Script .13

Notes to broadcasters

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Information on this subject area was requested by DCFRN participants in Bangladesh, Burundi, Chile, El Salvador, Fiji, Ghana, India, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Uganda.

Presenter: George Atkins

Special note

Before using the information in this item please read the note at the end concerning a related DCFRN Item.


Suggested introduction

We at this radio station are part of a worldwide information network that gathers farming information from developing countries all over the world. It’s the Developing Countries Farm Radio Network, sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency, Massey Ferguson, and the University of Guelph.

Through this Network, we bring you information on ways to increase food supplies for your family, or to sell—ways that other farmers have used successfully.

Today we’ll talk once again about a simple way of catching fish.

We’ve talked before about catching small fish in a trap made of a section of bamboo. That method is used in Papua New Guinea.

Well, more recently Farm Broadcaster Harfe-Harlolo in Ghana has told us of another way of doing it. He says people, even school children in his country, catch fish in shallow lagoons using traps made out of old 1-litre (1 quart) glass bottles.

To make a fish trap out of a bottle like that, the bottom of the bottle must be removed and there must be a small hole right through the cork.

I’ll tell you now about two different ways of removing the bottom from an old bottle.

To begin with, it’s best if you have a bottle made of clear glass. For the first method, you’ll need some clean dry sand and a small stone or hammer.

Harfe-Harlolo says to start by filling the bottle with the sand. Knock the bottom of the bottle on the ground gently several times so the sand will pack down well. Put in more sand and then the cork. The bottle must be entirely full of well-packed sand.

Now turn the bottle upside down and tap the bottom gently with the small stone or hammer until the bottom breaks out of the bottle.

Now for the other way of removing the bottom of a bottle to make a fish trap. For it, you’ll need a little used engine oil and an iron rod at least 50 or 60 centimetres (2 feet) long. The rod must be thin enough to be able to put it into the bottle. You’ll also need to have a fire so you can heat up one end of the rod.

Now you’re ready to remove the bottom of the bottle. To do this, pour a small amount of the used engine oil into the bottle—about 2 centimetres (1 inch) in the bottom will be enough. Next take the iron rod out of the fire and carefully put the hot end of the rod inside the bottle so it goes down into the oil. The oil will heat up right away and the bottom will break out at the level of the oil.

So there are two ways to remove the bottom of a bottle you’re going to use as a fish trap.

Of course, where the bottom has been broken out of the bottle, the glass will be very sharp. You must therefore grind those sharp edges so you won’t cut yourself. You can do this with a stone or in sand or soil.

There’s only one more thing to do to complete this glass bottle fish trap. You now need a very thin iron rod and the fire to heat up one end of it.

Put the cork in the bottle, and with the hot end of this iron rod, burn a small hole right through the cork.

This glass bottle fish trap is particularly good for two reasons. First, it’s heavy so that when you put it down under the water, it will stay where you put it.

And second, if it’s made of clear glass, you’ll be able to see when fish are in it.

Now what about bait for your trap? People in Ghana use a piece of partly-cooked cassava. They put this inside the neck of the bottle trap, and that’s all they need to catch fish in a lagoon, in water that’s 1/2 to 1 metre (2 to 3 feet) deep.

By the way, to make it easy to find the trap in the lagoon, they get a long stick. They plant it firmly in the bottom of the lagoon so it sticks up out of the water right at the place where they put the trap.

Harfe-Harlolo says that in one lagoon he knows about, one person using five or more fish traps like this can keep busy laying traps and harvesting fish. That’s because only five to 10 minutes after laying a trap at the base of one of the sticks, it will have fish in it. He also says that this method of trapping fish is used during the daytime.

One more thing. Harfe-Harlolo warns you, “When the fish trap is in the water and has fish in it, before you pick it up, put your hand over the open end so the fish inside won’t get away.”

Serving Agriculture, the Basic Industry, this is George Atkins.




1. This is the second DCFRN item on the subject of trapping fish. It is an extension of the theme that was presented in DCFRN Item 9C in Package 4 – A Simple Fish Trap. Please repeat the information in that item before using this information.

2. All information in this item was received as a fully prepared script with illustrations from DCFRN participant A. S. Harfe-Harlolo in Ghana.