When someone mentions fishing we often automatically think of casting a line and hook from a fishing rod. However, there are lots of other methods to catch fish, many of which have been used effectively for centuries. The fish basket is one of those methods.

Tom Mcelroy shows off the finished fish basket trap.

Tom Mcelroy of Wild Survival Skills shows off the finished fish basket trap.

A fish basket is a two-piece contraption, composed of a cylindrical basket with an opening on one end, and a conical lid with a small hole in the center. The basket is loaded with bait, the lid is installed pointing inwards, and the device is set into a shallow pond or stream on its side. Over time, fish smell the bait and swim into the trap, but can't escape through the small, spiky, cone-shaped opening.

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The fish basket is constructed of young willow shoots, which bend easily.

Survival expert and trainer Tom Mcelroy, of WildSurvivalSkills.com, shows how it's done from start to finish in the video below.

All it requires is some flexible willow shoots (or other bendy vines/roots/twigs) and a lot of patience. Fortunately, as Tom mentions in the video clip, once you take the time to build a fish basket, you can use it over and over to provide a steady supply of food.


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Submerged in a creek, the basket does all the work so you don't have to.

Be sure to watch to the end of the video, since it proves the device's effectiveness by filming fish actually swimming into the trap. All in all, the fish basket trap isn't too hard to make, and it could be an extremely valuable asset for wilderness survival.

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A camera inside the trap shows how Tom caught fish in a few short hours.


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