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Make your own minnow trap

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.

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!

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10 Comments on Make your own minnow trap

  1. joe the fish // April 22, 2007 at 10:17 am // Reply

    yes. i will try it. only question why so important of the size of the hole? wat if its a little smaller wit more holes. like my nickname?

  2. wow i will try it.

  3. darth vaders real son // April 11, 2007 at 4:03 pm // Reply

    this trap really works i set it out overnight and caught 17 minnows and 2 tadpoles.

  4. Sam-ROBO199962 // April 11, 2007 at 6:39 am // Reply

    Me thinks it will sort of work……………………………

  5. I just have to try that the next time that I go fishing. Mabye I can bring it to summer camp and use it.

  6. Here’s a tip: cut a small circle of window screen a little bigger than the inside cap (ask your parents first), and make a hole in the top of the inside cap and tie the window screen to the inside part of the cap, and if you put it in a river, point the trap the same way the river is flowing so when the window screen opens the minnows can get in, but cannot get out.

  7. i luv runescape ! // April 6, 2007 at 10:21 pm // Reply

    i will definitely try i have a pond in my yard its 3 acres aroound!

  8. i will give it a shot. hope it works in the small creek right by my house.

  9. Cool!

    the problem is I don’t live anywhere near a pond!

  10. this really works .but it takes alon g time

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