Looking for a push pole is harder than you think. When I first began my search, I thought it was simple: pick a material, a length, and then pick a price range. Unfortunately, there is a lot more to it than that. Push poles are now made from carbon fiber, fiberglass, composites, and hybrid materials. And as you go along, they can get upwards of $600-800 in price for a top of the line push pole. There are many options to choose from, but in the ‘mid-range’ there is not much selection. I consider the mid-range to be about $300-$400 for a light-material 16-18′ push pole. I call it the mid-range because you can get a 14′ fiberglass push pole for around $180, and you can get a 21′ carbon fiber or graphite push pole for about $800.
Enter the Carbon Marine Mangrove series. The mangrove series of push poles from Carbon Marine is meant to be their ‘basic’ series. Here is the description from their website:
Carbon Marine Mangrove (Basic): this push-pole is a carbon fiber, sectional push-pole assembled with 12″ ferrules using an assembly process we designed to guarantee extremely strong and sealed joints. This unit is available in lengths from 10′ to 19’6″. The Carbon Marine Mangrove is perfect for recreational anglers or anglers with small skiffs that want a quality push-pole, but who do not spend long hours on the flats poling. This pole has a shark-skin like texture with a unique orientation that insures you have maximum grip as you thrust using the tip or the foot. The Carbon Marine Mangrove weighs 4lbs, 11 oz at 19’6″ in length (or 3.84 ounces per foot). Prices start at $349 for a 19’6″ foot Carbon Marine Mangrove with free delivery to anywhere in the State of Florida.
Now, at the end there it also states they start at $349 which is incorrect since the 17′ is only $300. I will assume they haven’t updated that portion of the website yet to reflect this newer (shorter) model.
A 14-18′ push pole should be good for any 12-16′ skiff such as a Gheenoe or smaller technical poling skiff such as the Ankona ShadowCast.
I placed my order on a Sunday night for the 17′ Mangrove Basic and had the pole in my hands by the following Friday. Carbon Marine offers free shipping of a fully assembled pole, not by UPS or FedEx, but by a personal delivery by the company! When I called and spoke to the owner about delivery times and he told me that, I was amazed. He stated that the poles are delivered during normal delivery routes ‘on the way’ to ensure they are delivered undamaged and in one piece.
I opted to have mine delivered in pieces and ‘half assembled’ so I could have it sooner for the weekend. I received the pole in four prepped sections with the feet already attached to both ends. The kit came with the two part epoxy mix and all of the necessary instructions to complete the assembly, all I had to do was mix the glue and put the pieces together after applying it.
The pieces fit together nicely for the most part, my section marked ‘2’ did not fit flush together (shown left) and left a 1-2mm gap in the connection joint. I’m a perfectionist so this annoys me a little, but since I opted to piece it together myself I will not be complaining (whether it is a fault of mine or of the companies).
Out on the Flats
I used the push pole over the weekend for four hours at a time, and it was very impressive. The flex was moderate and the weight was negligible. My old fiberglass Stiffy is no match for this new Carbon Marine Mangrove push pole. I would get fatigued after a few hours out with the fiberglass pole, not so with this new carbon fiber pole. I had easily poled a few miles each day without issue and I even pushed my skiff through 4-5″ of grass where I needed to really lean on the pole. It held up each and every time.
Carbon Marine was great to deal with and very responsive. The initial order email, as well as follow-up emails were answered very quickly and were very informative. The owner was quick to answer phone calls and offered great advice when speaking with me over the phone. Since my timeline was so short to receive the pole, they worked with me to ship the incomplete pole and kept me updated during each part of the process.
The Carbon Marine Mangrove (Basic) push pole is a great addition to your skiff. It is sturdy, flexible, and lightweight. For the mid-range class of push poles this is an easy winner and won’t break the bank. Carbon Marine also offers a premium push pole which has received plenty of great accolades across the web as well, and is also priced well under competitors offerings.