How to Make Fishing Rods in the Wild

How to Make Fishing Rods in the WildMaking a fishing rod in the wild is the mark of a true outdoorsman. You may need to make a fishing rod for survival's sake because you somehow got lost in the wilderness and need to eat. You might want to make a fishing rod in the wild just to see if you can construct a tool for catching fish using only the available materials in the woods around you. Before the unthinkable happens, now might be a good time to tuck a spool of monofilament and a small tacklebox with an assortment of hooks into the side pocket of your backpack. Then all you need to do is follow these steps and you'll be fishing with a handcrafted pole in less than half an hour.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
swiss army knife
  • Pocketknife
Step 1
Find a living tree branch 6 to 7 ft. long and about the diameter of your thumb at the widest end.
Step 2
Break off the branch from the tree, then break it again to the desired length either by leaning the branch against the tree trunk and cracking it with your boot, or by pushing the wide end into the ground and snapping the branch at the point where it is buried in the dirt.
Step 3
Cut away shoots, side branches and leaves with your pocketknife so you are left with a tapering pole.
Step 4
Test the tip of your fishing rod by bending with your hand. If the end snaps off, so much the better. You'll then have a stronger tip with what's left.
Step 5
Use monofilament fishing line to string the pole if you have line. Sewing thread can also be used. If nothing else is available, look for green vines in the undergrowth around bushes and tangled in ground cover. Vines must be green to have any strength, as these will be your fishing line.
Step 6
Strip away any tendrils or offshoots from the vine by pulling it slowly through your closed fist. You'll want a line between 10 to 15 ft.
Step 7
Tie together two green lines for greater length by using a surgeon's knot. The surgeon's knot is formed by holding the two vines together at the ends and forming a loop. Push the ends of the two vines through the loop and pull tight, then cut off the excess with your knife.
Step 8
Tie the line about midway down your pole and wrap it 3 to 4 times along the length of the pole toward the tip. If the pole breaks while you are fighting a fish, the line will immediately fall into your hands and you'll still have a chance at landing a meal.
Step 9
Tie the end of the line around the tip of your fishing pole with a simple overhand knot to hold it securely for casting.
Step 10
Tie a barbed hook to the vine if available, otherwise carve a hook from a V-shaped piece of green stick with your pocketknife.
Step 11
Carve a groove into the end of your makeshift hook where the eye would normally be located. This groove will give you something to tie the vine onto and make it hold fast.
Step 12
Turn over rocks around moss and in moist, shaded areas to find earthworms for bait. Grubs and crickets can also be used.
Step 13
Bait the hook and gently swing the line into the water, targeting still pools, eddies and areas behind exposed boulders in a river. Bankfishing right near the water's edge will also produce fish, often before the hook has a chance to hit bottom.

Tips & Warnings

Don't use dead branches for a makeshift fishing pole. They may crack and break at an inopportune moment.
Packing a small tackle kit in a plastic box the size of a package of cigarettes is a handy way to be prepared for fishing if you lose your way in the woods and need to catch fish, which are probably the easiest food source available for a hungry hiker to capture with few tools. Roll up 40 to 50 ft. of fishing line in a loop secured with a piece of tape and add a dozen 8/0 size hooks. A few short pieces of red yarn can be added for an effective lure. You might even have room left over for a small compass and a fistful of wooden matches.
Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return before setting off on a hike, whether for a day or a month.

Article Written By James Clark

James Clark began his career in 1985. He has written about electronics, appliance repair and outdoor topics for a variety of publications and websites. He has more than four years of experience in appliance and electrical repairs. Clark holds a bachelor's degree in political science.

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