Coleman Fish Pen: Does it Work?

Coleman Fish Pen: Does it Work?
By: Lauren Keith

You can fish anytime, anywhere with the new Coleman Fish Pen.  It transforms from an oversized pen to a light-weight fishing rod that you can easily carry with you anytime.  That's the claim, at least!
AJ Hendershott is Regional Supervisor for the Missouri Department of Conservation.  He's also been fishing most of his life.
"Hold on--I don't have my son with me!  He's the one that catches the fish," joked AJ.
Still, AJ's opinion will definitely help you figure out if the $20 Coleman Fish Pen belongs in your tacklebox, or glovebox for that matter, since portability is the main selling point here.
"It's going to boil down to: is it easy to cast? If you did catch a fish, how would that work out?" wondered AJ.
He strings the line through, attaches the reel, hooks the line, and adds some red wigglers.  That's his top choice for the fish in the lake at Cape County Park North.
"The only thing you're really sacrificing here is length, perhaps strength, but you're gaining convenience," AJ said.
AJ casts and likes what he sees. 
"It didn't do too bad," said AJ.
"We're looking at 20 to 25 feet here.  So, I wouldn't take it catfishing," he noted.
Given the fact that this rod is lightweight, it's only fair to expect it to catch small fish like crappie, bluegill and sunfish.  That's exactly what AJ catches!
"Hey, I'm getting a bite!" said AJ.
It's a little fish, by the way, which AJ throws back.  Also, you might want to know the Fish Pen itself doesn't have any ink.  The pen merely acts like a case.  Before we hand out a letter grade, AJ tests to see if the rod easily transforms back into the pen case.  He finds you can't jam it back in place, but it easily telescopes back with no problems.
"I wouldn't give it an 'A', simply because it's not long, so it's not going to cast long distances.  It goes out about 3 feet in rod length.  I'd prefer a 5 foot pole.  However, at the same time, it's a higher quality than I expected and it is very portable," said AJ as he tucks the big pen in his shirt pocket.
Also, AJ says the pen itself actually makes for a slick grip, which you might keep in mind with kids using it.  He prefers the standard cork handle, especially for kids.
That said, the $20 Coleman Fish Pen reels in a B minus on this Does it Work test.  You can find it online at or at Linens 'n' Things in Paducah.