Fishing traps, What types are there and how to make a trap for artisanal fish?

What are fish traps and what uses do they have?

A fish trap is a fishing gear used to capture the specimens by making them enter, by various methods, an enclosed or semi-enclosed enclosure from which it is really difficult or, in fact, impossible, to flee.

Obviously, its main use is the capture of aquatic animals without the use of cane but being these same ones that enter the enclosure previously designed for it.

These gears are used when we want to fish differently, 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 interval of time, to get many pieces (always depending on the size, of course)…

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

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

Depending on the water where we use them:

Sea traps

Sea traps

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

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

River traps

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 rigging.
  • Simpler materials.
  • Fixed trap designs, which are usually left motionless for hours.

Considering its manufacture, we have:

Commercial traps

commercial fish 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 increasingly) but the user is always conditioned by the existing models.

Homemade traps

homemade fish traps

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

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

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

Fishing pots

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 narrow neck, you can not get out.

  • It is used in inland waters, including reservoirs, swamps, river backwaters or lagoons.
  • The common thing is to make use of 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’s economical.
  • There are different types: pleasure, Jamaican and high.
  • They are by no means aggressive to the environment.


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

  • This is a specific lure to find shrimp.
  • It is used very successfully in the running waters of rivers.
  • It is fixed at the bottom of the river with stones or stakes.
  • The mouth is oriented against the current, so that the shrimp are dragged to the narrowest part of the cone.
  • No negative effect on the environment.


It is a fence-shaped rigging with a structure of wood or bamboo that are joined by vegetable fibers and that include rope drop doors.

  • It is placed in the backwaters of rivers and on their banks, as well as in mouths of riverbeds.
  • Its uncontrolled use interferes with the migratory movements of species.
  • The doors are closed according to the fisherman’s criteria, 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 attraction of this rigging is that it appears to be a place of shelter for the animal.

  • They can be background or floating.
  • It will be used in still waters, especially in the lower part of rivers and in lagoons.
  • Baits that are attractive in a safe environment are used, so pestilent bait is not the best option. Instead, algae would be a great alternative.
  • The vegetables are tied together and / or embraced 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 we use.
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It is the curtain-shaped plugging of a connective pipe of two water zones making use of the gill net and the stingray, which is where the specimens will fall when they jump.

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

Directional traps

They result in stone structures that form difficult roads and impossible to dodge or undo.

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

What kind of species can we catch with this type of traps?

The number of species we can catch with all these types of lures is countless. Cuttlefish, conger owls, sea crabs, octopus, trout, tarpon, shrimp, bass, dentones, mojarras, catfish, bocachicos, nicuros, pipones…

Obviously, this will depend on many aspects such as the place where we place the rigging, thebait 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 an artisanal 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 do not know which one to choose to show you.

In any case, if you have become curious about making catches with traps, we leave you an idea so that you have your own in a totally artisanal and economical way.

Materials you need:

  • Saw.
  • Wooden slats.
  • Wire mesh.
  • Ropes, flanges, or ribbons.
  • Wide rope.
  • Wire.
  • Nails.
  • Hammer.
  • Bait.
  • Flexible mesh (the typical potato or orange serves).
  • Plummet.

How is it done?

Choose the measurements of your rigging based on what you want to catch:

  1. Design, measure, and cut wooden slats to act as edges of a cube or prism. The best thing is that the shape is cubic so that everyone has the same size, much simpler! 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 have to nail the slats between them with nails.
  3. Measure the mesh so that when cut it is large enough to hug 4 faces, followed by the structure.
  4. Once cut, place it around the structure, strengthening it with straps to serve as a wall.
  5. Now you will have to make the two pieces for the remaining sides.
  6. Cut another piece of mesh shaped like a half circle.
  7. Make a cone with it. There must be a very wide mouth for the fish to enter easily and a very narrow one through which they can pass but find it very difficult to retreat; justita, justita! Therefore, choose well what your prey will be.
  8. Secure the cone also with wire, strap, or flanges.
  9. Join the cone by its wide base to one of the faces of the trap, leaving the cone inside it. Do it with wire this time.
  10. Place inside the flexible mesh the bait of your choice and the plumb line.
  11. Put this mesh inside the trap as well.
  12. Once the cone and bait are inside, it strengthens the sides that have been pending.
  13. Cut the circle of the side that corresponds to the base of the cone.
  14. If you wish, you can tie the box to a rope at the top to stretch it when you want to pick up.