Fishing the Schuylkill with a "Mini-Pen" Pocket Rod

Hello again, readers! I'm taking some of my free time today to write, trying to put this blog on date. Hopefully everything is going to end up fine, and the Blog will be totally updated by the end of this weekend. Well...let's jump to the introduction!


One of the biggest frustrations for a fisherman is to travel around with his fishing poles. One needs to be extra careful to not damage the equipment (specially the tip of the rod), and look at the poles constantly. It's really hard to walk around with such a long object without hitting anything (or anyone), specially because people are not used to hold such long objects in their hands. Some people decide to break the fishing rods (cut the line); others decide to just carry it along (with set rig). Whatever the way, it's a fact that carrying fishing rods around requires more attention, and it is not very convenient for a fisherman, specially under certain particular circumstances: when the path is not even and neat (a jungle, for example), when there are lots of people walking around (at the Schuylkill Banks, for example), etc.

That may not be a problem for everybody, though. People that have a car don't suffer that much from this problem. However, for people that use public transportation, it can turn out to be a big mess! Hitting people around with a rod is absolutely not a good idea in USA! After all, nobody wants to get sued, right?

The solution is actually pretty simple: A pocket rod! Of course a pocket rod will never have the same potential of a regular customized rod and reel. However, there are many advantages to it that makes it desirable: (1) it's convenient in terms of space (size). It's small, and fit. A person can literally carry it in his pocket (without reel), or just throw it inside a backpack. The reel consumes a bit of space as well; however, it's very small compared to a regular reel. (2) It's convenient in terms of time. In my case, I can carry it to my college, study, and just go take a break at the river during my college breaks, and relax. My day doesn't really have to be planned "just for fishing". Finally, (3) it's good for back up. If you are ever fishing, and your fishing rod breaks (I hope it doesn't happen to you guys), you have a back up fishing rod that is efficient in its own ways.

Pocket rods are usually expensive, depending on their brands. I bought two of them recently: one that basically has no brand, and another one from Daiwa. The one without brand is smaller and more convenient than the other one. On the other hand, the its quality compared to the Daiwa Pocket set is in a range of 1 to 10, meaning that the Daiwa Pocket set (even though it's a big bigger) is 10 times better than the one without brand. Notice that their prices vary greatly, even though I got a good online deal for both of them (research or Ebay for them). The pictures of the one without brand are below. I'll post the Daiwa Pocket Rod and Reel in a future post.

Almost the size of my hand. It does look like a pen, huh?

The top opens, revealing the rod.

And that's how it ends. I placed a regular bottle of water for size references.

The rod itself is not as good as I expected it to be. However, I must admit that this small pocket rod has enough power to even subdue fish in the ranges of 15-20 lbs, if the drag of the reel is set correctly. The pictures below were taken on a Wednesday (09/28), during my college break. I fished for nearly 2 hours, and ended the day with a small Flathead (which was awesome!), and a BIG catfish that I couldn't get out of the water, hence I didn't have a net (and I was using 6lb line test). Unfortunately, the only object that can be used as a size reference in the catfish picture is a 1oz flat sinker. Sorry about that!

Small Flathead Catfish caught on a Nightcrawler

The big Channel Catfish, caught on a piece of American Eel (fished at the same site)

Notice the size of the 1oz weight

Notice the amount of ripples around the fish.

Trying to fight till the last drop of strength

And he finally surrendered

It was a shame that I couldn't lift this fish up because I lacked my net. However, it fought a lot, and obtained my respect. I hope I can get this fish again someday...

Best luck for all of us!

Long Days and Pleasant Nights,


Leo Sheng


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