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Make your own minnow trap

Click here for a PDF version of these instructions.

You’re ready for fishing. You’ve got everything … but bait. And no cash to buy any. Well, forget throwing money at minnows. Gather your own! It’s simple with this easy-to make trap. Here’s how:

You’ll Need:

  • Two plastic soda pop bottles. The three-liter size is best, but two-liter will do.
  • One woodworking nail, about 6-penny size (the exact size is unimportant).
  • Some twine, kite string or something similar.
  • Adult permission and/or help.

For tools, scrounge up a pair of sturdy scissors and locking pliers (such as Vise-Grip) or common slip-joint pliers. A utility knife can help with initial cuts but isn’t necessary. You’ll also need a controllable flame source — the kitchen stove is perfect.

Step 1STEP 1: Label one bottle “A” and the other “B.” Cut off the bottom one-third of bottle A and put in your home recycling bin. Leave the bottle cap on.

Step 2STEP 2: On B, cut off the neck & shoulders, close to the top of the bottle label. It should be cut just below — maybe a half inch or so — where the sides begin to straighten out. Toss the bottom and spare bottle cap in the recycling bin.

Step 3STEP 3: The remaining steps should be done near your flame source, with the pliers and nail handy. Keep a bowl with cold water nearby also. Fit funnelshaped piece (B) into the bottom of A so it points toward A’s remaining bottle cap. It should now form a nice little “cave.”

Step 4STEP 4: Holding the two bottles together firmly in your weak hand (left hand if you’re right-handed, right if you’re left-handed), turn on the flame with the other hand. Pick up the pliers with your free hand and firmly grasp the nail near its head with the pliers. Carefully hold the nail over the flame so that it gets good and hot.

Step 5STEP 5: Keeping your grip on both the A and B bottle parts and the hot nail in the pliers, push the nail point through both the funnel and bottle, in 10 to 12 spots around the lip of the “cave” that we mentioned. Drop the hot nail into the cold water.

Step 6 and 7STEP 6: Using your string or twine, sew the two bottle parts together. Alternately, simply cut the string into short pieces, using the same number of pieces as there are holes, and individually tie each hole up so that the two plastic parts A and B don’t come apart.

STEP 7: Reheat the nail as in Step 4, and put a bunch of holes all over the sides of the bottle (A). A couple of dozen should do it.

Setting Your Minnow Trap

To use your trap, add some bread or cracker bits through the funnel (B). Sink the trap in your favorite pond or lake for a few hours, preferably overnight. Tie it securely to a dock or tree. The minnows will go in the trap but aren’t smart enough to get out. Next morning, simply open the bottle cap and pour the minnows into your bait bucket. You’re all set for a day of fishing!

519 Comments on Make your own minnow trap

  1. pro bass boy // June 12, 2008 at 10:59 am // Reply

    this trap works great and the minows catch different types of fish .

  2. IT WORKED FOR ME!!

    I USED ZIP TIES NOT STRING

  3. It works great!!

  4. TRIUMPHANT RED // May 10, 2008 at 1:00 am // Reply

    I tried this a couple of times and I found out that beef jerky or beef dog treats will really catch the minnows! I caught about 20 minnows and 10 crayfish this way!

  5. fishin is tight // April 30, 2008 at 1:47 pm // Reply

    i tried it and i didnt catch anything

    so do i let it go tothe bottom?[im at a lake] or half way or what?

    plzzz help me

  6. I used to use this trap for shrimps, its not as effective as a net. But it always add a few extra shrimps for are fishing trips

  7. Magnifecently simple

  8. This is a great trap.

  9. sk8der boi 210 // March 24, 2008 at 8:15 pm // Reply

    The only thin beder then fishin is aculy catchin’ somthin! (im not stupid)

  10. Beastly Boy // March 24, 2008 at 10:47 am // Reply

    don’t use these because if a string comes untied or it falls apart somehow you’ll be littering and could get in trouble

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