This is a question that is often asked and there are many different answers depending on who you ask.
My answer: If the pole elastic is kept in a dark place, away from the sunlight, and isn’t used every week in fishing matches then there’s no reason why it won’t last a few years.
Where is it stored?
It’s very important to keep your pole elastics stored in a dark cool place when you are not fishing. This way, they are less likely to be interfered with by the elements. Somewhere in a shed or garage that’s away from the damp and sunlight is perfect.
Also, some people store their elastics under tension. If you are using kits where you keep your rigs on then you may want to think about how much tension the elastic is under. If it’s under tension 24/7 in the garage then this is bound to affect how long it lasts when compared to elastic that isn’t under tension.
Do elastics in pulla kits wear out faster?
Yes, there’s no doubt that elastics in these kinds of kids when compared to elastics in a match kit will definitely wear out faster as they are doing a lot more stretching.
Do some people change it each year?
There are many match anglers who are out on the bank 2 or 3 times a week pole fishing in matches where they are catching in excess of 100lb of fish at each time. This, of course, puts a lot more strain on elastic than the casual angler who gets out at the weekend or a few times a month.
Most match anglers will change their elastic at the end of each fishing season. Whether or not the elastic has worn out I just think it’s a confidence thing. Confidence can play a big part in fishing and if you are unsure whether pulling on that elastic a bit more is going to cause it to snap then it’s worth changing it for peace of mind.
Inspect it each time you go fishing
As you are setting up, just give it a quick check over and make sure it’s looking good. If you notice it’s looking a bit frayed then change it for the next time you go fishing.
The crucial places to inspect it for wear and tear are right at either end near the dacron connector and near the pulla or bung.
Some people will cut the ends of the elastic back a bit and retie the connector end where the line connects and then the side puller end and put the bead back on. I have had to do this in the past as the pole elastic loses its elasticity over time.
How much does changing pole elastics cost?
If a match angler has 10 top kits and each elastic pack costs £10 then that’s £100 a year on elastics. Changing elastic can cost a lot of money but it can be done on the cheap if you buy in bulk.
Is it worth carrying a spare in your tackle box?
I always have 1 spare that’s a mid-range elastic. This means that if one breaks, I can quickly put this one. It’s not ideal having to elasticate a pole at the side of a lake as I prefer to sort that in my garage but it saves me from losing the use of a top kit.
Do hollows last longer?
From what I can find out online, people say that hollow elastics will last longer than solid elastics.
What about lubricant, will that help the pole elastic last longer?
Lubricant on the elastic will not do it any harm and in theory, can only help it move through the top kits that bit easier.
Another way is to dip the pole tip in the water. You will see a lot of fishermen do this and then stretch the elastic and redip it in the water. It’s cheaper than lubricant and can’t do any harm.