Carp rod support systems – the pros & cons

While writing the recent post on carp fishing tackle Icons, I touched on the fact that a battery of parallel rods has become synonymous with carp angling over the years. I got to think about modern carp fishing rod support systems and their pros and cons. A practical, efficient and stable system is essential for good bite indication and thus to catching more fish.  In days gone by as a boy my advanced rod support system was the bank itself. When I got a run I’d have to grab the rod as it shot down the canal tow path and before it ended up in the drink. Things have moved on since then…

Banks Sticks:

For years Bank Sticks were the only game in town. I used the first Gardner Tackle version that were available in the 70’s and 80’s right up to my current set of Solar Stainless steel sticks.


  • They are totally stable if you can get them in the ground.
  • You can point them directly at where you are fishing and thus have more efficient bite indication.
  • They are relatively cheap and compact to carry to the lake. Mine fit in a Fishrite Buzzer pouch with my buzzers and hangers.


  • As I pointed out in the first point above, you have to be able to get them in the ground. If the ground on your peg is hard or made of concrete (as on some canals and rivers) you can’t use a bank stick easily. Sometimes a small mallet can cure this problem but not always especially in summer when the sun has baked the ground solid.
  • You do have to buy six or eight of them, depending on the number of rods.


Carp buzz barsBuzz Bars:

An invention that I first started using in the 80’s and allows you to have two or three rods on a single bank stick. The buzzers are screwed in and usually left permanently in place, and a central screw thread allows you to attach them to the bank sticks.


  • Keeps your buzzers and visual indicators permanently ready for quick and easy use on arrival at the swim.
  • Rods are set at equal distances and look pretty cool like that…(Who mentioned Tackle Tarts…????)
  • Cuts down on the number of bank sticks you need to buy and carry.


  • Similar problem to the individual sticks, you have to have a bank side soft enough to allow their use.
  • The system in not particularly steady if you don’t plant your sticks firmly in the ground…
  • Often when one rod gets a take it makes the whole set up wobble, setting off all your alarms.
  • These buzz bars also have a habit of rotating and dumping all your rods on the floor. Various devices were invented to prevent the bank sticks from turning but were not always very effective.
  • You can’t point your rods where you are fishing, which causes angles in the line and depending on this angle can affect the efficiency of your bite indication.


Carp snag bar set upSnag or Stake out bars:

A Buzz bars system with screw thread at each extremity allowing you to attach a pair of bank sticks thus giving a far more steady set up. This system is a great improvement on the centrally screwed threaded buzz bares, and is one I still use occasionally.


  • As I said this gives you a very steady set up and the double bank sticks means they can’t rotate.
  • Their inherent steadiness pretty much eliminates the wobble that sets off you alarms together.


  • Well once again you still have to have a bank soft enough to get the sticks in. The harder this job is, the harder it becomes to set them up properly. Getting the system parallel back and front can be awkward.


Carp rod podRod Pods:

The rod pod was I believe invested by Gardner Tackle. The first ones were crude affairs, but since then there have been a huge array of weird and wonderful pods. There are some excellent ones and some frankly atrocious contraptions. I’ll admit here I don’t like pods, but often the are a necessary evil, so I do carry one to a venue where I can’t use my bank sticks. The better designs like the Fox X Pods etc. now use a snag bars set up with a cross shaped central support. These give useful and versatile set ups and would be my choice if I had to get a new pod today.


  • Quick and easy to use, they hold all your rods together on a hard surface where planting a bank stick is not possible. I’ve often fished the Seine where the banks are concrete at the edge and it’s impossible without a pod.


  • The early ones had problems with the buzz bars turning. Various companies like Solar have devised version that prevent this.
  • All your rods have to be parallel, which as I have said already is not the ideal way to set them up. I prefer pointing my rod where it’s fishing.
  • Once again with a violent take the whole pod wobbles and sets off all the alarms.
  • Some are less than stable with three rods on and I’ve seen a few go over. They can be pinned down with tent pegs though.
  • The better ones are costly items a Solar Globetrotter for example costs well over £200.


Tripod system Rod Pods:

Anyone who has fished in France will have seen these massive stainless tripod contraptions, set up two feet of so off the ground. If ever there was a useless and expensive waste of money this is it. They have to be the most hideous invention in carp angling. I’ve always found carping kind of hip and cool… paired rods, matt black, camo, carbon fibre etc are all nifty parts of it… but these aberrations just kill things stone dead.


  • Well I guess they do get over the problem of hard or concrete banks. (that’s about the only pro I can think of!!)


  • Well tripods are not very stable at the best of times. Add to this a three or more often four buzz bars set up, two feet of the ground and you’re asking for trouble. I’ve seen these somersault on more than one occasion when the angler gets a fast and violent take.
  • They are pig ugly
  • They are also big heavy and awkward to carry. The bags they come in are huge.
  • Most resemble Meccano kits to set up with so many pieces.
  • They cost a fortune, the bigger ones costing over £400. Now you can get a lot of bank sticks for this amount of money, or a lot of gear that will actually catch you some fish.
  • Oh and did I mention how ugly they are???


2 thoughts on “Carp rod support systems – the pros & cons

  1. John Jones says:

    Well… yes when it comes to fishing for carp if you want the best catch then you need to get the right gear. Fishing takes time and patience because you have set yourself up for a battle of whit’s and cunning you will need to fight for the prize. The right bait and line taken at the right depth weighted by the correct sinkers attached to a rod suitable to catch the king of fresh water fish.

    The carp is a magnificent creature and was originally from Europe but was introduced to north American rivers some considerable time ago, by the time the USA had the carp it was already long established in Europe where the eating of the carp was common place.

    This fantastic fish can be very large so choosing your rod and line is important and you need to know what you can expect in the river of choice for that day. Setting up a comfortable space where time and river can pass you by waiting for your catch to take the bait. A lazy day where peace and quiet invade your mind, giving, for many what the sport of fishing is all about the time and space to live and breath. Even when the weather is not so kind, providing you have the correct protective clothing and a warm flask of tea the delight of the day is in the resting while listening to the rain hitting the umbrella yet leaving you warm, dry and mindful of others not so lucky.

    Mostly choosing a new carp fishing rod depends on the age of the buyer and how much it costs but is best viewed as an investment adding the years of careful contemplation and use means the better rod is usually the higher priced.

    The quality is a good guide to how easy and reliably the rod will perform and over the years will become a friend and part of your fishing experience. The choice of rods is vast and you can spend many hours contemplating which one offers the best value take your time, take advice from other fishermen but whatever you do take time to read online reports.

  2. Hugh Schkok says:

    I have a rod pod but have lost two legs. They are approx. 12″ long and pointed at the end the other end inserts into a female socket on the pod and can be adjusted or lock in my a grip on the pod. Do you have any such items? Also I am looking for an attachment of sorts that can be screwed the a vertical pole with a female threaded fixing so that I am able to settle my rod and place the line over the bite alarm without fear of falling in the water. I am disabled and so almost all of my equipment must be at a safe distance from the water. Last but not least I also need a sliding (visual) indicator that can pick up the slack line and give a visual indication a second or two before the bait alarm kicks off. This allows me time to snuff out my fat boy, screw the top on my whiskey bottle and brace for impact.

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