I must say, that of all the gizmo’s and gadget’s I have tried over the years, this one totally rocks. Small, light, compact, and it works. Who knew? I got my Fish Pen from my aunt as a gift. I always saw them as more of a novelty item and not something to take serious. However, I decided to take it out for a spin and see if it was actually a functional rod and reel. I hit a small local stream that I knew had a population of wild trout. My set up included the bait caster reel, which I spooled with 8-pound mono. Serious overkill on the line, but it’s what I had on hand at the time. A size 6 bait hook, some night crawlers, and I was fishing.
The stream is small enough that casting is not necessary. I tried to go as basic as I could simply to see if it worked. I floated a worm through several small riffle’s and holes before I got my first fish. A little Brown Trout. Laying it next to the Fish Pen for a picture I realized another bonus, fish look bigger next to this set up.
A few holes later I pulled a slightly bigger Rainbow Trout from a cutout bank. Again, love the size comparisons. I ended it there on a happy note. 2 fish, and new respect for the Fish Pen.
Upsides: extremely light weight, less than 8 ounces, that includes the reel. All tucked away, the Fish Pen is 8 inches long. Fully extended it is 3 feet in length. This makes it pretty much a perfect size to throw in a pocket or a backpack. Good action for a telescoping rod and enough backbone to haul in a decent fish.
Downsides: The bait casting reel is difficult to use if you are unfamiliar with this type of set up. They are prone to backlash and I kept having the line slip around the spool and binding up. The original came with a thumb cast set up which I think for general purposes would be the best reel. Since its inception, tons of knockoffs have been made available and some even come with fly reels or spinning reels.
For what it is, I had a blast trying it out. It is cheaply made, and not designed for every day angling, but not a bad little set up to keep in your glove box, or even your bugout bag. Worst case scenario, you did what I did, you go out and use it occasionally, just for the sake of, why not? There are much worse things you could be doing with your time and money.