Ugly Stick fishing poles, made by the Shakespeare fishing company, are available in a wide variety of strengths and sizes. Anglers can use them in both fresh water and salt water, for fish ranging in size from sunfish to tuna. Ugly Stick rods can handle bait cast, spin cast and spinning reels, and are available in one- and two-piece models. But no matter the specific Ugly Stick anglers choose to use, they must assemble the rod before they can go fishing.
Insert the piece of the fishing rod that includes the tip to the piece of the fishing rod that includes the butt, if the Ugly Stick is a two-piece model. Line up the guides, which are the circular objects that run the entire length of the rod except for the handle.
Attach a fishing reel to the Ugly Stick. If the rod has a trigger that hangs beneath the handle, it is best suited for a bait cast or spin cast reel. If there is no trigger, it is best suited to a spinning reel. Before deciding on a reel, make sure the reel and the rod can handle the same line sizes. That information is written on the side of Ugly Sticks, and on the box in which the reel came. Some reels also have that information written on their spools.
Spool fishing line onto the rod and reel. Thread the line through all line guides, beginning with the rod tip, and then wrap the line twice around the spool of the reel. Tie a knot to connect the line to the spool. Reel clockwise to add line to the spool. Stop when the line is 1/4 of an inch below the top of the spool. Cut the line 15 to 20 inches beyond the tip of the rod.
Attach a hook and weight to the fishing line if you plan to fish live bait with the Ugly Stick. Tie the hook to the line with a Palomar knot, and crimp two to three split-shot weights on the fishing line 8 to 10 inches above the hook.
Attach a snap swivel to the fishing line if you plan to fish with artificial baits. A snap swivel allows you to change baits without cutting the fishing line. If you prefer to tie your line directly to the bait, do so with a Palomar knot.
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