How To Make A Primitive Fishing Hook
For the longest time I had been baffled by the task of creating a primitive fishing hook. Everything I built seemed to break in my hands, was too big for a fish to swallow, or impossible to attach to a line. You can imagine my excitement when George Hedgepeth of Briar Patch Outdoors showed me this simple and effective technique... I hope you enjoy it too!
The Necessary Components
This is an incredibly simple technique that only requires a length of natural cordage and a thorn... preferably from a locust tree. In the video above, I show you the technique using a thorn, however if you are unable to find one it is easy to carve from a splinter of wood as you will see in the following pictures.
Carve the Hook
I suppose this is technically called a "fishing gouge", but in any case you can see that I have carved this splinter down to a point on one side and a dull end on the other. Look closely and notice the small cordage groove off to the left side... this should be a shallow depression that will provide a stopping point, but not weaken the wood too much.
Attach the Cordage
To join the hook and cordage, go to the very end of the cord and unravel it ever so slightly. This will create a nice small loop that will allow just enough room to pierce the point through. If you are curious about making cordage, check out our previous article on primitive cordage.
Pierce Once More
From the place where your hook pierces the cordage, go up to the very next spot where the individual fibers twist around eachother. Untwist this section to create another opening and then pierce the hook through it.
Slide, Tighten, and Finish!
Now slide both points of contact all the way down to the base and into the cordage groove that we made in the very beginning. Simply tighten the fixture by twisting the cord tightly together and you are finished. You may noticed that I carved the hook down a bit too so that it would be easier to swallow. When using, be certain to bait the hook such that it lays parallel with the cordage. This will allow the fish to swallow it easily so that it can then open up when force is applied. Be prepared to eat the fish because this method will likely cause a great deal of damage to the animal when the hook gouges out and secures itself. As always, proceed with the highest degree of respect for the creature and take some time to appreciate its sacrifice... to me, those are the most rewarding moments in practicing these skills.
Best always, Paul Scheiter
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