Monday, November 28, 2011

Catching your own food: Part One

Catfish. Okay article done. No not really, catfish is the most perfect food in the world, I'm pretty sure that it's written down in stone somewhere. The last thing you want to do when the SHTF is be obvious about the fact that you are getting, have got or are attempting to get food. Fishing is fun, but it can draw attention to you while you wait for a bite on your hook. Trapping is the way to go and this particular method of building a trap is CHEAP.

Tomato Cage

Vinyl fencing

Zip ties

Chicken Wire

Twist ties

Wire coat hanger

Wire cutter

milk jug


Lay the tomato cage on its side. Cut the vinyl fencing to run the length of the tomato cage. Secure the end of the vinyl fencing to the top wide ring of the cage using a zip tie where the vertical and horizontal wire rings on the cage meet. It’s usually best to fold the vinyl fencing over so the zip tie is run through two layers of netting rather than one.

Secure the vinyl netting to the second and third rings on the tomato cage using the same folding method as before. Make sure the zip tie is wrapped around the point at which the vertical and horizontal wire meets on each ring. This will prevent the vinyl fencing from sliding around too much.

Wrap the fencing around the cage tightly using zip ties to secure it to each of the horizontal wires holding the cage together where they meet the vertical rings. Overlap the fencing over one section to make sure there is no place for the catfish to escape from the sides. Apply a few extra zip ties where there are gaps.

Cut a piece of chicken wire that is the width of the wide end of the tomato cage. Wrap the chicken wire into a funnel shape with the narrow end hole being about 3 inches in diameter. Secure the chicken wire into that shape with zip ties. Connect the wide end of the chicken wire to the wide end of the tomato cage with zip ties. Put enough zip ties around the edges that the funnel won’t slip or become dislodged when thrown into the water.

Repeat this step with the narrow end of the tomato cage so that you have two funnels facing into the interior of the trap.

Cut the straight portion of a wire coat hanger off of the hook. Bend the wire into a four-inch-by-four-inch box shape. Weave the end of the box shaped wire into and out of the diamond shaped holes in the vinyl fencing to form a cage door. Use wire cutters to cut the vinyl fence diamonds one section over from the frame of the "door" you created. Cut the left and right sides and the top, but leave the bottom diamonds in tact. Use two twist ties to keep this door shut.

Run a small nylon rope from the bottom ring of the cage to the top ring and pull the rope through. When you have pulled six feet of rope through the cage, tie a knot to form a triangle. Make a double or triple knot for extra strength, in case you catch a big one.

Measure eight to fifteen feet of rope past the knot, cut the rope and tie an empty milk jug to the end. The milk jug will be your "marker." A floating milk jug can seem like trash, a bright orange glow in the dark marker screams "FOOD" to anyone who can see it. The length of the rope should be determined by the depth of the lake or pond you are fishing in. Since catfish are bottom feeders, the trap should rest on the bottom of the pond.

Place some rotting meat into the center of the trap and drop overboard. Wait for a few hours or overnight and go retrieve your catfish.

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