you might just hook that match winning chub or big perch on your small fish rig!

Solid elastic also comes into play when fishing for big fish up to snags. In these kinds of situations, you need to hook the fish and pull! Solid elastic through a short section of pole will allow you to drag the fish away and out of the snags, but you will still have some forgivingness in your elastic to stop you ripping the hook out. The short length of elastic will prevent the fish from bolting off into the snag however, as there is only a certain amount of stretch.


Sensas Latex Elastic

Latex is a fairly recent craze with anglers, and is basically untreated solid elastic, in a very natural form, with no dyes or preservatives added to it. This leads to white elastic that is very soft and forgiving, and usually has a little more stretch in it than normal solid elastic. There are several brands of latex now on the market, it’s hard to distinguish the difference between any of them to be honest! Like solid elastic, it’s available from the lightest number 1 right up to a 20.


Many anglers favour latex as it offers a much smoother and more forgiving action than solid elastic, but doesn’t stretch as far as hollow elastic, meaning fish can be landed on the top two or three sections of pole. Latex is a very reasonable price, at around £2.99 for a spool of 5m, another reason for its popularity.

Like solid elastic, latex is used for a variety of fishing. When fishing for tiny fish on canals, a number 1 latex will ensure no fish are bumped, and that they do0nt splash around on the surface, spooking other fish. It is also extensively used in the sizes between 5 and 10 for small carp and f1’s on commercials, especially in winter, when anglers are looking to land everything they hook. Then, there are anglers like Steve Ringer, who have used latex really successfully for catching carp of all sizes from all venues! The softness means it’s great for hooking carp, as they will swim straight out of the swim, but you then have the advantages of solid elastic when you need to get their heads up at the net!

As latex is white in all sizes, it’s a good idea to mark on the actual size so you don’t get them muddled up. In the lighter sizes, you can put say three dots of tip-ex on the tip for a number three, or just write the number neatly on the end of the top kit. If you’re really, really posh, you can even wrap some masking tape around and write the size on that!


Daiwa Hydrolastic

Hydro-elastic was the turning point in pole elastics, and started a new revolution with pole fishing. One of the first anglers to use hydro was Simon Gould, at venues like Gold Valley, up to 12 years ago. Daiwa then started to market the elastic, and first brought out two sizes, white hydro…6-10, and black hydro…12-16. Now, we have a variety of sizes available from Diawa, Blue 5-8, white 6-10, grey 10-14, black 12-16, red 16-20, and brown 20+++.


Hydro elastic is made up of hollow elastic that is soft and very forgiving. There is a really natural soft inner core, which is hollowed out and has liquid lubricant inside, hence the name…Hydro. The liquid helps the elastic to retract back into the pole,  and aids you when playing fish ads you can ‘pump’ the elastic to help it retract, and gives a generally smooth, controllable fish playing action to the elastic.

Another big feature of hydro elastic is its strength and its life span. You will find it incredibly hard to actually break any size of hydro with your hands, and it last absolutely ages! It should last at least a year, even if it’s used extensively. Some people say they have had it last up to three years! Many moan about the price of this elastic…£14.99, but if it’s lasting all that time, you’re probably saving money, as you may change normal elastic 4 times or more in a year!

Hydro has been used on all venues, but it is really suited to commercials. The lighter blue and white sizes are ideal for small carp, f1’s, skimmers and silver fish, you can land just about anything on white hydro! Then the grey has a brilliant reputation for shallow fishing for all sizes of carp. Black hydro is well suited to bigger fish, 5lb and above, as well as margin fishing, and can help you land fish quicker when they’re really having it! Then there’s red hydro, we’re talking proper elastic now, big fish, lumps, margin fishing, getting them out fast. Brown hydro, 20+++ is used extensively by bungee jumpers. Its real powerful stuff. You’re talking hard fighting, big fish, snags, where you need to pull a bit, maybe at places like Drayton. I’ve never used brown, and it’s the most recent addition to the collection, I might take some to Florida with me for my Great White Shark rigs though!

One thing that I have noticed with all the sizes of hydro is that they offer an initial soft strike, even in the bigger sizes, and you very rarely bump a fish off, unless you set the elastic tight.


Preston Hollow Elastic

Many other manufactures have followed suit since the introduction of hydro, producing a wide range of hollow elastics. These don’t contain the liquid solution like that of hydro, but they do offer very similar advantages.


Hollow elastics are available from many leading companies, Maver Dual Core, Drennan Bungee, Middy Hollow, Garbolino, Vespe, Sensas, Preston Hollo, its endless!

Most of these companies elastic range is very similar with three or four sizes available. There is usually a light 5-8 ish size, which is great for general all round fishing, where you’re expecting a mixed catch, small carp, skimmers, silvers etc. It’s great for maggot and chopped worm fishing, as you can land everything you hook thanks to the mega stretch in the elastic. These lighter sizes are also favourable for winter carp fishing, as they allow you to use light 0.10 hookliengths, and still land large carp, which is what you need in winter! Then there’s usually a slightly heavier size, between 8 and 12, which is very popular at places like Lindholme, where f1s and small carp are the target. Preston’s 11 Hollow has been very popular in this range. There’s then a heavier size, suited to average carp fishing, with a bit of beef to it, between a 12 and a 16. Many brands also make a ‘proper’ size, from size 18+, which, like many heavier types of elastic, is suited to big fish and catching lots of them!!!

Lube it up!!!

Lubricating you elastics is a very personal thing. Some don’t do it at all! There are many different kinds of lube available (oooohhhhhh!) from many companies. There are also many non-angling substances that anglers use, diluted hair conditioner, Armorall silicon car cleaner, some even use diluted washing up liquid! I personally don’t think it makes much difference. If you keep your top kits clean, and set your elastics right, you shouldn’t have a problem. A quick pull through the water will help dangling elastic retract.

Setting elastics…

A good starting point to set your elastic at is so that it just goes back into the pole tip without it being too tight, and shooting back in, but not too loose that it hangs out. You can then use a winder bund to lighten or slacken your elastic as needed. A good tip is to pre-stretch your elastic before threading it up. Tie one end to something, and holding the other end stretch all the elastic as far as it will go, until it bottoms out. Then, when you play a big fish, you shouldn’t have the problem of the elastic dangling out, as it has already being stretched to its max, and the elastic should perform to its best.

Playing fish on elastic may seem daunting when you first hook one, but it needn’t be, and like a lot of things, practice makes perfect. I tend to play them the same with any elastic. Lift into the fish, and it will swim out of the swim and probably make a bit of a run. Keep the pole level with the water, until you feel the fish slow down and turn. Point the pole towards the fish, but keep just a slight angle in the elastic to ensure your top kit doesn’t pop off. If the fish starts to bolt again, just stop and follow it back out of you need to. When you get back to your break down point, still keep the pole low, and point the pole directly at the fish. You will feel the fish come towards you. You can then slowly lift the pole and have a go at netting it. If it decides to go again, just drop the pole and repeat the process. You don’t have to land fish fast to have big weights. At the end of the day, if you land every fish you hook, you’re going to have a better weight than if you lose half of what you hook by rushing! It can be really confusing when you start thinking about elastics. There are just so many kinds, makes, sizes and colours out there!

Hopefully, we’ve given you a bit of an idea as to what is out there, and a few pointers to get you on your way. The best thing to do is find a certain elastic for the fishing that you are doing, get out and catch plenty of fish on it, get a feel for how it works, and get yourself confident in it! The best way to look at it is that there are loads of great anglers out there, all of whom have different opinions about elastics, and they are equally successful, so find whats right for you and stick to it!


  1. Anouk van de Belt

    Aug 30, 2008

    Hey Matt!

    Maybe you don’t remember me or maybe you do!
    But to be clear,, I’m Anouk.. That dutch girl from the dutch national fishing team.. U18..
    We were at same hotel last year in belgium … 😉
    remember! yes you do..
    You gave me your email adress for contact and your mobile phone number..
    I tried to get contact but that’s very hard! :p
    So maybe by this way.. 😉
    Would you be so kind and send me an email when you read this!?



  2. Matt

    Sep 07, 2008

    Eyup Anouk!!!! Sorry I havent contacted you, if you get chance, send me a text message on mobile phone and then I will have your number. Also send me your address and I will post you some Fishing magazines (FHM and ZOO), and some photos………. Cheers, Matt.

  3. Anouk

    Sep 08, 2008

    Ey Matt, finally!!

    The problem is,, i lost your phone nmbr..
    So if you can email me your nmbr (please with the code of your country.. )0044 ??);; axiomatic_taste@live.nl
    so ill have your email, which i can then mail my adress to..
    oke, good plan??


  4. Mark

    Jan 24, 2009

    Hi Matt thanks for the info on elastics mate I am new to pole fishing and found it very helpfull got a few of your dvds and yours are the best funy I get as much enjoyment watching someone fishing as doing it myself have a great years fishing bye

  5. dean mcfaul

    Mar 08, 2009

    hi im new to pole fishing.Just a quick 1 my pole says that i can have upto a size 18 elastic so thats what i have put into it but what size line would u use so i can catch carp and what size carp would i be able catch with that hope to hear from u soon many thanks

  6. Mark

    Mar 09, 2009

    Hi my mate uses 8lb to a 6lb hook length and he catches some big carp I think it depends on the size carp your after you can catch any size as long as you play them right hope this helps

  7. dean mcfaul

    Mar 09, 2009

    even though its a 8m carp margin pole i know its small but if i enjoy using the pole im getting a bigger 1 thanks 4 the info hope to hear from u

  8. Mark

    Mar 09, 2009

    Hi 8m is great for margin fishing thats were the big carp are just remember to follow the fish with the pole tip and dont bend the pole to much let the elastic do the worrk and you will be fine enjoy

  9. Alan Cook

    Mar 12, 2009

    Hi Mat, Iv,e fished before but, am now comming 60 havend done much fore the last 15 years, had trouble with hips and unable to fish river banks ore carry tackle. Just got back into It but have to fish lakes or canals and have changed to pole fishing.my question is (what lines and hooklenth do you use to which elestic).I need some guide lines to start me catching again.

    • Kjackro

      Mar 17, 2012

      For  a start there is no-point fishing 12… elastic on canals, you will only bump small fish. I reccomend using a Preston 5 through 1 section, lightly tightened using a winder-bung. Usually fish 0.10 on canal for main-line and as a bottom usually about 0.6 tied to a small size 20 hook, this will house all baits, especially bloodworm and squatts which usually are magic on canals. I will stress again; you must match your elastic strong, with your line, with your bottom and also with your hook! Thanks

  10. dean mcfaul

    Mar 13, 2009

    hi again i have been looking at a browning first choice 8m pole with elastic raiting 18 do u think it would be any good for the bigger carp

  11. Karlee

    Mar 19, 2009

    Simon gould invented Hydrolastic too. – and I named it when I was 14.

  12. Alan Cook

    Mar 20, 2009

    Hi Mat
    as a beginer to pole fishing Iv,e been told that i should use a shorter hook length, especialy fore canal fishing as shop bought one,s are approx 20″. Is this correct?. If so what length do you surgest.

  13. Mark

    Mar 20, 2009

    Hi canals are all about 6ft deep so shop bought rigs are no good unless they say canal rig as for hooklenth its up to you

  14. liam

    Apr 03, 2009

    Hi, i have my pole elasticated through my top two sections. and im fishing a lake that has upto 17lb carp in, which pole elastic would you recommend using ??

    • Kjackro

      Apr 03, 2012

      Sometimes you cant decide what gets onto your hook so you may be catching skimmers and roach on a 6 elastic and a big carp comes along, (11lb), and snaps you. Too stop this from happening I would combine your elastic with a apull bung, which comes out of the end of your top section, which then joins into your 4th section. I would reccomend using 8 elastic combined with a pull bung. Ignore this advice if you are fishing snaggy swims, where a chance of sections broken is 99% against you. In this case, a 13 or 15 hollow will do the bussiness. I must stress again, this I always say! : You must match your elastic strong to the line, bottom and hook size! Bad Example: 4 elastic through 1 section of top kit, 6lb ml, 1.2lb bottom and a size 14 hook… Thanks, hope this helps…… Kyle x

  15. liam

    Apr 03, 2009

    Also what size line would you recommend using?

  16. Mark

    Apr 06, 2009

    Hi I use a 16+ hydro with 8lb to 6lb hook length this gives you a lot of stretch so you can play big fish it will cope with most fish even smaller ones as long as you dont have the elastic to tight hope it helps

  17. andy pandy

    Jun 18, 2009

    if u want to catch the 17lbers use 24-26 elastic to 12lb line and 11lb hook link.

  18. Mike

    Jul 05, 2009

    Hydro elastic by Diawa!

    How do you stop the “liquid” escaping from this type of elastic?

    • Scott

      Dec 03, 2011

      Get a winder bung and tie very neatly:D

  19. mathew

    Jul 07, 2009

    tie aknot in it!


  20. Daz

    Jul 29, 2009

    Hi havent used my pole in a couple of years. its fairly old (10ish years) but still in good nick. Was re elasticated 2-3 years ago. Was wondering if it would need new elastic?

    • Benpreskey

      Mar 15, 2011

      I bought a margin pole 6 years ago. its only been elasticated once with #18. Its still lands big fish without a problem. Its upto you really. I think once a every 2 years is good for pleasure anglers. But its not needed half as much as most people say.


    Sep 02, 2009

    Hi there . can you help me. am trying to find a place where i can buy a milo jacket , am after the one with the MILO logo on the back . many tks, dave uk

  22. harry read

    Sep 06, 2009

    hi pal, im soon entering a match at my local fishery and wondering what size elastic to put on my new pole. ill be fishing for mostly carp about 3-8lb. its a 8m pole and would “shop bought” rigs be okay? Most thanks.

  23. Michael Edwards

    Sep 12, 2009

    I have just bought a 13m orion 1300 pole, it has a match top three section and three power sections. What size and what type of elastic whould you recomend. I am a plesure angler mostly fishing in a small lake with carp up to 24lbs with bream, roach and perch. thanks

    • Sfarrll58

      Feb 27, 2012

      matc kit pink  or light blue hydro or 6to 8 hollow if you cant afford hydro powers black hydro white hydro and red hydro or hollow 10 to 12 14 to 16 and 20 plus

  24. james

    Jun 23, 2010

    hi mark/ anybody that can help 🙂 i have a garbolino match pole its 6m 4 sections, bottom 2 glass fiber, top 2 carbon,
    im presuming its a margin pole (thats what ive been using it as) its quite a thick diamiter at the tip will fit up to 20 elastic.
    now my question is i hear you talking about elasticating the top 2 sections,
    now with my pole its near on impossible as the cone size on the second section is bigger than most bungs,
    will it be just as affective elasticating the top section only?
    my local fishing pond is no deeper than 5ft if that makes a difference but the carp fight like hell i mean more than any other pond i have been to

    thanx for any advice …..james

  25. mark

    Aug 20, 2010

    eighteen elastic is fine for a margin pole, if you are fishing next to or in the reeds the stronger elastic allows you to take control of the fish and steer it away from making runs into the reeds and snags, however choose the fishery to use the pole at wisely as if there are plenty of smaller fish you will bump them but is a very effective way of fishing if large carp are actively feeding.

  26. mark

    Aug 20, 2010

    i always use no longer than 15 cm try but try it at the fisheries you fish i fish preston 0.16 onto 0.12 bottom

  27. B Miller

    Mar 07, 2011

    i have just bought a 3m edge slammer with elastic not sure how to set the line to the elastic with float and hook

    • Kjackro

      Mar 17, 2012

      You will need to attach a connector, either a stonfo, dacron or crows-foot. The will easily attach the line to the elastic; via a connector. My perosonal fav are stonfo, very simple and I dont see a point in changing anything tht works; like a lot of people hve done from changing eith stonfo’s or crows-foots’s to a newer dacron.
      Then your float comes down from the loop in the main-line, then it is down to your shotting pattern, then a loop-to-loop hooklength to a bottom line and finally down to your hook.
      On hooks, I prefer eyed hooks and usually either size 18 or 20, thanks for looking! x

  28. Andy_magpie_watson

    May 22, 2011

    if using solid latex elastic, what size should i use for carp upto 6lb 

  29. Loisty01

    Jun 18, 2011

    hi  am mark i have just bought a shakespeare 5 mtr pole and it has two top bits with it the one has elastic in it and the other has an eye and i want to replace the both with stronger elastic can you please recommend the right  elastic to put in to them i was thinking of about a size ten as i will be using them for carp on a canal and in ponds when i go on holidays  thanks mark 

  30. Iamfat52

    Sep 17, 2011

    i live in ct what carp bait works the best??????

    • Iamfat52

      Sep 17, 2011

      probably corn

  31. SAM

    Dec 11, 2011

    number 6 yellow preston innovations slip elastic with puller bung great!

  32. Francis Forden

    Aug 10, 2012

    I just bought a new 9.5 m pole . What the best all round elastic I can buy

  33. steve

    Aug 21, 2012

    What size lactic is a size is a no 18 in pounds and how do u work out numbers to pounds.

  34. Corine Ballintyn

    Jul 03, 2014

    Awesome stuff 🙂


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