Kids Stuff - building a handline

by Michael Bok

Hey kids do you want to try out fishing? You don't need a rod or reel because we'll build a handline and then have a go off the nearest jetty, pier or out of a boat.

You will need the following items:

a. A round piece of wood, cork or plastic tube about 50 mm wide and 200 mm long (these will float if you drop them).

b. Fishing line - about 50 metres of 4 kg breaking strain should be plenty.

c. Some hooks, swivels and sinkers.

Now to build your handline:

1. First tie one end of the line to the wood, cork or plastic and then wind on the fishing line.

2. Our next step is to fit a hook and sinker to our handline. Cut a piece of line about 400 mm from the end of the line. Slide a sinker up the line that is left on the handline (remember we only need a sinker big enough to get our bait to the bottom and hold it there). Now tie a swivel to the end of the line using a clinch, or locked half blood knot. Practice this knot with a piece of string until you can do it well. You can use this know for most of your fishing.

We now have a sinker that is free to run up the line. We do this so that when a fish picks up the bait we can let him take a bit of line without feeling the weight of the sinker.

Next we tie the piece of fishing line we cut of before. Tie one end to the swivel and the other to the hook using the same knot. When you have done this, we have out simple handline and can go fishing.

You could use this in a river, off a wharf or out of a boat. You cold also build this handline on some of the cheap handcasters that most fishing tackle stores sell. The Alvey brand only cost a couple of dollars and will last forever.

The next thing we need is some bait - a packet of prawns is ideal. These are great bait for most fish. Pull of the head and shell and just use the meat from the tail. Put the prawn tail on the hook, making sure that the barb is not covered. This makes it easier to get the hook to stick in the fishes mouth when it bites. Now lets wander down to the local jetty and see how our handline works. Remember your sunscreen and hat. If the jetty is in deep water, lower your baited line down near the posts that hold up the jetty (pylons). The fish love this sort of area - then wait and see what happens. If the jetty is in water that is a bit shallow unwind some of your line and throw out the end with the sinker and bait making sure you hold the handline. If you are fishing in a river that has no jetties, look for an area that has a weed bed and throw your bait near that.

A clinch, or locked half blood knot is one of the most common knots for joining line to hooks swivels and terminal tackle. Generally the finer the line the more turns should be taken. Pass the line through the eye of the hook, swivel or lure and make 5 turns around the main line. Hold the cols in place and thread the line back through the loop above the eye. Then thread the line back through the large loop/ Hold the tag end and ensuring the coils don't over lap - tighten slowly. Clip tag end.