Introduction: Turn a Can Tab Into a Survival Fish Hook

Picture of Turn a Can Tab Into a Survival Fish Hook

This is very easy and simple.  All the tools needed for this fish hook can be found on most multi tools.  It takes only a few minutes to create.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

-can tab
-wire cutters (or anything that can cut through metal)

Step 2: Shaping the Hook

Picture of Shaping the Hook

Cut an opening in the bottom hole in the tab.  Make sure that you cut in at a slant.  Then start cutting away as much metal as you can around the hook.  File the hook into a sharp point.  

Step 3: The Back of the Hook

Picture of The Back of the Hook

Flip the tab around.  The top hole should be untouched.  This is where you will tie the line onto the hook.  File down the sharp edges in the hole.


johng419 (author)2016-06-30

Great idea! I could definitely see this working in a survival situation, when your options limited anyway. Thanks

jigslinger (author)2016-04-18

It might work in a pinch but I would bend the hook so that it's offset.

upitaa (author)2011-06-03

excellent idea. but i wonder what sort of fish i can get with this hook:)

theo67 (author)upitaa2011-06-04

Probably canned fish

holymoses (author)theo672015-08-25

The other way round.

Buy a can of fish and you get a hook on top of it for free!

What a great offer!

Or buy some cans of beer...and you´ll get such ideas for construction!

:-P (author)theo672015-05-13

well that's "soda" a fish

the doctor who (author)theo672012-11-03


fatperson1239214 (author)theo672011-10-05

ha ha ha :D

sdavidson3 (author)theo672011-06-25


McNoodle (author)theo672011-06-23


TruorFalse (author)theo672011-06-10

haha nice...

slk13 (author)2015-03-30

i just saw this on ifunny

billbillt (author)2014-04-22

great idea..

smokehill (author)2014-04-21

A very good trick in an emergency, though if you're prepping for the Zombie Apocalypse you should stock lots of REAL fish hooks (not to mention extra lures, tackle, line, poles & some cheap Zebco reels. My two ponds will be our main source of food after the grocery stores are looted & burning, so I have LOTS of extra fishing tackle -- and enough ammunition to protect my food supply. Fish hooks are CHEAP. A couple of bucks will buy you enough to last for a dozen years, probably.

But still a great idea if you're suddenly stuck away from home & your usual supplies. Pop-top cans are everywhere, so if you have a couple of tools, or a Leatherman pocket tool, you're in business.

Might increase the strength of these (for bigger fish) by doubling up, tying two of these hooks together on the line, holding one piece of bait.

tzsch (author)2011-06-02

Not to be anti-DIY but fish hooks are dirt cheap and this looks like it would be pretty rough on the fish. I'll keep it in mind for the Zombie apocalypse though.

Microbe (author)tzsch2011-06-03

Yes, I agree. In fact, in Australia my understanding is  that non-rusting fish hooks are not allowed (I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong) - the idea is that if a line breaks eventually it will rust away, but I shouldn't want to wait that long if I had a hook in my cheek.

But would that hook be strong enough to hold anything?

smokehill (author)Microbe2014-04-21

Not sure if that is true in Australia, but it doesn't make much sense, as far as the fish's comfort. The lifespan of most fish is shorter than the time it would take for a hook to rust away.that much.

I've pulled old lures from my pond -- ones I've lost 8 or 10 yrs before -- and the hooks were still usable, even though rusty-looking. Some were still stuck in the wooden snag.

dummy1977 (author)tzsch2011-06-02

That's a good point, in case anyone's thinking about using these for fun -- they shouldn't.

But for a survival situation (which is the point of this .able), it's a good technique.

David97 (author)dummy19772011-06-20

Who cares if it rips the fish up. When you need to fish with one it will problay be survival situations so I don't think you would be to worryed about the fish as long as it got to shore and you got a feed.

saskew (author)tzsch2011-06-04

have you found yet a hook that is not rough on the fish?

tzsch (author)saskew2011-06-06

Good point.
Still, I'm kind of a sap, I file the barbs off of my fish hooks. You know, you can poke a pin through your own cheek and it doesn't really hurt. The barb can cause some damage if the fish pulls loose and this hook looks a little likely to come loose. Still, I would definitely keep it in mind for real survival situations.

jlee163 (author)2014-04-21

cleaver idea but it doesn't work for catching fish i did make a tool holder though with these mounted to a piece of wood (warning these are not very strong and only work for light stuff like a screw driver of pliers

phugedaboudet (author)2014-03-28

has anyone results to report on how well this works?

cdog557 (author)2013-07-18

There not strong.

SGT. Desert (author)2012-08-18

great idea but see its too small and too short for the fish to catch on to it

breumer (author)2012-04-18

great idea!

alex codeburn (author)2012-02-23

it would be much better to make one out of sardine can tab

simongalp (author)2011-12-18

I used EMT shears and didn't need a file. In case anyone has those on hand and no wire cutters or file.

Hippymike96 (author)2011-12-08

How big of a fish (pounds) could you catch with this?

Tkdwn (author)2011-10-04

It`s a nice idea, but i would atleast cut it more in a hook style.
I think that copper wire hooks would be nice to.Something in this style:

yuanyuan9.mli (author)2011-09-11

this is an awesome idea

vanaka (author)2011-07-09

umm.... wouldn't the pop tab just float on water.......I don't know

bcarpenter4 (author)vanaka2011-08-25

If you had typical fishing gear, you could put a lead sinker on the line, which would take the hook under the water...If the entire getup is survivalist, though, I imagine you could perhaps tie a rock to the sting near the hook, or something else heavy, like if you had/found a metal bolt or screw lying around. Also, the weight of the bait should help it sink.

vanaka (author)bcarpenter42011-08-31

k thx!

splazem (author)2011-08-20

Awesome, very creative!

camraguy (author)2011-08-15

The historical precedent for this type of "hook" is called a gorget. It was commonly used over 12,000 years ago on the California Coast.

saintdoggx (author)2011-07-30


nibbler125 (author)2011-07-13

ill bet if the fish swallowed the hook you would snag something

nikitzz (author)2011-07-12

This is too hard for me to make:(

McNoodle (author)nikitzz2011-07-13


sunshiine (author)2011-06-22

This is a great idea.

McNoodle (author)sunshiine2011-06-23


sunshiine (author)McNoodle2011-06-23


lalexander (author)2011-06-23

there is also the tried and true "stick" type fish hook. basically a short thick toothpick formed from a hard wood with a skinny area in the middle. bait is formed over it so that the string lays flat tward one tip. the fish swallows the stick longways and the string yanks it from the center, causing the stick to dig its forward most tip in and jam sideways. the points dig in and the stick can not be gotten out or worked deeper to release the first tip. this works better than non snelled jerry rigged hooks. the trick is to not set the hook too hard because a really hard yank of the string can snap the wood. metal works too. as long as you can attach a string to the center the concept works the same.

McNoodle (author)lalexander2011-06-23

Never heard of that before, but it sounds great! I'm going to try it the next time I go fishing.

bleeper (author)2011-06-22

i make my own fish hooks using the spring out of old wondow shade rollers using wire cutters and a torch and a dramel tool and a hammer. you straighten it out into the fishhook shape and heat the barb end and pound it flat and use the dremel to sharpen and notch the barb using the ruby cutter wheel. works and is cheaper than buying new hooks . i get 25 to 30 hooks out of each spring ...also you have to heat treat it so its not soft anymore after you cut the barb into it.

McNoodle (author)bleeper2011-06-23

Nice! You should make an Instructable on that.

rasta mon (author)2011-06-01

or u could use a real hook

...except that the idea is that this should be something doable in the wilderness should you happen to NOT have planned ahead on getting lost and remembered to bring your tackle box with you. You may not have the ideal tools for the job, but even knowing how to do this easily, it is easier to improvise a way to get it done with something else.

I understand a safety pin works fairly well as an impromptu fish hook

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