Soda Bottle Fishing – A Survival Skill?

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By Wyzyrd, Editor-at-Large

I talked to a couple folks, today, and nobody had heard of this fishing method. I never saw it until 2001, when I was living in a campground on the bank of the Shenandoah River.

First, I’m NOT talking about using bottles to float trotlines, which, at least here, is illegal.

I did a lot of fishing that particular summer, using pretty normal tackle, because I was unemployed. I ate some fish, but it was a ‘luck’ (actually skill) thing.

Many of my weekend neighbors, mostly folks from the state of Sonora in Mexico, fed their families (and sometimes me, too) and brought home bass, perch, catfish and carp for the week. They weren’t using fiberglass rods and Zebco reels. They fished the way they did at home, where everybody was dirt-poor, and resources were in very short supply. Up here, we’d call it “hillbilly ingenuity”. The difference in our styles was, I was ‘fishing’, they were ‘catching’. :)

You may not need or want to fish this way every day, but it could be a way to harvest a meal or two, if you need to, using mostly discarded found materials. (Hackett called it ‘obtainium’) :)

You’ll need:

1) crappy shorts and sneakers you don’t mind getting wet.

2) an empty 2-liter plastic soda bottle (remove the label)

3) 50-60 feet of fishing line. This can often be found in the bushes near the shore. If you look around in the submerged rocks/logs, you can often find good fishing lures, as well.

4) a ½ oz. or so weight/sinker. (maybe a float/bobber, too)

5) a hook

6) bait.

To build: Tie the end of your line to the neck of the bottle. If you have the cap, tie a knot in the line, put it inside, and screw on the cap to hold it. Wrap all the line around the bottle “reel style”. This is the annoying part. Try and be as neat as possible. Tie on a hook at the end. Add your weight to the line about 8-10 inches in from the hook. Add a float (a stick or a piece of a foam cooler works) if you want to fish off the bottom, or see when you have a bite. Done.

To use: Bait your hook. Walk out into the water about waist deep. Hold the bottle by the neck in your ‘weak’ hand. In your strong hand, let out about 2 feet of line, and swing it around above your head (like a “David” type sling). (DO be careful and don’t hook yourself). Let it go in the direction you want to cast. Point the bottle in the direction of your cast, and just let the line peel off, just like it would off an open-faced spinning reel. Once your cast hits the water, play “spin the bottle” to take up any slack. Yank and pull to retrieve your line and/or your fish. Repeat as needed. :)

A pair of old work gloves are also not a bad idea. That fishing line can slice you like a razor if you’re not careful.

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I don’t have a 2-liter bottle (which would probably work better), but here is a picture of a packable fishing kit, based on an acrylic cigar-tube, that I have been playing around with, recently. I’ll cover the braided line with duck tape for protection. (The other tape bundle is about 50 ft of nylon bankline)

This could also be a handy ‘hack’ if a bunch o’ grandkids show up, and there is not enough “real” fishing gear to go around. In general, where there are kids, there are soda bottles :)

 

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