Emergency Fishing Line




About: I'm an Italian freelance structural engineer, graphic designer and photographer, and I'm teaching physics in Waldorf high-schools. I always investigate electronics, robotics and science in general, I'm a pas...

With this DIY tool you can easily make very long fishing lines in emergency circumstances. Not only that, you can make a strong plastic wire to wrap wood branches together and build structures, you can easily replace you shoe laces, hang up food to trees during the night, build an hammock, or net to catch wild animals, and much more.

Just think that from a single empty drinking yogurt bottle, which has a surface of about 23 x 16 cm, you can obtain a single thin (1 mm wide) wire 35 m long, very good to catch small fishes. If you wish to have a stronger cable you can cut a 3 mm wide stripe, so to have about 12 m long wire, not bad.

You only need a plastic bottle or container... quite hard to find if you are in the wild, but you could be lucky ;-)

As reference for this project I used a very interesting video found on the web, where a smart Russian guy use this technique to cut a long plastic wire.

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Step 1: Cut the Slots

You need a small piece of metal profile, L or U shaped.

With a metal saw cut three or four slots on one edge as in the picture. These slots have to be of different lengths, so to choose the width of the plastic stripe. You can choose to start from 1 mm and to arrive to 5 mm or more.

My profile is quite short, but this is what I had. Anyway is very handy to keep in a pocket, and it works well.

Step 2: The Blade

As blade I used a small cutter blade, but you can decide to use a bigger one. Place the blade against the inner edge, then mark the spots where to drill two holes for the bolts. I used a spindle to drill by hand.

Step 3: The Handle Joint

Fasten the blade with the two bolts. To secure the bar which will keep the bottle I decided to use a threaded cylinder, the type you need to secure the bulb holders in a lamp.

Step 4: Bend the Profile

This is needed since when I tested my tool I discovered that the blade was inclined to exit from the plastic. This is due to the blade profile: if the blade is flat on one side you don't need it, just place the flat side toward the bottle. if the blade is symmetrical, you need to bend the profile, so that the blade is a bit inclined toward the opposite side of the bottle, as in the picture.

An option here is to use a simple pencil sharpener blade, which is flat on one side. In that way you an avoid to bend the aluminium profile.

Step 5: Add an Adjustment Rod

Since the prototype didn't work very well, I added a wood rod to modify the distance between bottle axis and slot.

One hollow threaded pipe act as pivot, the other one is where the bottle support is inserted. Note that I added a wider nut between profile and wood, that will keep the wood rod not influenced by the blade grade.

Step 6: Bottle Support

As bottle support you can use any branch of bar. Since my "wildness" is a busy city I used a pencil. Insert the pencil in the pipe, and move the rod to make the distance from pencil and slot equal to the bottle radius.

Step 7: Begin Cutting

Start cutting is the most difficult part. If the bottle material is not very thin you should not have problems. Just insert in a slot the edge of the bottle (at which you previously cut the bottom), then push the edge inside the slot until you have enough wire to pull it. Begin pulling the wire paying attention that the bottle doesn't turn away from the tool.

Step 8: Enjoy and Think Up

If you prefer to keep the tool more comfortably hang it in a bench vise.

Now just think up to new ways to take advantage of this cool tool, actually this is a great way to re-use the plastic garbage which otherwise will cover the oceans (read here!)

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    22 Discussions


    3 months ago on Step 8

    very great method to reuse plastic bottle/cup... thanks for caring to our mother earth.
    by the way, we shall make this tool first before we go to "emergency" case: survival, camping, etc. :D

    Raven Survivor

    3 years ago

    your the closest thing to this type because I really wanted to know how it was made


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I am so glad you did this ible..I saw the russian video a couple of days ago and wasnt sure how the slots were supposed to go. All is now clear.


    5 years ago

    using different coloured bottles it could be braided to make bracelets etc..

    thanks for a really interesting tutorial...

    1 reply

    5 years ago on Introduction

    I've seen something similar in Brazil where it was used to create "broom straws" from empty two liter bottles. Clamped in simple wooden blocks and with a handle it made gainful employment for disabled people.

    1 reply

    Incredible! To usefully recycle an otherwise junk material. As a comment on "step 4" you can avoid this step by using a simple pencil sharpener blade. it's flat on one side. Or if one has grinding tools, the blade can be custom made from a useless hacksaw blade.