All In the Angles

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For the proper balance of stealth and power, Upshaw stresses diagonal over vertical.

“Putting the tip of the pole out at a farther distance gives you more stability,” he said. “I never hold my push pole straight up an down. Keeping the pole at a 45-degree angle, it’s not going to drag or scrape bottom; it will let you push back into the places you need to reach really quietly.

“It’s one thing to hold yourself in position with the pole straight up and down, but when a push pole is straight up and down you don’t have any control (for movement).”

And don’t think that a push pole is only for pushing. One of Upshaw’s tricks for silent and targeted movements is to reach in front of the boat with the pole at a 45 and actually pull himself on track.