It's hard to write anything about a
product with the name "Stiffy" without the reader's mind
going off on a tangent about some obscene gesture of the
male human anatomy. Well, to those who want to have a
bit of fun here, enjoy, but I want to tell you about a
push pole that I have been using in the field
professionally for 10 months now.
Updated 8/22/04 I have had this push pole since the fall
of 02' Fishing an average of 200 trips per year with my
flats boat and using my Stiffy push pole every day. I
have done NOTHING to it, it has not broken, cracked or
peeled. Lately I am noticing a bit of fiberglass in my
arm after a long day of poling. As far as I am concerned
this push pole owes me no favors. Before my Stiffy I was
in the market for push poles every 6 months.
I found out about Stiffy through a good guide friend of
mine, Vaughn Cochran. He told me that there was nothing
better. Now, I got to tell ya, in push poles that leaves
a ton of conquered area. First, I am pushing a larger
skiff than most and I am twice the size of most guides
on the water, so I can be very demanding of a stick. I
decided to take Vaughn's recommendation and try one out
myself to see how long it would last.
My guiding requires that I pole for 6 hours on an 8 hour
day. Permit is my specialty and we all know that poling
is required to catch these critters. So, comfort,
weight, power, bend, and staking are all things that I
have to consider in my selection of a push pole.
My comparisons are with G-Loomis, Scott, Hybrid
technologies, and Biscayne, none of which lasted longer
than 6 months without failure of some sort. No need to
go into details as these are fine push poles and may
fair well on smaller, less demanding flats applications;
but in my "real world" of flats fishing, day in and day
out, rain or shine blowing 25 or flat calm and silent
they just did not cut the mustard. Below is a list of
things that have gone wrong with these others.
Delaminating- just plain coming unraveled.
Breakage- well, it happens.
Splinters- I hate that, gets all in your arms and makes
you miserable. Happens from staking out and the sand
wearing through outer layers of glass or graphite.
Feral failure- Leakage or worse yet coming apart.
Foot failure- pushing for a fish and foot just breaks.
The Stiffy handles my boat great. I have the hybrid 24
ft, really long by most standards, but I like to have
the push behind me, not below me. Keep in mind I am also
in a 20 ft boat, so the length is easy to stow.
High points of the Stiffy 24 Hybrid are many.
Ribbed design- the wraps that make the pole so strong
are the same thing that (after I got accustomed to it) I
love about my stick. There is no slippage. I do wear
gloves to keep my hands in one piece. I have found that
these ribs allow me to use whatever force I need to make
an adjustment to my boat's attitude without concern of
my hands slipping. I recommend that new poles are
lightly sanded at the last 4 ft to give better traction.
It's hard enough to keep a grip on a tough bottom
without worrying about your hands slipping. I also find
the ribs help me stake out and hold the bottom better
with less depth of pole in the ground.
Stiffness- I just chuckle here. It is stiff till it
needs to flex to prevent breakage. I have been in some
indescribable poling conditions and just stuffed this
stick in the ground to stake out. Damn near got pulled
off the platform. Poling, this stick (once you get used
to it) will take all your energy and put it to
maneuvering, not into an energy sapping flex.
Weight- May be a little heavier (ounces) than the
competitors', but it's also thicker, fitting in the hand
better. It's much stronger and it will not fail. Now
there's a trade off.
Price- Very competitive with other manufacturers for
what I feel is a better product.
Because it is very stiff I have had a hard time keeping
pole holders from bending to the push pole while stored.
I have replaced three sets so far. Not even close to
being a consideration; just thought I would mention it
as I had to say something in this section of the review.
In closing, I have found the Stiffy push pole to be a
vital part of my success on the flats. It out performs
the best names in the industry with strength and
reliability at a great value. It's not cheap, but
neither is quality.
Updated 7/8/12. Stiffy is the greatest push pole out
there. Its the only Push Pole I have used in 12 years.