Picture of Fish Bottle Trap

This was one of the first things I remember building as a child and the knowledge has stayed with me all my life. This small fish trap is easy to make and very cheap too, making it the perfect project to start off with.

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Step 1: Materials Needed

Picture of Materials Needed
Optional Materials
List of materials:

- An empty 2 litre drink bottle
- A craft knife (a pair of scissors will do the same job)
- Some string


- A piece of A4 paper
- Some sticky tape
- A marker pen
- A small screwdriver

Step 2: Preparing the bottle

Picture of Preparing the bottle
Firstly you need to prepare your bottle by removing the label, cap and plastic collar. It would be a good idea to swill out the bottle with water to clean it if you haven't already. Once the bottle is ready you can proceed to cut off the top. I wrap a piece of paper around the bottle attached with sticky tape to give a guide when I'm cutting(see video).

Step 3: Making the holes

Picture of Making the holes
Now take the bottom of you bottle and using the tip of your scissors or screwdriver, make small holes on the dimples. This will allow water to freely flow through the fish trap bottle. Take the top of your fish trap and insert it into the body of the bottle. Then using the same technique used to make the holes in the bottom, proceed to make holes through the walls at the top.You may want to mark where your holes will go while the trap is assembled and then dismantle it to make piercing the holes easier. These holes will allow us to put our string through and secure the top.

Step 4: Add the handle

Picture of Add the handle
A simple knot
Take your string and thread through the holes you made in the top of your fish trap. Tie two simple double knots either side. These knots are used to lock the door so to speak. So make sure these are secure, but also that you can undo them to retrieve your fish. If you can't undo them then simply cut the string.

Once they are tied you should have a handle to carry the fish trap and a means of securing it when in the water.

Step 5: Fin

Picture of Fin
You are now ready to catch small fish for food, as bait or even as a pet. You could also use this trap to just observe the fish and when your ready, let them go.

Try experimenting with different bait types inside the bottle fish trap. One thing you could do is use fishing wire instead of string. This will make it harder for fish to see.

Whether you use fishing wire or string, give yourself a long enough piece so that your anchor is far enough away from the entrance. For an anchor I would just use a sturdy stick, stuck into the ground then loop your handle over that.

Once you've finished with the fish bottle trap, you can simply put it in the recycling bin.

Here is the video in case you missed it.

Do you have any specific suggestions for bait? I would assume, bugs and things like that, but is there anything else?

The best bait is probably bread as it is cheap and easily accesible

CandyLove111 month ago

Do you have any specific suggestions for bait? I would assume, bugs and things like that, but is there anything else?

Do you have any specific suggestions for bait? I would assume, bugs and things like that, but is there anything else?

Rohan_D-1 year ago
Nice idea, might try that some day soon? :) :P
Go Repairs (author)  sickdevotee631 year ago
Doesn't work in the wild rain forest of South America. Fish seem a little smarter here. :) I have tried it many times. Best way I have found to catch small tropical fish is with a small hook and worms. Even that is extremely hard. You need extremely fast reflexes to yank the fish out of the water when they nibble on the worm. Some time we don't even hook them. We just snag them and throw them out of the water. You need a long slender fishing pole for this kind of fishing. Good Instructables though!
Thanks for sharing that info and I'm glad you like this Instructable. You can also use this trap to catch land creatures (insects for bait etc). I appreciate you leaving a comment.
lathamo1 year ago
I managed to catch a whale shark
Go Repairs (author)  lathamo1 year ago
You must have used a big bottle. lol
Go Repairs (author)  ryandavidson131 year ago
I'm going to try do a mix of different things.
Go Repairs (author)  ryandavidson131 year ago
EmcySquare1 year ago
Did you try it? I'm afraid it's not going to work as expected...
It needs to be made in some mash/net material for water to flow in it and for fishes to sense the bait.
If you put it into a stream of water the bottle il going to fill up and the pressure of water itself inside the bottle will make it hard for fishes to get inside. If the water is still fishes can't sense the bait.
Still I might be wrong, give it a try anyway.
I had much more luck using similar devices made from bottles as live-catch mouse traps (collar part need to be modified)
This really works. Takes time to catch fishes, but if you're not in a hurry you can get a FULL BOTTLE of fishes in a few hours.
And I really mean full :)
Go Repairs (author)  EmcySquare1 year ago
I can tell you for a fact that this trap works, as I have used in the past (the bit where I wrote "I remember building as a child" should have give it away). You are correct this trap may not be best suited to a river with White water rapids. But a slow moving river or still water location works fine.

The taste of the bait can move freely out of the trap, via the entrance and holes you place in the bottom - attracting fish. You are completely wrong about the pressure inside the bottle preventing fish from entering. You place holes in the bottom of the bottle (as I shown) to allow movement of water through the bottle trap.

The design of the trap means that the flow of water is always facing the entrance. The trap itself will pivot on the stick you place it on, if the flow of water changes directions.

Thanks for leaving a comment.
What bait do i use?
Bread works pretty well ;)
Go Repairs (author)  brookiegirl1 year ago
Chopped earthworm is always good, but it's fun to experiment with different bait types.
Go Repairs (author) 1 year ago
@nerfrocketeer Thanks.