The 10 Best Pen Fishing Rods for 2023: An Updated Buyer’s Guide

Pen rods are compact rods that you can take with you anywhere. These collapsible rods can fold to the size of a pen (thus the name).

Most of the time, people keep one with them when they are traveling as a backup rod to fish just in case they can’t rent fishing gear.

It’s essential to understand the benefits and limitations of these rods. In this guide, we’ll cover which ones we think you should consider and go into further details.

Here are some of the best pen fishing rods that can give you hours of enjoyment out on the water:

10 Best Pen Fishing Rods Reviewed and Updated

1. Lixada Pen Fishing Rod Reel Combo

Best Pen Fishing Rod

Pen Fishing Rod Reel Combo Set Premium Mini Pocket Collapsible Fishing Pole Kit Telescopic Fishing Rod + Spinning Reel Combo Kit 1M / 1.4M
  • HIGH QUALITY MATERIAL: High hardness FRP fishing rod,…
  • DESIGNED FOR PROFESSIONAL ANGLERS: Metal ceramic conductor…
  • LIGHTWEIGHT & DURABLE & CONVENIENT: Can be freely matched…

This tiny but mighty pen fishing rod is made of glass steel fiber and is strong enough to tackle aggressive and stubborn fish without breaking. A mere 9.8 oz in weight, the Lixada rod and reel can be transported easily and can collapse to fit the length of any pocket.

Plus, it works well in both salt and freshwater making it ideal for fishing hobbyists. It has a 4.3:1 gear ratio and is resistant to corrosion. 

This pen fishing rod has been known to bend under strain, so we cannot say the materials it is made from are the best you can expect. 

It’s one of the best cheap fishing rods you can get for beginners who have never held a rod in their life. It’s also perfect if you want to teach your kids how to fish. 

2. Portable Pen Fishing Rod Reel Combo For Kids

Best Pen Fishing Rod Reel Combo for Kids

Fullgaden Portable Pen Reel Combo for Kids,39 Inch Mini Travel Pocket Rod Set,Telescopic Aluminum Alloy Fishing Pole, Purple
  • ☺Lightweight and portable, easy to handle. Great for…
  • ☺Aluminum alloy reel includes forward and reverse ratchet…
  • ☺You can enjoy your fishing time anywhere anytime, with…

Kids can get intimidated by big fishing rods. The Portable Pen Fishing Rod Reel Combo is perfect for tiny hands and jittery nerves. Made from aluminum alloy, this easy-to-use fishing rod can be used in a dam, a boat, on ice, and onshore.

The telescoping fishing pole is made from a flexible material and is available in a range of colors. Since it is made specifically for kids, the fishing reel and rod are not strong enough to have a significant impact, so don’t tell your kids they can catch a big fish with it.

On the other hand, this lightweight rod has everything that they will encounter when they graduate to the big rod and reel. Think of it as a training fishing rod and reel they can experiment with.

3. Zswell Mini Portable Pocket Fish Rod Pen

Best Aluminum Pen Fishing Rod

zswell Mini Portable Pocket Fish Rod Pen Aluminum Alloy Fishing Rod Pole Reel Combos + Reel Aluminum Alloy + Fishing Line + Soft Lures Set
  • Fully equipped with a pen fishing rod, a fishing reel, 25m…
  • Pen-sized fishing rod is extendable, perfect for situations…
  • High-hardness aluminum alloy brass fishing reel with forward…

Made from durable yet lightweight aluminum alloy and fiberglass, the Zswell Mini pen rod can fit easily in a glove box and backpack without sticking out. The reel of this pen rod attaches between 2 grooves in the body, and it contains durable tackle.

Take it with you hiking, camping, or fishing with the kids, and see their eyes light up with joy as they cast alongside you. Like most kid-friendly pen rods, this one is also quite fragile and can break easily if it is used irresponsibly. Chances are you will have to buy new ones after every trip.

What we really liked about this fishing rod was the lanyard, so your kids won’t lose it quickly during play. It can also be hung on backpacks, which makes it ideal for hiking trips. 

4. MultiOutools Pen Fishing Pole

Best Pen Ice Fishing Rod

MultiOutools Pen Fishing Poles 38 Inch Mini Pocket Fishing Rod and Reel Combos Travel Fishing Rod Set, Fishing Gear for Ice Fly Fishing Sea Saltwater Freshwater, Spincast Reel and Fishing Rod Combo
  • Pen-sized fishing pole >>> This pen fishing pole is very…
  • Wide use fishing rod >>> Suitable for saltwater and…
  • Fishing rod and reel combo >>> Comes with a delicate box,…

Perfect as a Christmas and birthday gift for kids, this mini fishing pen rod comes in an attractive, delicate box and is a mere 7.87 inches in length. Made from fiber aluminum alloy and just 60 grams in weight, this compact fishing rod and reel can fit in a glove box easily. It is so lightweight that even a toddler can use it without keeling over! 

However, don’t expect that you can reel in big fish with this. Like most pen rods, it is not sturdy enough to reel in a big catch, even if you do manage to hook one. 

Even though it is available in several colors, the black one stood out to us because of its sheen and cool looks.

5. Docooler Fishing Rod Mini Fishing Pole

The Docooler fishing rod and reel combo makes the perfect gift and the ideal tool when a giant fishing rod proves to be a hindrance rather than a help. The reel is made from aluminum alloy, and it includes both reverse and a forward ratchet stop, as well as drag control.

This mini rod and reel combo are just 55 grams in weight with a close length of 23cm and an extended length of 96.2 cm. Unlike full-size and professional fishing rods, the Docoolwer mini pen rod cannot be used to catch wild or large fish, and large lures will only bend it out of proportion.

You WILL disappoint your kids if you tell them otherwise, no matter how enthusiastic they are about the gift. However, what we liked about the Docooler was that it was perfect for baitcasting and provided a sturdy grip for tiny hands. 

6. Elemart ActionEliters Portable Fishing Rod Pole and Reel

ActionEliters Pen Fishing Rod and Reel Combo Set Telescopic Mini Pocket Fishing Pole Kit with Spinning Reel Combo Kit
  • ActionEliters fishing rod made of high quality and durable…
  • Fishing Reel: Mini spinning reel with fishing line, 4.3:1…
  • Pen pocket collapsible fishing pole, mini-sized fishing set,…

If you have adventurous kids who love to explore during fishing trips, they need the Elemart ActionEliters Portable Fishing Rod Pole and Reel. This pen rod can be used as the ideal birthday gift.

A modest 38 inches in length, it comes complete with two fishing buoys, two baits, two hooks, and 20 meters of fish wire for an entire fishing pack. Made from aluminum alloy, the reel includes reverse and forward ratchet stops as well as drag control, making it the perfect fishing rod for novices.

We didn’t like that the pen rod didn’t have a line to guide the line onto the reel. We had to guide the line with our fingers to prevent it from spooling up in one spot.

What we loved about this pen rod was the fact that it comes with an inbuilt compass and a whistle. This makes it perfect for adventurous kids who like to explore fishing holes on their own so parents can breathe a sigh of relief. 

7. G Ganen 38-inch Mini Portable Pocket Aluminum Alloy Fishing Rod Pen

G Ganen 38inch Mini Portable Pocket Aluminum Alloy Fishing Rod Pen Great Gift (Black)
  • Fishing anytime anywhere with this world smallest fishing…
  • Pocket size, Portable, easy to handle. Great for fishing…
  • Aluminum alloy reel includes forward and reverse ratchet…

Pen fishing rods were designed not only to be portable but also functional enough to give novice anglers a chance to improve their skills. The G Ganene mini rod and reel combo do this splendidly well, and its features have a lot to do with its effectiveness.

This pocket-sized pen rod is a joy for collectors because of its attractive appearance and is made from durable aluminum alloy for long-lasting performance. 

The mini fishing rod does not cast as well as it should though, so you will just have to allow the water to take the bait along instead.

However, it reels in quite smoothly as long as you equip a fishing line that doesn’t weigh as much. 

8. HDE Pocket Size Pen Shaped Collapsible Fishing Rod

This aluminum alloy reel and rod is fun-size and perfect for beginners who want to familiarize themselves with fishing basics without splurging on expensive gear. It is also ideal for expert anglers who do not have space for bulky equipment during a trip.

The telescoping fishing pen rod extends from 8 inches to 3.5 feet in length when pulled out, giving it sufficient flexibility, and it comes with fundamental standards of the standard fishing rod.

The pen fishing rod and pole weigh a pound barely at most because it is made of aluminum, but that doesn’t give it any favors in terms of durability. 

Despite its small size, we loved how sturdy this rod and spinning reel combo was. This is owed to a solid brass casting reel and sturdy plastic reel housing. It’s also easy to figure out and available in gorgeous black.

9. Freehawk Portable Telescopic Mini Pen Fishing Rod

FREEHAWK® Portable Telescopic Mini Pen Fishing Rod Mini Aluminum Pocket Pen Carbon Fiber Fishing Pole Travel Fishing Rod Pocket Sea Rods ISO Fishing Rods + 2000 Spinning Fishing Reel (Black)
  • Perfect Fishing Rod – Ideal gift for fishing from a boat, a…
  • Color – Silver, Blue, Red, black and gold; Closed length of…
  • Easy Operation – It is very convenient to use by drawing off…

The perfect gift for family members who would love to fish but have never held a fishing rod in their life, the Freehawk mini pen fishing rod and reel, is a mere 65 grams in weight. It’s the perfect backpacking fishing rod.

The portable pen design is compact enough to fit into a backpack, a pocket, and even the glove box in a car without sticking out. The closed length of the spinning reel and rod is a mere 8.27 inches, and the extended period is an impressive 1 meter! It has a 5.1:1 gear ratio and a line spooling capacity of over 90 m. 

However, the fact that it is quite lightweight makes the rod susceptible to damage, and some users have claimed that it breaks easily. This includes the body of the reel, which is quite weak. 

We liked the ceramic eyelets on this beautiful pen rod. These are made of imported steel ceramic pigtail coil that protects the fishing line. 

10. Sougayilang Fishing Rod Combo

Best Telescopic Rod Kit

Sougayilang Fishing Rod Combos with Telescopic Fishing Pole Spinning Reels Fishing Carrier Bag for Travel Saltwater Freshwater Fishing-1.8M/5.91FT
  • Fishing rod reel combos with carrier bag and nessary…
  • The Rod:high density carbon fiber mixed with fiberglass make…
  • The Reel: This reel has 13 + 1 corrosion resistant smooth…

Last but not least, the Sougayiland Fishing Rod and reel combo are one of the best pen fishing rods beginners can use to perfect their skills. Ideal for catching freshwater bass, trout, and salmon, it is made of carbon fiber that is mixed with fiberglass to make it strong and durable.

The aluminum spool boasts a hollow frame design and is lightweight to ensure lasting performance. The spinning reel has a perfect mesh drive gear, and precision machined pinion gear to handle powerful fish with ease. 

The eyelets of this pen fishing rod could have been stronger in our estimate, but they feel kind of weak.

However, we fell in love with the beautiful black leather case this combo came in. That is what makes it the perfect Father’s Day gift for sure! It’s ideal for a wide range of anglers, and it is quite sensitive. 

What is a Pen Fishing Rod?

A pen fishing rod is a compact rod encased in a pen case, typically used by beginners and for pan fishing. Considered to be the world’s smallest fishing rods, these can extend to just a couple of feet at most, are super light in terms of weight, and can fit into a pocket easily.

These mini fishing rods are a great way to take advantage of unexpected fishing opportunities. Because of the range of colors they are available in (such as black and silver), these fishing rods are often collected as novelty items. However, you cannot fish using just this rod.

First, you need to extend the rod and attach the reel before sliding it into the tabs and positioning it in place. Good pen rods are made from carbon fiber but aren’t on the cheaper side.

If you are a beginner, you should go with ones that come with an aluminum alloy reel that is easy to use and is not heavy on the pocket.

How to Pick the Best Pen Fishing Rod

Best pen fishing rods
You can catch a wide variety of fish on a small pen rod. Source: JW

There are numerously accessible to-use pen fishing rods in the market, but which one should you choose? The product you end up buying should fulfill specific requirements. 

Picking the Best Rod

Most pen fishing rods are made from fiberglass and do not break easily if maintained regularly. However, the length and weight will determine how durable it remains with regular use.

A basic product should be at least 4 feet in length. Any more than that, and its weight will increase. Heavier carbon fiber rods, on the other hand, can last longer and withstand more abuse in comparison.

Picking the Best Reel

The fishing reel of pen fishing rods is designed to accommodate the fishing line on a spool, just like in standard rods. The reel may or may not be included with the rod you buy, and if it isn’t, make sure you get a size that suits the product. If the reel is too small, it can detach easily, and if it is too big, it won’t fit right. 

There are four types of reels you can get for a pen rod:

  1. Baitcasting reel – This style of reel is popular for bass fishing and for anglers who are planning to make a lot of casts throughout the day.
  2. Fly reel – You can use this reel if you buy a micro fly rod. This setup will be a challenge as a shorter rod makes it harder to cast.
  3. Spinning reel – This style of reel reduces the chance of tangling your line as anglers often do with baitcasting reels.
  4. Spin-cast reel – This fishing reel is ideal for beginners because it comes with a button that releases the line. 

Proper Fishing Line

The fishing line for these compact rods comes with a spool that can be of different lengths. Usually, these can withstand a 4-pound test. A 75-foot line can handle over 5 lbs in weight, so you can catch medium-sized fish easily. A good rule of thumb is to remember that the more elastic the line is, the stronger it is. 

How to Properly Maintain a Telescoping Fishing Rod

Whether your fishing rod has an aluminum alloy reel or is a simple one, you need to maintain it properly so it doesn’t fail you when you are fishing. A grungy rod can compromise drag control, which will put a damper on your day.

You are running water over it after every use is not enough. Clean off the residue using soapy water, a cloth, and a sponge, and give the rod a good rub down. This is especially important for telescoping rods, which can get a buildup of fish scales and algae over time.

Plus, make sure you also pay attention to the guides when you are cleaning. Use Q-tips soaked in soapy water to clean those inside and out. Once a year, give your fishing rod a deep clean by taking it apart so you can clean out the nooks and crannies.

This is the best and easy way to ensure that it doesn’t ever get stuck. Don’t place your rod on the ground when you are fishing so that you don’t have to clean it for a while deep, at least. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are collapsible fishing rods any good?

Collapsible fishing rods such as the ones mentioned in the list are suitable for beginners rather than veteran anglers. That’s because the compact rods are made from fragile materials that can break under pressure, but they have basic features that a novice can use for easy practice.
However, there are some that experienced anglers can find useful in a pinch. The product you get will depend on your skill level and needs in the long run.

What are good brands of fishing rods?

The answer is subjective because the fishing rod or product you choose should suit your needs. However, some prominent brands for pen rods include Docooler, Freehawk, and Lixada.

What is the best fishing rod for beginners?

The easy-to-use and compact pen fishing rod is the best one that beginners can use to learn the basic features of a standard rod. It also helps that the former is way more affordable than the latter. Plus, mini rods come in a range of colors, from black and silver to vibrant ones such as red and orange.

What does the gear ratio do?

The gear ratio determines how fast the reel picks up the line.

Insider Advice

Proper maintenance of a pen rod is more comfortable than that of a standard rod. All you need to do is collapse and pop it in its case after you are done cleaning it. 

However, if the weather is hot and humid, don’t keep it in your car. The heat can make the rod expand and contract, which can lead to cracks. Keep it in the garage instead. It is cool enough to prevent the material from warping. 

A silver one may need more maintenance, especially if you want to maintain its sheen indefinitely. However, you will find more vibrant colors than silver when you are looking for a pen rod for your needs. 

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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Articles » Gear Reviews » The 10 Best Pen Fishing Rods for 2023: An Updated Buyer’s Guide