Long before his catchphrase “Set it and forget it,” touting an easy-to-use rotisserie oven took over the world of late-night informercials, American inventor and legendary TV pitchman Ron Popeil’s name was attached to an angling apparatus that became just as famous in its time.
The K-Tel Popeil’s Pocket Fisherman made its television debut in the early 70s, and quickly became an American icon—and a favorite holiday or birthday gift for dads everywhere.
The petite, fold-up fishing rod, which featured a handy belt clip and built-in tackle compartment, was actually invented by Popeil’s father, Samuel Popeil, after nearly being injured by the tip of a conventional rod. It seems fitting, as Ron started his career as a teenager hawking his father’s kitchen inventions on the streets of Chicago.
Television brought opportunity, fortune and fame to Popeil, over the years allowing him to introduce hundreds of products, including the Veg-O-Matic, Mr. Microphone and Ronco Pasta Maker, to millions of teleshoppers.
Some anglers—especially those who spend several hundred dollars on one high-quality graphite rod—might be surprised to know that the inexpensive Popeil’s Pocket Fisherman is still available today, and it garners numerous positive online reviews.