Introduction: Pocket-Sized Fishing Rod and Reel

Picture of Pocket-Sized Fishing Rod and Reel

I love to go fishing, it is fun, and it can be very exciting; one can go fishing with a group of friends or the family. Whether you are camping, or just on a day trip, fishing is a great way to pass the time. As Doug Larson said, "If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles."
However, conventional fishing poles are long, fragile, and hard to carry, or otherwise transport. This Instructable will show you how to construct a fishing pole, complete with a reel, that will fit nicely in your pocket. You can keep it handy, and go fishing any time water is nearby.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
These are the materials you will need for your fishing pole:

  • A Telescoping Radio Antenna - This will be used for the pole part of the pole
  • A Pen - One of the cheap kind you get for free at hotels or wherever
  • A Small Binder Clip - The smallest one you can find that will clip over the barrel of the pen
  • Three Very Small Washers - Again, smaller is better
  • Some Thin Wire - The length is not important, this will be used just to attach stuff
  • One Thin Bolt - This should be as long as the distance between the handles on the binder clip and thin enough to fit through the holes in the...
  • Four Medium Sized Washers - Large enough to cover the round parts on the top of each binder clip handle
  • Two Nuts - Square nuts are better than hex nuts, but hex nuts will work fine. These must screw onto the bolt.
  • One Small Nail - Any short, fairly thick piece of metal will work, however
  • Super Glue - Obviously, this is used to attach things
  • Hot Melt Glue - This is used to attach parts to other parts as well
  • Fishing Line - A very critical part for any fishing pole
  • A Swivel - A small, rotating metal clip used to attach the hook
  • A Hook - Used to catch the fish
  • Optional: A Worm

If this list is a tiny bit confusing, take a look at the pictures , they are worth 1000 words each.

Step 2: Handle/Reel Mount

Picture of Handle/Reel Mount

The pen will be used as the handle for your pole, and the reel will be attached to it as well. However, it is not necessary to write on the fish you will be catching, so remove the tip, ink tube and cap. Simply take off the cap and pull the tip until it pops out of the body of the pen. If it is a little stubborn, use a pliers. The only part we are interested in is the bigger tube.

Step 3: Attaching the Pole to the Handle

Picture of Attaching the Pole to the Handle

Now we are going to glue the antenna inside the body of the pen. First, stand the pen body vertically in a vice or clamp with the open end up. Second, inject some hot glue into the tube and quickly push the antenna into the tube. Next, put some additional hot glue at the opening of the tube to ensure that the antenna is securely held in place. Last, get rid of all those extremely annoying hot glue spider webs.

Step 4: Attaching the Line Guides

Picture of Attaching the Line Guides

If you take a look at a regularly sized fishing pole, you should notice that the fishing line is guided from the reel at one end of the pole, to the opposite end, by several metal circles through which the line passes. The three very small washers will serve as these rings on our Pocket-sized Fishing Pole. This step is a bit tricky - you will wish you had significantly more than just two hands.
First, put a section of wire through the washer and fold the wire in half so that the washer is in the bottom of the V shape formed. Second, twist the wire tightly to hold the washer in place. Third, use the two straight ends of the wire to wrap around the antenna and the washer to hold the washer in place atop the pole. Finally, put some super glue on this joint to permanently attach the washer - Be very careful not to permanently attach yourself to anything. Repeat this step for the other two washers. Attach one washer to the end of each section of the antenna.

Step 5: Constructing the Reel

Picture of Constructing the Reel

First of all, congratulations on making it this far. If you successfully completed that last step, it is all downhill from here.

I find that for most projects, it is good and highly beneficial to start with a big picture. Otherwise, building our Pocket-sized Fishing Reel would be a bit like doing a puzzle without the picture on the box. So, I have included a picture of the finished reel on each of the next few steps, so you will know what you are working towards.
First, get the binder clip and two of the medium washers. Lay one of the washers flat on a table and position the binder clip over it so that the hole in the washer is centered in the wider top part of the binder clip. Use either super glue or hot glue to attach these two pieces together. Once the glue has dried, repeat this procedure on the opposite side of the binder clip.

Step 6: Construction the Reel

Picture of Construction the Reel

Now, we will put the bolt into the reel, the bold will act as a spool for the fishing line. We will also use the remaining two medium washers to further guide the line. First, put the binder clip onto the pen body by squeezing the handles; this way, the two washers we attached in the last step are parallel. Put the bolt through the first attached washer, slide both of the unattached medium washers onto the bolt and push the bolt through the other side of the binder clip. Then, screw on one of the nuts to make sure all your hard work is not destroyed by gravity or sabotaged by fish.

Step 7: The Handle

Picture of The Handle

This step is as easy. Bend the small nail in half. Use hot glue to attach one side to the second nut. Once the glue is dry, screw it on the bolt. That is it.

Step 8: Gluing

Picture of Gluing
In this step you will attach various pieces together with glue:

  • Glue the binder clip handles to the black body of the clip so that the handles will not move. Either hot glue or super glue will work for this task.
  • Glue the two loose washers to the bolt so that neither touch the binder clip handles. Do not put them too close however, because the space between them will be used to wrap the fishing line around. I suggest applying super glue to the bold and sliding the washer onto the glue.
  • Apply some extra hot glue to the bent nail. This will both reinforce this important, and heavily tested, joint and fasten the two nuts together.
  • Glue the two nuts to the bolt so that they do not twist off while you are reeling in a giant fish.

Step 9: Rigging the Pole

Picture of Rigging the Pole

A fishing pole is not much good without fishing line and a hook. Take out your fishing line and tie one end around the bold, between the inner two washers. There is no special knot for this, just tie a regular double knot. Pass the line under the bolt and out towards the pole end of the rod. Then, holding the line between your thumb and forefinger of one hand, use the other hand to spin the handle clockwise until there is a good amount of line on the reel.

Step 10: Rigging the Pole

Picture of Rigging the Pole
Now that you have fishing line on the reel, pass the free end of the fishing line through all of the small washers and tie it to the swivel using a Palomar Knot. If you do not know how to tie a Palomar Knot, watch this video I made:
The song in the movie is Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin.
To the swivel, you can attach pretty much anything: snelled hooks, lures, spinners or even a fern if you so desire. With luck, a fish will subsequently attach itself to one of those objects.

Step 11: There, You Are Done

Picture of There, You Are Done

Congratulations on building your very own Pocket-sized Fishing Rod and Reel. Thank you for reading this Instructable. Now to fishing already!


pdroog (author)2016-02-22

Very well-written and photographed. I wish all Instructables were this well-done. Thanks for taking the time to do a great job!

sculptur (author)2011-07-22

istead of hot glue or super glue wouldnt jb weld be much stronger and last longer?

AustinZ1 (author)sculptur2015-02-01

Do you weld because if you did you would know that welders would not be low enough of a voltage and it would just burn through the thin metal

Calis (author)AustinZ12015-07-24

JB Weld is an epoxy.

deweerdr20 (author)2015-07-08

i think i will stay with my

Shimano Curado I Series Reel/Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite Micro Rod Baitcast Combo
Survivorkidjr (author)2014-08-17

Great idea I would put small hooks and sinkers in sided the pen too. How about that?

meador1 (author)2014-07-28

how far do u put the antenna in the pen

Fish Nerd (author)2012-06-16

I love this concept, I fish for minnows all the time and this would be perfect for that!

freeza36 (author)Fish Nerd2012-07-29

How do you fish for minnows? Whenever I go camping I see plenty of small fish (.5 to 3 inches) that would make great bait.

Fish Nerd (author)freeza362012-07-30

Super small hooks #20 and small bait super easy

freeza36 (author)Fish Nerd2012-07-30

Ok thanks I will have to try that.

bubba j (author)freeza362014-02-12

I know this is old, but they also sell bait catching rigs called sabikis that are basically around 10 small flies tied on thin mono, those work well for salt and freshwater.

Nate230 (author)2013-06-08

Very good instructable. I trailed it off of a canoe and landed two small fish.

freeza36 (author)2012-07-29

Have you caught anything with this?

Akask (author)2011-08-02

Why can't you just glue the washer to the pole?

otheradam (author)Akask2012-06-14

Glue on its own probably won't be strong enough because these washers will bear the tension of reeling in your fish.

bass pro (author)2012-02-11

This is a great tutorial. Easy to follow and a clear step by step instructions. Thanks.

doublequick (author)2011-08-21

a stronger antenna can be procured by going to the junk yard and buying one from a junked car

yaly (author)2011-08-06

Did anyone catch any fish if yes please pm me so i can make one to use when at the north coast there is a fishing treasure there.

vektor (author)2011-06-07

One question. When reeling, the bolt turns but it does not remain in one place. it moves to one side and stops once it comes in contact with the side of the clip. Please explain what i have done wrong and correct me.

yaly (author)vektor2011-08-06

you need two more nuts to secure the two bolts that were glued together between them or/and add glue.

Gawane88 (author)vektor2011-06-18

thanks so much!
I'll see if i can find radio shack.
thanks again!

Arc Trooper 5555 (author)2011-01-01

I made my own version using the pen ink cartridge instead of a radio antenna.

CaseBoy (author)Arc Trooper 55552011-06-29

wouldn't the rod be very short

i actally think thats a smarter idea

Gawane88 (author)2011-05-29

Whare do you get the radio antenna?

cool fishing rod though.

trainz222 (author)Gawane882011-06-04

Radio shack, but if you cant find a single one buy a cheap or second hand radio and screw off the antenna

Gawane88 (author)trainz2222011-06-18

thanks so much!

I'll see if I can find radio shack but if i cant just buy a cheap hand radio like you said.thanks again though!

xadevox (author)2010-02-19

How do you cast?

phanjonathanm (author)xadevox2010-07-29

im guessing you just puul it out and throw it O.o

thats what she said

bruleyer (author)2011-03-20

well i was just wondering have u actually tried this wont the antena bend

aeray (author)2010-12-19

I think you should make an 'able just about the palomar knot itself. It is extremely strong, little-known and underutilized. I use it when fishing for steelhead and sturgeon.

McGyver2 (author)2010-11-12

Excellent Idea with this. Although I am against editing this one myself with just about everything, would it be prehaps possible to use many diferent sizes of PVC pipe for extra strength, yet still being portable?

Robot Lover (author)2010-07-23

I think this is a great idea but, I think that the line would snap because of the threads on the screw that holds the reel together

pogoman12345 (author)2010-04-25

this is pretty cool but there is already a mini pen fishing rod with telescoping rod and fully functional reel, but im sure that you already knew about it (Hint: its made by coleman)

northernmagnet (author)2010-03-18

 ok so couldent i just use one of the teloscopc pens (sorry for my spelling)
and find a way to make a reel?

11richie21 (author)2010-03-07

 lol u can make this in an office and fishing for fish in your desk aquarium jk that would be messed

The_DonuT (author)2010-01-29

I made a simular mini rod and it works gr8 , thx for the idea

zipzapper859 (author)2010-01-17

how far did you push the antenna in

pdub77 (author)2010-01-15

Do so.  I will be all ears.  (so to speak.)

Lokisgodhi (author)2009-11-18

 They used to make low end fishing rods out of telescoping steel and aluminum back in the 1930-40s, so there's no problem with this concept.

I think that using actual guides and wrapping and epoxying them on the antenna would greatly improve this. Cut off the tip and replace it with an actual rod tip that fits the end's diameter. Then hot melt glue it and wrap it as well. That's what's done on real rods.

The reel needs a serious redesign.

Maybe a threaded insert in the end of the handle so you can screw in a threaded piece of steel with an L bend. Mount a spool made out of an old small diameter sewing thread thread with two body washers epoxied on to the ends.  Make sure it's in line with the guides.

minhazwaris (author)2009-11-01

 how can you cast?

pdub77 (author)2009-07-14

Not to be negative, but wouldn't a fish of any decent size bend the antenna?

mo5 (author)pdub772009-09-27

unless your fishing for minnos

browncar (author)pdub772009-07-19

yeah I was thinking of a design for a fishing pole myself and thought the same thing that an antenna wouldn't work too well. Maybe a dowel rod or metal rod would be better.

pdub77 (author)browncar2009-07-20

How about some telescoping bamboo? Not sure where to get something like that other than making it, but bamboo is strong and can be made to telescope. Obviously we've all seen bamboo poles before so this isn't new. If you can't get pieces that will telescope maybe just some pieces that will fit together and when broken down attached together with some rubber bands or a velcro cable wrap. Just one thought.

browncar (author)pdub772009-07-20

Yeah I was thinking dowel rods with metal ends that would screw together. I just haven't thought of the pieces yet entirely . But bamboo would work if you could find the pieces like your describing . It would be lightweight.

okieman (author)2009-09-27

great idea, however as an avid fisherman, one major flaw exists. the telescoping antenna is mostly rigid, one good fish and it would be the end of the telescoping piece. so we should come up with something with a little more "give" and then well all be catching pocket fish. lol thanx

tomtheweirdo (author)2009-09-14

How do you cast? (if possible)

About This Instructable




Bio: Hello, my name is Toglefritz. That’s obviously not my real name; my real name is Scott, but on the Internet I use the nom ... More »
More by Toglefritz:Meeseeks Box Wireless IoT ControllerVisualize Bluetooth in a Long Exposure PhotoBOSEbuild Wall Mount
Add instructable to: