How to Catch Minnows and Crawdads with a Coke Bottle

A 2-liter plastic bottle has infinite uses for the hiker or woodsman, but few people realize that it can easily be converted into a minnow/crawdad trap. A few simple alterations, using items already at hand, pay off in live bait few fish can resist.

Items Needed
2-liter plastic bottle
Swiss Army Knife or multi-tool
8-penny nail
Fishing line, string or a single strand of paracord
Small rock

Step 1: Cut the Bottle
Remove the upper part of the bottle using your knife or scissors. Your cut should begin 1/2 inch below the bottle’s sloping shoulder. Make your cut as straight as possible.

Step 2: Poke Holes and Create a Funnel
Remove the screw cap. Insert the cut portion of the bottle, neck first, into the bottle’s body. Make certain the edges line up, hold them firmly, and poke 9 holes through both pieces. The holes should be roughly equidistant around the bottle’s circumference. The easiest method is to heat an 8-penny nail in your campfire, hold it with pliers and push it through the plastic.

Step 3: Weight the Bottle and Stitch the Trap Together
Cut 8 pieces of string, each 4 to 5 inches long. Run the string through each set of holes, tie them in a permanent knot and trim the tag ends. Run a long piece of line through the 9th set of holes and tie it off in a knot. This is the trap’s anchor line, and must be long enough to reach the bank (at least 6 to 8 feet).

Step 4: Cut a Trap-Door Flap
Cut a 3-sided flap through the bottle about 4 inches from the bottom. Poke a hole in the flap and a corresponding hole in the bottle. Drop your rock into the bottle to help it submerge. Tie the flap shut before submerging, but don’t make the knot permanent. You’ll open this trap door to add bait and to remove your catch.

Step 5: Bait the Trap, Anchor and Submerge
Drop chunks of bread, broken crackers, bits of meat or dogfood into the bottle using the trap door. Tie it shut. Tie the anchor line to the bank and sink the trap. It’s best to submerge it in relatively shallow, slow-moving water.

A trap of this size usually catches 5 or 6 minnows and a couple of crawdads every 24 hours. They can easily swim in, but have no idea how to escape.