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Friday, June 4, 2010

Review of a cool Wal-Mart find: Collapsible Fishing Rod by Southbend

I was at Wal-Mart one day when I stumbled upon an interesting item near the fishing/tackle aisle. There was a selection of collapsible fishing rods in kit form that either came with an open-bale reel or the classic-style closed reel with the push-button lock. I looked it over a bit and noticed a price of $29. I was a bit skeptical of the durability and usefulness of a collapsible fishing rod, but I figured for the price, it would be worth a try. I brought it home, opened up the Velcro-secured flap of the carrying case, and observed its contents. It contained a Southbend rod mated to a Southbend Eclipse R2F-20TEL open-bale reel that can handle up to 100 yards of 10lb line. I was surprised to see the kit contained a small container holding a basic kit of lures, bobbers, hooks, spoons, and weights. The R2F (Ready to Fish) designation definitely means what it says.

Excited to try it out, I loaded up my 10-foot fishing kayak into the truck and headed out to the local reservoir. The weather was clear and warm, but winds were producing pommeling waves that made fishing in one selected spot impossible because I had forgotten my anchor with my haste of loading up the kayak. Needless to say, when I expanded the fishing rod to its 5' 7" length and rigged it up with a weighted hook piercing a night crawler, I was delighted to notice that it felt just as sturdy and well-made as a regular non-expanding pole! If someone would have handed the pole to me, I never would guessed that it wasn't a solid, one-piece pole. I casted the bait with an effortless motion and I slowly wound it in to notice a smooth, consistent reel. After an hour and a half of casting and reeling, I didn't get any bites, but I was still happy about my new low-cost and compact piece of kit. It fits great in the storage hatch of the kayak, and would be equally at home in a bug-out-bag or behind the seat of a truck.

Here's the kit all packed-up. It is a nice, conspicuous, earth-tone green color. It has Velcro closures and a nylon adjustable carrying sling.

Here's what the inside looks like:

The contents removed from the carrying bag. The fishing pole measures 21" in it's collapsed state.

It measured out to 67" from tip to pommel when expanded.

Close-up of the reel:

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