Some stores call them pencil eels and maybe it means they are 8-10" eels.......I personally like the nice 12-16" eels that Fishbones in Pasadena carries.....unfortunatly, there closed. I've seen someone buy eels from Warrens, and they where small(I guess pencils).......a little small for my liking but maybe there size varies. I Just called Clydes and he said they have about a dozen left.....10-12".......$1.50 each......he said pencils are smaller than the eels that he has. Hope this helps.
I once had an eel crisis on the way to CBBT and got into it here with a tackle shop that wouldn't leave them out for me despite me offering my soul to them for all eternity, not to mention a bunch of cash. Fortunately, I discovered something that has paid off more than once when heading down late for a CBBT eeling trip... Gander Mountain in Salisbury has TONS of eels all the time... and they've got great hours.
I hate a big box store as much as anyone, but they are a VERY reliable last resort.