Teleprobe for micros

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kernel j
Teleprobe for micros


Thinking Kernel Jackass had a bad day of backcasts and took out the resultant frustration on a poor flyrod, aren't ya?  Not so, it was an old rod (shelf build) and I never really used it anymore so it falls under the "rod reincarnation clause".  Within the RRC some out-of-commission blanks become plant supports, some reamers, some just get plain weird.  This one falls into the last category.



Those yellow words on the choice sections work as implied once they're slid up one another creating a telescopic rod. Takes a bit of thread or thin coat of glue to get the proper "snugging" for slipout prevention, but it's doable and since it's a minnow stick it needn't be over the top on structural integrity.  Just enough build-up to hold the sections in place reliably, we're talkin' light lines and tiny hooks here so the stresses will be light during use.  The overlap/underlap is about 1" on the tip section, a bit more on the butt.



If one pursues this idea, here's what I learned thus far (and I'm bound to learn more).

1.  The tip is easy, just cut to the length you want.  

2.  Careful on section 2, slide the tip in to estimate and make cuts conservatively.  Error toward the narrower end, cut too far down and you'll never get the necessary size hole that holds the tip in place.  You can always trim back an inch or so to get larger for proper fit, but go too far and ya F'd it all up.

3.  A sharp razor can roll cut through a blank nicely, especially the tip sections.  Dremel wheels are a great option as well, but patience in cutting is the best ally with either technique.

4.  Clean the cuts well when assessing fit, a small amount of material on the inner rim can trick one into thinking the hole is too small.  Look down it with a little flashlight, make sure all is clean before deciding to cut again.  


Here's some shots of the teleprobe with a bit of description.


Aside from the main telescopic idea, a few features I wanted to include in the build to see how they work.




Tip is an Aberdeen shank & eye, handle tie is a smaller hookshank.  I like the tip eye + handle eye combo for it allows easy "shortening" of the working line, if one wants only 15" out from the tip for rock probing, simply pull some line in.  Such a system should prevent tip pull-out in an "unexpectedly large" hook-up as well for it doesn't tie direct, but runs through the tip eye.   By unsnugging the rod sections and rotating, the line can be wrapped around the rod blank where it keeps close and tight underwater (seen in pic).  Without wrapping current will pull on the line between the tie-in and tip, fast becoming a source of onstream pissed-offedness.  The rod sections needn't be turned at all if the line is pulled in and wrapped around the handle, just spin the handle and snug the line in the forward line keeper when the desired length is reached. This process wraps the line around the rod blank automatically as it's done.  One might have to play with a telescopic rod to understand what I'm saying here, for now trust me that it works this way.  It IS a strange concept to turn about in the mind, I discovered some features accidentally when testing onstream.  



Below is a collage of vid captures, the yellow arrow indicates how the rod unpacks/unravels for quick deployment.  Kinda like one of those old tops where a string is pulled and it spins on the floor.  The Teleprobe must be pulled a bit slower, it too spins and can jump out of the hand at high speeds.  Once unwrapped, a flick of the wrist gets the sections out and ready to be snugged/rotated as described above.  




The upper right photo is me taking a Shiner pic, teleprobe is tucked into my pocket while I hold the fish and take the snapshot.  Found the collapsable nature of this rod to be nice for fish handling, especially if one is working with 1'-2' of line out the tip.  A 3' rod with 1' of line out and a hooked fish is kinda awkward when standing midstream, just not enough line to work with and nowhere to set the rod when tending to the catch.  Collapsing the rod down a section or two once the fish is in hand buys and extra foot or two of line out the tip for ease of handling, hook removal, and photos.  Coluld probably even hold the rod in one's mouth, though I prefer pockets.



Here's a couple pics to show the teleprobe's intended function, it's a "wet rod" used with no floats or weights.  Depth is achieved using the current to pull the line down to the depth of the rod tip.  Works well and has good presentational precision at close ranges downstream (you can put it on their nose).  About 60" of 2/10 PP in all, attached at the butt eye and run through the tip with 12" of 6X fluoro to the hook.  Fishes anywhere from 1'-3' out from the tip.  Could be longer with more line, this is just what I have been using and it seems a manageable amount to wrap/unwrap.



Slow water test.  Follow the bankline at my head level and note the Canadian Pep Club cheering me on.  Or maybe they were bitchin' at me, hard to tell with geese.  


In a bit faster water below, I noticed the rod tends to have a "wiggle" when submerged in stronger current.  Not surprising, most sticks do this when poked into faster stream currents.  What did surprise me was that despite the vibration, I could still detect bites from the shiners even though the intent was mostly site fishing.  Encouraging!




This next one is not just a gratuitous Redhorse pic from the videos I made that day, it also serves the purpose of showing the the environment that spawned the notion of a packable teleprobe.  You see the fish, but note the tree over my right shoulder...Mother Nature's Rod Rack!  Perfect place to set down the main rod and switch to micro fishing tackle, the water in this stretch is filled with River Darters and other species most summers, something I notice when standing midstream fishing for Redhorse.  This is largely the situation and use I'm trying to build for, it's gotta be quick and handy while not getting in the way when not being used.  Teleprobe is actually in my side parka pocket in the below pic, you just can't see it. 




Now, about that butt...



Went with a removable butt for the handle as it's essential here, both for tending to ferrule fit over time as well as draining/drying the rod after a day's use.  The wacky color scheme?  I hate looking for things on gravel bars and it seems like anything I set down sprouts legs and wanders off to hide.  Not much need to take it completely off while on the water, but I like to error on the safe side.  Believe me, I tested this color scheme in many environments and it's damn hard to lose.  Ugly in form, beautiful in function.


Idea at the handle/butt joint is to combine removable necessity with the additional function of a hook keeper, the tiny hooks are something of a problem in this area of fishing.  Hence the "snub-butt" hook keeper idea seen in this pic...


Yes, I's supposed to be a hook keeper, not a baited hook/fly/rind crusher.  But that's how things roll when out on the water and if I want to switch from micro/teleprobe to Redhorse/main rod I see no reason to de-bait.  Baiting a hook this small is a PITA and the small sections of worm are remarkably tough so why not leave 'em on?  Onward to the part where this junction is improved or refined to reflect realistic use.  Thus far, I'm thinking something along these lines would be more practical...




Used orange foam and blue marker for the pic to show form better, it's obviously not sized right for the rod but you get the idea.  Outer ring of foam would still hold the tippet well without damage while providing a nice cavity for the baited hook/fly/rind one might be using.  May build a second butt for this rod to see how it works.


Beyond that, here's some notions in pictorial form and text for a second build.  Essentially, theoretical improvements which occurred to me while fishing with it.




***The teleprobe is born of a St. Croix Imperial, one of their "slash rods" of old and listed as a 4/5.  A teleprobe built from a 2wt or similar could be really interesting.  Much lighter and possibly more sensitive although I can't speak for the actual feasibility of making rods that size functionally telescopic.  No idea of what the inner diameters and blank walls are like for these purposes.  Anyone have experience?


***Nice as cork is to work with, this rod calls for some EVA rings in places.  They'd compress nicely under the line clips and if the line snugging fit got loose, a bit of thumbnail pressure would bend the wire into the foam enough to rectify the problem.  Cork is nice for bite detection so two rings up front is good, but cork's too hard and slick for line winding.  EVA's grip is better and it's slight compressibility would push-out against the wraps keeping everything neat and tidy.  


***On the main handle end ring (butt junction), EVA seems like it would be a bit kinder to the tippet compared to the cork/thin foam currently there.  Hasn't been a problem for damage or kinkage, but a softer material (slightly contoured) would be prudent.


If the rod project seen above looks like a quick mishmash of ideas thrown together in a day...well, you're very perceptive!  It's exactly that, an idea that came when rooting through "closet flyrods" one winter day in search of a lost glove.   Can't recall, think I used CA glue for the wraps and definitely some pretty crummy cork for the handle.  For the most part, a notion put to rough form mainly to see if it worked and now how it'll hold up under use.  Never found the lost glove.


Not an end all/be all idea for microrods, but a nice niche tool for streams.  More or less a "throw in the pocket" rod that's always there, but never in the way when not being used.  Any suggestions or ideas welcome, this is my first micro build.  First tele, too, so any tips from those experienced in this area would be greatly appreciated for my next build.  Never used EVA rings for a main handle, very open to suggestions or discussion there especially.  Brands?  Suppliers?  Hard?  Soft?


Thanks in advance for any pointers pertaining to this experiment.









Gunnar's picture
Very cool idea. I've been

Very cool idea. I've been thinking a lot about telescopic rods lately, though not to this degree. I do have some broken rod pieces laying around...

Great: another way to get sidetracked!


Redhorse ID cheatsheets, gars, suckers:

2019: 5 days fishing 6 species 3 lifers. 2018: 39/40/5 2017: 49/52/14

Hengelaar's picture
I love this site/brotherhood so much.

This is some of the weirdest sh!t I've ever seen.

In a good way.


The shots of you in the water, stirring that thing around, are priceless.

Fishn sure is neat

atenkley's picture
Kind of a maneuverable micro down rigger!

I'm admittedly new to all this and must say I had never even conceived of pursuing the micros in this fashion....and then a specially conceived and designed tool to accomplish it! Ingenious!  - Arlan

....visit  .....those other fish

kernel j
Gunnar, I think you should

Gunnar, I think you should start playing with the broken pieces even if it does sidetrack you.  Then there'll be two of us and we'll sort it all out in half the time.  It's hard to find info on how to make telescopic rods on the web, seems like a "figure it out yourself" kind of project.  

Hengelaar says...

The shots of you in the water, stirring that thing around, are priceless.


Yeah, I got a good laugh out of the pics when I looked at them, too.  The whole experience of watching oneself fishing on video is pretty amusing, never again will I puzzle over the strange looks I get sometimes.  Mined the vids for a few frames to use as pics and deleted them, now I wish I would've saved them just for kicks.  



Arlan, the notion of this approach took root quite by accident while waiting for takes and passing the time looking at the streambed.  Lots of micro opportunities!  Been busy the last week out on the water taking  a "second look" at what I had waded past for two decades and not noticed, micro is a whole different POV on habitat and potential.  Learned a great deal this past week, both of the fish and the techniques needed to address them.  


Tested out some of the improvements (larger cavity in handle, extra clip) and like how they worked.  Few other potential ideas to play with as well, some of the Darter haunts are simple looking but the currents there are wicked complex and vary with the individual structures themselves.  Tricky presentations, really cool fish, great reason for new experimental tackle.  


It's surprising how long a hooked Green Caddis larva will stay lively in the larger handle cavity.  One hardy morsel of free bait.  I like this feature...


Eric Kol
Eric Kol's picture
Great post.

Great post.


JoshK and I were devising a related type of micro rig recently....... knowing Josh it is near production..... this rig is also a "probe" type but hollow with the line fed through the rod, with enough line as needed passing out the tip. 

Carpy Diem!

kernel j
Love to see it!

I like that idea, had an ice fishing rod in my youth which was a 2-piece tele and the line fed through the rod as you mention.  It actually had a really cool little inline reel on the end with a handle that flipped out and turned a basic spool.  You've probably seen these in the past or even owned one...about 24" extended, cork handle/plastic inline reel, brown fiberglass rod with a rough surface.  

It would be the perfect probe, but I doubt they make them anymore.  The little rod kept popping into my head while I was building the second teleprobe I have now.  A company called "InnerRods" or something like that tried full size sticks and I'd imagine they are still around.  Had a nice tip for the concept, don't know if one can buy the tip by itself.  

Nice to see others taking steps in this direction, it's fertile ground to have some fun on.  



Jknuth's picture
I was actually half joking

I was actually half joking about using a 1" tube then attaching a ball to the end of the line through the tube. The mouth of the tube would have a wide funnel shape and the ball would sit about 3" below the baited hook. This way when you set the hook and pulled in the line the fish would go up the funnel and get blocked in by the ball. 
The fish would be trapped in the tube. 

kingfisher's picture
You say you deleted the video

You say you deleted the video?  If not it would be great to see some more micro-fishing videos on youtube.  Your rig is far more advanced than anything I have used.  All I have tried is a 10' plus crappie rod that is a bit reckless for taming the line and hook.  When I collapse the rod I let the weighted line drop inside the pole and hope for the best.