Here's my favorite option for backcountry fishing. It takes a pen fishing rod, and replaces some parts to fit spincast reels. The spin casting reels are easy to use, and good for learning to cast.
Pen Rod - I've been using the rods from GoFastAndLight.com (I've received great service from them). If you're outside the US just search for "Pen Fishing Rod" and you should find other sellers. Some of the other rods out there are lower quality though and may not work as well.
Here are the reel options:
Shakespeare Synergy Microcast - This one is nice and compact. I've found it helps to remove some extra line on the spool to avoid tangling and jamming.
Daiwa Underspin US XD 40 - Bulkier than the Synergy reel, but is more comfortable to use for longer periods.
Zebco 11 Micro - Similar to the Synergy Reel, but I haven't tried it yet.
Fly Reel - For fly fishing, haven't tried it yet.
*some of the handles in the pictures have been covered in 1" heat shrink tubing to improve strength and grip..
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