We sell a lot of push poles to kayak anglers. Most of them prefer the 6-12 push pole, but there are some cases where the 9-17 will be more suitable for certain anglers.
If you are looking for a push pole to specifically fish the flats your better choice would probably be the longer 9-17 push pole. It will allow you more directional control and give you the ability cover greater areas more efficiently. Also, if you’re poling in deeper water the 9-17 would be better.
There is a difference between poling from the back of a boat or skiff and a kayak. When poling in a kayak you’re usually poling from the center of the vessel. When poling from a boat, you’re typically poling from the back or front. I sight fish and use a push pole out of both a 14 ft kayak. For all around fishing and allowing me the ability to stand up and fish the flats, I prefer the 6-12 push pole. Also, when poling the flats on a kayak, I drop my rudder down just a little bit and turn it a little to the left. (I typically pole from my left side, which tends to propel the kayak to the right.) With the rudder down just a little bit and turned a little to the left, the rudder acts to counter or offset this issue and helps the kayak to track straighter. This minimizes me having to switch the pole from either side of the kayak as often. If your kayak allows this, I think you will find it very beneficial.
In addition, we manufacture a paddle attachment and it opens up your poling options even more by allowing you to pole/paddle the flats like on a stand up paddle board. We will soon be offering an extension for the 6-12. It increases the push poles length to 14′. The neat thing about the extension is it can be attached to our paddle blade on one end and a T-handle on the other and you have a handy little paddle.
If you are looking for a push pole to specifically fish the flats your better choice would probably be the longer 9-17 push pole. It will allow you more directional control and give you the ability cover greater areas more efficiently. however if you’re doing a lot of poling or mostly poling the flats the 9-17 push pole would be advantageous. Also, if you’re poling in deeper water the 9-17 would be better.