Introduction: PortaReel Portable Fishing Pole

About: Hi I'm Michael! I love all things Science, Engineering, & 3D Printing. If you've enjoyed my work then I've love to hear from you!

This is our originally designed "PortaReel" Portable Fishing Pole! Its the smallest full function fishing rod available, a super useful tool to add to your fishing toolbox!

Features & Benefits:

-Super compact, has the same dimensions as an Altoids tin so you can keep a small tackle-box with it!

-Has a reel lock for storage. Also has an adjustable drag so you can set it up for bobber fishing. Just hook a carabiner around the finger hole and you can hang this device anywhere!

-Ideal for hiking or camping because it can fit into a pocket or on your belt so you can fish anytime without carrying a 6ft rod around!

-Makes a great survival rod or just a backup rod so when you go fishing with your kids you can keep them going while you untangle their main rod(s). ;)

-Can be configured for either left-handed or right-handed use when you string it.

-Also makes for a great Kite Flying Cord Reel.

-Includes a sealed ball bearing for smooth casting, and integrated neodymium magnets to hold the different positions so it will maintain functionality with long term wear or if it gets dirty. Makes a great one of a kind special gift for fisherman of all ages!

-Please see video linked above for casting technique. Line may tangle if not utilized properly. (That is, you must stop the reel with your finger when the lure hits the water to prevent the reel's spinning momentum from unspooling the line. This aspect of the design is what lets us be so small!)

This instructable will show you how to make your own using off the shelf parts and a 3D printer, OR you can buy a fully assembled PortaReel from me here: Buy Assembled PortaReel Here.

Step 1: STL Files + 3D Printing Notes

Attached are the STL Files. You may make this for yourself but please respect the Non-Commercial aspect of the sharing license, which applies even if you edit the STL's.

All parts are positioned in the correct orientation altogether for one single print job.

Included is our custom designed popper fishing lure. It works well enough but honestly fishing lures are cheap enough to buy instead of make unless you are a pro or are really interested. Its surprsingly hard to design a lure that swims well!

Print Settings:

  • Any material (Our preference here)
  • No supports needed
  • 0.4mm Nozzle or slightly larger
  • 0.2mm layer thickness maximum
  • 4 perimeters all sides top & bottom
  • 10% infill minimum

Step 2: Collect Hardware Vitamins

Required Hardware:

QTY 1x: Bearing 608 with double shielding such as this one.

QTY 3x: Screw for Plastic, .375" long No:4 (~3mm dia) linked here.

QTY 1x: Wood dowel rod 6mm Diameter. I recommend the hardware store but they are here as well.

QTY 3x: Neodium Magnets 8mm dia x 3mm thick available here.

QTY 1x: Roll of Fishing Line. We prefer Braided Line 10LB+, such as this one here.

OPTIONAL: The PortaReel pairs well with Uncle Flint's Survival Fishing Kit because it has line & lures and it is the same physical size.


Super Glue- To attach dowel to line loop and to secure magnets into plastic parts.

Scissors to cut fishing line.

Phillips Screwdriver #2 size.

WD-40 or other viscous 'lubricant' (Used to remove grease so bearings will spin fast!)

Step 3: Cut Dowel. Glue Dowel & Magnets.

Cut dowel to 3.75" to make it the same size as the reel. (or longer per your preference)

Super glue the loop onto one end of the dowel.

Arrange the magnets and press them into the parts as shown so that the clip will be attracted to the PortaReel Handle in either of the toggle positions. The design intent is that without the magnets there is nothing retaining the clip in position and it would be annoying. Glue magnets in place and move onto the next steps and let the glue dry for a while.

When the glue drys you will insert the clip into the back of the handle as shown in the pictures. You can use a needle nose pliers to gently squeze the clip to get it started going in. The clip will retain itself and be able to spin 360 degrees once installed.

Step 4: Prepare & Insert Ball Bearing

Most 608 bearings out of the box will come with a heavy greasing that will prevent free unhindered spinning motion. To make your bearing go fast like a fidget spinner first remove one of the bearing seals with a tiny flat screwdriver. Then spray a degreaser or low viscosity lubricant into the bearing. (WD-40 is acceptable, not a great lube but will decrease & prevent rust just fine!)

Re assemble the bearing and wipe the exterior dry. Then insert into reel. (Now is an acceptable time if you want to wrap the line per the pictures, but you can do it later too.) Next press the bearing+ reel onto the handle part. Follow up with the center screw which holds everything together. The center screw acts as a drag, if you tighten it then the reel will resist turning.

The tiny handles attach with their own screws, also dont tighten them down all the way so the handle can spin in place.

Step 5: String the Spool

Notice there are two holes on the outside of the PortaReel that can be strung through. I cast with my right hand so I choose the hole on the same side as the dowel storage. Push your string trhough there and then wrap it around and tie it to the reel. Cut off any excess line then just wind the reel up.

The dowel rod loop has a slit so you can string the line through by slipping it through.

The dowl stores on the side of the PortaReel but to use it you just take it our and press into the center hold on the end of the pole. That hole is a tapered press fit so it should be a robust fit over time, no glue needed.

Step 6: Enjoy!

Enjoy the PortaReel! Its small enough to store pretty much anywhere, I like the car glovebox because then you are ready to fish anytime! Once again you are welcome to copy this build yourself using these instructions, or you can pick up the finished device all at once here.

I've included a bonus video here from my Instagram showing off using this fishing pole with a grappling hook to wrangle a laundry basket

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