1. Buy the lightest pole you can afford. Less weight means less effort and fewer sore muscles.
2. If your boat has a poling platform, an 18to 21-foot pole is fine for water 5 feet or shallower. If you fish deeper water, opt for a 23- or 24-footer. A longer pole allows more hand-overhand propulsion without picking the pole back up, reducing both effort and noise.
3. Thinner is better. A smaller diameter creates less drag in the water, also reducing the effort and the noise.
4. A pole with some flex helps slingshot the boat forward in shallow water.
5. A stiffer pole is often considered better for deeper water of 5 feet or more.