An avid AA reader writes: “Since you’re always on the cutting edge of everything, are Cabela’s Panfish Poles still your favorite noosing implement, or has something better shown up on the market?” Indeed, this reporter is still a fan of said product. Light, collapsing to pocket size, and cheap, these are the real deal for anole wrangling. Extendable to 10’ to 14’, they are suited for all but the most arboreal of anoles. Though a bit fragile—it’s easy to break the most distal segment—their low price more than compensates; just bring a few to the field and you’ll be fine (note added in press: a quick look at their website shows the price has gone up! Not quite as cheap as in the old days). Warning: although they’re tough enough for most anoles, if you swing a good sized crown-giant out of tree, you’ll probably snap off the end of the pole (and then have an infuriated anole with a noose and pole tip around its neck to contend with). Still, all-in-all, this is the best on the market. Anyone care to differ?
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The only disadvantage I have found with the telescoping Cabela Panfish Poles is that they must be completely extended, or they will collapse on themselves. This can be rather nerve-racking in the field.
The 10-ft length is most useful. The 14-ft length is a bit unwieldy, as the smallest hand movement at one end translates into an uncontrollable, bouncing tip that makes it difficult to use a noose. If you can’t get closer to your quarry than 14 ft, you might as well let it go–or shoot it.
I’ve been using Cabela’s telescoping panfish poles to catch anoles for almost 20 years now. Sooner or later the thin terminal segment will indeed snap: typically when attempting to pull a large anole from its perch. Moreover, the tiny eyelet on the terminal segment of the rod (which seems to have gotten smaller over the years… or my eyes have become worse…) is very difficult to thread and can become detached. To overcome these problems, my colleagues and I first remove the thin terminal segment of the rod. Next we hot glue a piece of a cable tie, bent into an arc, to the end of the new terminal segment. Last, we place a sleeve of shrink tubing around the end of the segment and heat shrink it to the rod, leaving the cable tie eyelet exposed. In the field, you can substitute super glue and electrical tape for the hot glue and shrink tubing. Either way, the new eyelet is unbreakable and easy to thread, and the rod is sturdy enough to handle the crown giants.
I agree with Jonathan that Cabela’s telescoping panfish poles are ideal for noosing anoles. I’ve been using them since about 1988. The poles are available in three maximum lengths: 10′, 12′ and 14′. All collapse to about 15″ and all currently sell for $24.99. All come in a plastic container with a cloth sleeve for the pole. One of the advantages of these poles is that you don’t have to run them all of the way out to maximum length, so you can extend only enough of the sections to get where you want to go. As Jonathan notes, the terminal section is very thin and easily broken, if not by the weight of an anole when it is “yanked” off its perch, but by hitting nearby twigs or branches. This is fairly easily avoided in the newer models. The base of the grip can be unscrewed, allowing the multiple sections to drop out. You can remove the terminal section (which I would recommend in any case), or the terminal section and one or more of the sections that are behind it when the pole is extended, and affix your noose to the tip of the new terminal section. The sections you remove should be saved; they are easy to re-insert. Be sure to tie the noose on in a way that won’t allow it to slip off the tip of the pole when you noose a lizard (or a twig). I use a little black electrical tape to accomplish this. I’ve used these nooses to catch Anolis equestris, A. garmani, some fairly bulky Leiocephalus and even a snake or two that was otherwise out of reach. Finally, an advantage of these poles is that to remove the lizard, unlike most 10′ – 14′ poles, you won’t have to put the pole down or have an assistant; you just retract the pole until the lizard is within reach. NOTE: these poles often do not appear in the Cabela’s print catalog. They can be found online at the Cabela’s web site (http://www.cabelas.com) by search for “panfish poles.”
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