Rocket Fishing Rod

Does it Work Wednesday
Rocket Fishing Rod
By: Lauren Keith
This Does it Work Wednesday kicks off my month-long "Summer Fun" Series.  Each week in May, I'll look at different outdoor toys and products for both adults and children.   In the spotlight this week is a product dozens of you have requested by email....the Rocket Fishing Rod.  We head to the Kids Fishing Pond in front of the Nature Center in Cape Girardeau County.
"We keep this pond stocked," says manager Steve Juhlin.
Plus, we have a perfect weather day to do some fishing. Nature Center Asst. Manager Steve Juhlin says fish really bite right before it rains. We'll see if they'll take the bait on this Rocket Fishing Rod!
The $35 plastic pole isn't like your average rod and reel. It's supposed to "launch" the line, and reel in the big ones.  The basics of fishing still apply; you'll need a pocket knife to cut the line.
The Rocket Fishing Rod does come with three sinkers and three green worms.
"You have to know how to tie a hook," says Steve as he ties it for our 10-year old "tester" Jacob LeGrand.
Once that's ready, Jacob launches this thing...
"Whoa--- all right!" says Jacob.
Pretty cool! While Jacob waits for a bite, his friends do some fishing----I guess you could say the old fashioned way with a regular rod and reel.  But get this---- within minutes of casting, somebody's got one!
"I got one!" screams three-year old Clayton Hunt.
And everyone around is shocked after the three year old immediately catches a fish with the regular rod and reel.  Meantime, 10-year old Jacob is using the Rocket....and catching nothing!
He launches....and launches....still nothing.
I ask him:  "A three year old just caught a fish, and you still haven't caught one? What do you think of that?
"Well, I just don't think this is working as good as it should," he says.
We get interrupted by screaming next to us.
"I got one! I got one!" screams little Clayton.
One! Make that four now for little Clayton and the regular rod and reel. Plus, the girls aren't doing so bad either.
Just when Rachel Seyer catches one, so does her friend, Emma Hemman.
"Mom, I got two!" shouts Rachel.
And little Clayton---
"I caught 10!" he screams.
And that's no fish tale! So, what's the deal with the Rocket? Right now, it's only launching a sinking feeling for this ten year old.
"This thing doesn't even do its job. I'm serious. I'm getting frustrated," says Jacob.
Rightly so, say these two adult fishermen.
"The problem is it's safety mechanism actually keeps it from catching fish.  The hook is surrounded by a big yellow bobber.  When it hits the water, that yellow bobber is supposed to open and thus, freeing the hook to catch fish.  We've launched this thing for an hour now and we haven't seen it fully open at all.  It's safe, for the most part, but it's just not attracting fish or even opening enough to drop the hook.  The fish don't want to swim up to this big yellow thing," says Ben Hunt, an avid fisherman.
"If the goal is to catch fish, it's not going to work. It's not dropping the lure away from the bobber.  Now, it is easier to cast and that helps kids.  I think if they like it, and it gets kids out fishing, then that's a good thing.  However, I'm not too sure how much the kids will like fishing if they never catch anything," says Steve Juhlin.
"It's more of a toy than a fishing rod," says Ben.
I agree with the adults.  However, the Rocket advertises itself as a fishing rod, more than a toy.  This Does it Work test finds the exact opposite!
We also used different bait - real worms - and added another sinker for more weight.  Still after an hour and a half, we didn't get a bite at all!
The older kids, whom it's intended for, like the launching part, but get frustrated after that cast doesn't reel in fish. The younger kids, who are well below the 8-year old age recommendation, can't wait to get their hands on the rod.  That includes our top fisherman of the day, little Clayton, and I bet you know why.
"Cuz' it shoots," says Clayton.
With these mixed results, I'm going to hand out a full report card on this Does it Work test. First on the "Fishing" factor---hands down this rod fails. We never caught a fish in an hour and a half with the rocket! We used the lures it came with and even switched over to real worms.  Plus, we let the adults try it and they didn't catch anything either.  The only thing it lures in is an 'F."
However, on the "Fun" factor, this gets an 'A'. The younger kids loved launching it so much, one even started crying when I tried to take the rod back to the station!
As for the fam'....well, all the adults here say that fun is likely to wear off, and they would not spend their money on the $35-dollar rod.
"I'd invest my money in a better rod," says Steve.  
The dads give it a "D" overall.  
So, just like a teacher, I'm going to average those grades. Personally, the Rocket doesn't float with me, but in fairness, it reels in a C- on this Does it Work Wednesday test.  I bought this rod at Wal-Mart in the fishing department.
By the way, the Kids Fishing Pond is free and open during normal business hours.  Kids don't need a fishing license, but adults do.  The Conservation Campus Nature Center offers poles and lures, if  needed.
Next week on Does it Work Wednesday---water toys!  Be sure to tune in on the Breakfast Show and at 10 to see which sprinklers, water rockets and bubble machines make the Does it Work grade.