Adventure, Guides

Fishing traps: What types are there and how to make an artisanal fish trap?

Christopher / February 15, 2021
Fishing Trap

What are fish traps and what uses do they have?

A fish trap is a fishing gear used to catch specimens by making them enter, by various methods , a closed or semi-closed enclosure from which it is really difficult or, in fact, impossible for them to escape.

Obviously, its main use is the capture of aquatic animals without the use of cane, but instead being the same ones that enter the pre-designed enclosure.

These gear are used when we want to fish in a different way , in areas where we know that, directly, they are more successful than the rod, when we do not want the specimens to be injured, if we only want to observe them for a short time, to get hold of many pieces (always depending on the size, of course).

Types of traps for fishing What is the most advisable to choose?

We can make a diverse classification of this gear according to various points such as the waters where it is used, its manufacture or how the FAO considers them. So, we have.

Depending on the water where we use them:

Sea traps

As the type itself indicates, they are tangles that are used in seas and oceans, this is in large masses of salt water. For this reason, its main characteristics include:

  • Big size.
  • Materials resistant to saline corrosion.
  • Designs thought so that the traps are moved in the depth of the water and also floated and re-submerged often.

River traps

In the case of river traps, we have that these are used in fresh water, of course, but they are also suitable, sometimes, for use on the shore:

  • Smaller rigs.
  • Simpler materials.
  • Fixed trap designs, which are usually left immobile for hours.

Considering its manufacture we have:

Commercial traps

They are those that have been manufactured by companies, considering a design made by professionals as well as an optimal manufacturing process that includes machinery and specific materials to obtain the best results. There are very varied (and more and more) but the user is always conditioned by the existing models.

Homemade traps

The positive point of the homemade trap is that the fisherman makes it completely to his liking in terms of size, weight, materials, number of openings, bait areas and others.

On the contrary, we have that the quality cannot be as high as if its manufacture is commercial because we have both materials to be at home and manual techniques or domestic machines.

The FAO, which is the part of the UN that deals with aspects related to agriculture and food, offers us the following classification of traps for fishing:


The fishing pot is a trap net with a structure similar to the typical mosquito trap that we make with a bottleneck, with a wide entrance and a path that narrows to go to die in a wide area but from which, because of the narrowness of the neck, you cannot get out.

  • It is used in inland waters, including reservoirs, swamps, river backwaters or lagoons.
  • The common thing is to use it by boat.
  • Hanging bait is included in the widest area.
  • It is left at the bottom of the water, with ballast.
  • This will be tied to the boat or to a fixed point on the shore.
  • It is very easy to build.
  • It offers good performance.
  • It is economical.
  • There are different types: pleasure, Jamaican and high.
  • They are not, at all, aggressive for the environment.


It consists of a cone-shaped structure whose circle or base is usually made of wood or metal and that has a body also made of metal, boards or vegetables such as bamboo.

  • This is a specific lure to find shrimp.
  • It is used with great success in the flowing waters of rivers.
  • It is fixed to the bottom of the river with stones or stakes.
  • The mouth is oriented upstream, so that the shrimp are drawn to the narrowest part of the cone.
  • No negative effect in relation to the environment.


It is a rig in the form of a fence with a structure of wood or bamboo that is joined by vegetal fibers and that includes rope fall doors.

  • It is placed in the backwaters of rivers and on their banks as well as in the mouths of channels.
  • Its uncontrolled use interferes with the migratory movements of the species.
  • The doors are closed at the discretion of the fisherman, so the volume of catch is random and depends on visibility and chance.


It consists of an artificial shelter formed with shrubs or branches. The appeal of this rig is that it appears to be a shelter for the animal.

  • They can be bottom or floating.
  • It will be used in still waters, especially in the lower zone of rivers and in lagoons.
  • Baits that are attractive in a safe environment are used, so stink bait is not the best option. Instead, algae would be a great alternative.
  • The vegetables are tied to each other and / or hugged to some type of net, so that, really, the trap is the resting area for the animal but the capture depends on the extra elements that we use.


It is the plugging in the form of a curtain of a connecting pipe of two areas of water using the gillnet and the cast net , which is where the specimens will fall when they jump.

  • It will occur in meandering channels that connect swamps with rivers.
  • Ideal in times of migration, when we ensure the passage of some species through that particular area.
  • The success is total because it is a rig that works as a complete transverse cover.
  • Banned in many countries for not being able to discriminate sizes.

Steering traps

They result in stone structures that form difficult and impossible paths to avoid or undo.

  • They are those that guide the way of the animal, which remains in the birch or in front of a more aggressive dead-end trap.
  • They are used in waters with some current.
  • More successful in migratory season because the number of copies means that, if there is the slightest opportunity to retract, it prevents it.

What kind of species can we catch with these kinds of traps?

The amount of species that we can capture with all these types of lures is uncountable. Cuttlefish, conger eels, sea crabs, octopus, trout, tarpon, shrimp, snook, dentex, mojarras, catfish, bocachicos, nicuros, pipones …

Obviously, this will depend on many aspects such as the place where we place the gear , the bait we use (sardines, lobster, moray eels, fish fat or decomposing corpse, corn …), the time of year and day.

How to make a fish trap in a traditional way?

You have already seen that there are many of them, of very different constructions, materials and sizes. For this reason, answering this question is both easy and difficult. Easy because there are many options but difficult because we don’t know which one to choose to show you.

In any case, if you are curious about capturing with traps, we leave you an idea so that you can make your own in a totally traditional and inexpensive way.

Materials you need:

  • Mountain range.
  • Wood Ribbons.
  • Wire mesh.
  • Ropes, ties or tapes.
  • Wide rope.
  • Wire.
  • Nails.
  • Hammer.
  • Bait.
  • Flexible mesh (the typical one for potatoes or oranges works).
  • Plumb.

How to do it?

Choose the measurements of your tackle depending on what you want to catch:

  1. Design, measure, and cut your wooden slats to serve as the edges of a cube or prism. The best thing is that the shape is cubic so that they all have the same size, much easier! You will have to follow a total of 12 slats: 4 for the two bases and another four to join them together from their corners.
  2. To create the frame you will need to nail the slats between them.
  3. Measure the mesh so that when you cut it, it is large enough to hug 4 faces in a row of the structure.
  4. Once cut, go placing it around the structure, securing it with ribbons to act as a wall.
  5. Now you will have to make the two pieces for the remaining sides.
  6. Cut another piece of mesh in the shape of a half circle.
  7. Make a cone out of it. There should be a very wide mouth so that the fish enter easily and another very narrow one through which they can pass but it is very difficult for them to go back; Justita, justita! Therefore, choose well what your prey will be.
  8. Also secure the cone with wire, ribbon or zip ties.
  9. Join the cone at its wide base to one of the faces of the trap, leaving the cone inside it. Do it with wire this time.
  10. Place the bait of your choice and the plumb line inside the flexible mesh.
  11. Put this mesh inside the trap as well.
  12. Once the cone and the bait are inside, secure the sides that have remained pending.
  13. Cut the circle on the side that corresponds to the base of the cone.
  14. If you want, you can tie the box to a rope at the top to stretch it when you want to collect.

Read Also