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ROAD TEST

A cast of rods

You're planning a business trip when you notice your meeting site is near a prime fishing lake. Maybe you can get away for a couple of hours of fishing. But who wants to schlep a 6-foot rod and a tackle box through an airport for half a day of fishing? You don't have to; you can combine business and pleasure with a lightweight, collapsible fishing rod that slips into your suitcase. We tested four brands for freshwater fishing, including one that claims to be the world's smallest fishing rod.

September 02, 2007|Hugo Martín

SMALL

First look: The MobyStick telescopic fishing rod extends to 6 feet 5 inches and collapses to 18 inches. This light- to medium-action rod (Champion model) has a cork grip and titanium guides.

Yikes and likes: Because the telescopic rod pieces fit inside each other, you have to be careful not to pull too hard when snapping them into place. But if you don't pull hard enough, the rod will collapse mid-cast. The MobyStick is sturdy but feels a bit heavy and stiff on the cast.

411: $62.75; call (800) 615-4915 or visit www.compactfishinggear.com.

SMALLER

First look: The Traveler's Full-Size Fishing Set by Mitchell comes with a graphite fishing rod that separates into five pieces and a lightweight, open-faced aluminum reel with four stainless-steel guides. The set comes with a plastic lure box with plastic lures, hooks and bobbers. The aluminum carrying case is only 17 inches long, but when assembled the rod extends to 5 feet 6 inches.

Yikes and likes: The rod pieces fit together snugly, and the entire combo offers nice action for a collapsible travel rod. One drawback to most of these models is you must make sure your guides line up or your cast won't have much distance.

411: $99.95, available from the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog or (800) 321-1484, www.hammacher.com.

SMALLEST

First look: The Emmrod portable fishing pole is unique looking. The Packer model has a die-cast metal handle and a stainless-steel, 14-inch rod that forms a spring coil near the base. The rod, the pistol-shaped handle and the closed-face Shakespeare reel together measure 22 inches, but all detach for easy storage.

Yikes and likes: If you can adjust to the extra weight of the steel handle and the short rod length, you may never use another pole. After a few tries, we found it cast very well, but veteran anglers who tried it dismissed it as a novelty.

411: $56.95 for the Packer model. Available by calling (877) 436-6763 or visit www.emmrod.com,

MICROSCOPIC

First look: TeleBrands claims its telescopic Fish Pen is the world's smallest fishing pole. At 8 inches long when closed into its pen-like container, it just may be. The package includes a metal alloy telescopic rod, a closed-face spinning reel and a few hooks and bobbers.

Yikes and likes: This is one of those "As Seen on TV" products, so we didn't expect much. Still, the tiny Fish Pen was surprisingly effective. The spinning reel is a bit stiff, but the rod threw a decent cast. Don't expect to reel in anything big, however.

411: $39.99, available by calling (800) 240-1599 or visit www.fishpen.com or Wal-Mart, Walgreens and other retailers.

-- Hugo Martín

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