Using live bait for fishing is common and very effective for catching highly predatory species such as pike and musky. Trout, walleye, catfish, and bass are just some of the species that you can fish using live bait. The issue with live bait is that it’s hard to catch. A way around this that’s utilized by avid anglers is through a trap. We’ll teach you how to make a fish trap at home regardless of whether you’re trying to catch live bait for fishing, fish for survival, or you’re simply interested in having a new do-it-yourself project.
A homemade fish trap, if you follow our guide, can be used in catching almost any species of fish. One thing you need to know about how to make fish traps is the concept.
A fish trap is a basic trap that makes use of a funnel where fish can go in but is deterred to go out. It’s pretty simple, but trapping fish with the use of fish traps is illegal in the majority of states in the USA.
We advise you to check the regulations in your local area to see if using a fishing trap is permitted for anything that isn’t an emergency.
How to Make Fish Traps
There are many kinds of homemade or DIY fishing traps. The aforementioned steps on how to make a trap for small fish and larger species, and how to make a funnel for a fish trap will provide you with a simple yet highly effective trap.
Gather the Necessary Materials
For this guide on how to make fishing traps, the majority of the materials can be substituted or worked around, depending on the materials that you already have.
- Wire mesh, plastic mesh, or any kind of mesh (the mesh has to have holes that are small enough that fish can’t swim out of your rattletrap)
- Thick wire
- Thin enamel-coated wire
- 2 dowels (the dowels don’t have to be thick)
- Wrapping paper, poster board, or anything that you’ll be able to use for making a cone stencil
- Needle nose pliers
- Wire cutters or something that can cut your mesh material
Prepare the Cylinder Body
Most guides on how to make a fish trap will tell you that basic fishing traps consist of the following: the door, cylinder body, and the two cones.
To make a cylinder body, simply measure out a rectangular shape from the mesh. Your cylinder should have a length twice the width, so keep this in mind when you’re cutting the rectangular mesh.
It’s not too complicated if you’re cutting a rectangle from a plastic mesh. If you’re using a wire mesh, be extra careful as the cut wires can prick you.
Take the Rectangular Mesh, Roll and Connect
Now that you have cut out a rectangular mesh, roll it while trying to leave about 2 units of mesh overlapping.
Use a thin wire in weaving the two sides of your mesh together. Start on one edge and work across to make a seam.
As you’re sewing the mesh, make a couple of loops around the edges for reinforcement. Get your needle nose pliers in pulling through the mesh if you’re having a hard time.
Create the Cones
Each of the cones or funnels will be made of half a circle of mesh that’s rolled into a cone shape. Similar to the previous step, connect a cone using wire at the ends.
We’ve found that cutting out a circle from a poster board is best as it will provide you with a guide when you’re cutting on the mesh. This is especially crucial if you have a limited amount of mesh to work with.
When you’ve cut out a circle from a poster board, fold it in half then make a cut. When you’re working with the mesh using the poster board as a guide, leave half an inch of allowance on all sides.
It would be much easier for you to trim down your mesh rather than stretch it. Make sure the angle of each of the cones isn’t too steep. The center of the cone should be 3 to 4 inches bigger than the fish size you are targeting.
If you’re trying to catch medium-sized fish, you will need a trap that has a hole that can accommodate a medium-sized fish. Using too small of a trap to catch big fish will render it ineffective.
Attach the Cones to the Cylindrical Body
This is the tricky part. Your cones have to be inverted then attached with a wire onto the edges of the cylinder body. Trim off the extra mesh from the cones to have the right fit.
Add the Door
It’s now time for you to add your door. Decide the size that you want for you to door. Cut out a portion of the cylinder with that size.
Then, find a piece of leftover mesh that’s an inch or two bigger than the opening when you fold it in half. Fold in half to make the piece stronger. In order to add strength to the door, use a thicker wire in wounding it.
Attach it to the cylinder body, and you’re done! The door will be where you will add the bait and weights of your trap.
This guide on how to make a fish trap is simple and effective in helping you catch small, medium to large size species, depending on the size of the opening of the funnels or cones.
Make sure that you secure the door properly so no fish gets out of the trap before you open the door. As for the bait, you can use anything that is readily available, cheap enough for you to purchase, and effective in catching the attention and curiosity of fish.
If you’re after large species, the most effective are usually sardines, mullet, or any oily fish.