A Simple Pole
A pole is one of the simplest fishing tools. It can be made of cane, fiberglass, or graphite, and it comes in a wide variety of lengths and actions for various kinds of fishing. Many of the fiberglass and graphite models telescope into themselves to make transport easier. Some cane poles also break down into two or more pieces joined with a ferrule.
Pick a pole that is the right action and length for your fishing. An extremely light pole is good for panfish (that's a fish usually cooked whole) like bream and small cats. You'll need a heavier pole for crappie, bass, and bigger catfish. If you fish around saltwater jetties with a pole you will need a fairly heavy one for the stronger fish found there.
Choose a pole that is the right length, too. A longer pole gives you the ability to place your bait farther away, but it's also heavier and harder to handle. Pick one that you can easily hold up while waiting for a bite. If it is too long it will be tiring and you won't want to use it.
Poles aren't used much for fishing anymore but still work well in many situations. They're great for beginners and kids, and help you learn to fish. And the fight of a panfish on a pole is hard to beat with any other kind of rod.