How to Whittle a Wooden Fishing Hook

How to Whittle a Wooden Fishing Hook
Over the years many people, from explorers to castaways, have survived to tell their tales by fishing for their lives. If you find yourself in a survival situation near a body of water, fishing could turn out to be your best option to obtain food. By using a pocketknife, a fish hook can be easily shaped from a forked section of twig. Once completed, this hook can be attached to a thread, string, or woven fibers from plants and fished as a hand line or as a stationary trot line.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Whittling knife Forked twigs or branches Thread or string
  • Whittling knife
  • Forked twigs or branches
  • Thread or string
Step 1
Because you will want to catch even small fish in a survival situation, it is generally better to make a smaller hook than a larger one. Select a forked twig or branch approximately one-quarter inch in diameter. This might seem large, but you want to give yourself enough wood to work with in order to shape the hook. The wood should be green and supple, able to bend somewhat, but not so flexible that the fish can remove itself from the hook.
Step 2
Strip off the bark and shave down any possible knots. Whittle the shank, making it straight and smooth. Shape the bend into a slight curve. Remember that the fish has to get the hook and bait into its mouth, so make sure the bend is narrow with enough of a slope to be easily eaten by the fish.
Step 3
Cut the shank to the desired length. A fish hook is not much good unless it is connected to a line of some type, so it is necessary to either bore a hole in the top of the shank or, as illustrated here, notch the top and wrap your thread or line around this notch.
Step 4
Concentrate on the point. A hook is worthless if it does not hold the fish, so take time whittling the business end of the hook. While commercial hooks with chemically sharpened points and barbs may be designed to hold fish by the thinnest of skin, your wooden hook may have to stick into the roof of the fish's mouth or catch part of the gills to hold it, so making the point as sharp as possible is important.

Tips & Warnings

 
Horse tail strands woven together were once used as fishing line. Thread from clothing can be used as line for your hook. A trot line can be set up across a stream by stretching a cord between two stationary objects such as trees on opposite banks. The baited fish hooks are then spaced out along the cord, tied so they hang down into the water.
 
Horse tail strands woven together were once used as fishing line.
 
Thread from clothing can be used as line for your hook.
 
A trot line can be set up across a stream by stretching a cord between two stationary objects such as trees on opposite banks. The baited fish hooks are then spaced out along the cord, tied so they hang down into the water.

Resources

Article Written By Paul Weidknecht

Paul Weidknecht’s non-fiction has appeared in "Outdoor Life," "Yale Anglers' Journal," "Fur-Fish-Game," "Snowy Egret," and elsewhere. His fiction has appeared in "Clapboard House," "Potomac Review" online, "Stone's Throw" magazine, "The Oklahoma Review," and "Freight Train" magazine. He lives in northwest New Jersey. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Muhlenberg College.

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