Handline Fishing is one of the most satisfying and fun ways to catch a fish.
Handlining is primitive, raw and so much more rewarding than using complicated fishing rigs. Using your hands to catch your dinner is almost a magical experience.
Handline or Hand Line, Fishing is simply holding the fishing line in your hand rather than using a fishing pole (not to be confused with Handfishing or Noodling). Obviously, Handline Fishing is great for survival situations or ultralight backpackers but the sport is actually gaining in popularity. There’s plenty of great Handline Fishing Gear out there if you’re looking for a new hobby.
All of our Survival Kits have 20 or 40 feet of fishing line. We use only 20 lb. test, braided Dyneema fishing line which is ideal for Handlining (just make sure you protect your hands). 🙂
Handline Fishing Quick Start Guide
Handlining is quite simple and doesn’t take much time to get setup.
1. Find the perfect stick
Fishing line can cut right through your hand if you catch a big enough fish, especially if you’re using braided fishing line like the kind we use in our survival kits. You’re going to need a stick, or something similar, to wrap your fishing line around. A sturdy stick about 10 inches long and at least 1 inch wide is ideal.
2. Secure your fishing line to the stick
Tie a loop in the end of your fishing line using the bowline knot or your favorite fishing knot and slide the loop around your stick. Once you have your line baited, you’re pretty much ready to start fishing. 🙂
3. Winding your line…
When you catch a fish and all of your line is in the water, make sure the loop you tied around your stick doesn’t slip – unless you want to feel like an idiot. Depending on the size of your fish, you can pull on the line directly and wind it simultaneously or you can use just the stick to wind up the line. Just move the stick in a circular motion so that the string wraps around it.
Handline Fishing Tips & Tricks
For the most part, Handline Fishing is no different from normal fishing. The big challenge you will have is that you typically can’t real in your line fast enough to use a lure or spinner bait so your options may be limited. Handlining does give you a lot of control over your fishing rig and you can obviously feel every little nibble. If you’re into using jigs then you’re in luck – you can easily mimic a real fish that’s that scouring the bottom of lake (or whatever).
Use a soda bottle as a bobber
Anything buoyant that can be attached to the end of your line is perfect. Secure your Float near the end of the fishing line and leave enough line so your bait or lure sinks to the right depth. This is a great work around if you want to use a lure. Use your makeshift float to throw your line out as far as possible.
Add multiple hooks
Obviously, more hooks in the water means more chances to catch a fish. There’s several ways to rig your line with multiple hooks. Put a float on the end of your rope and another above where your hooks will be. This will keep your bait near the surface and is great if you’re in a boat, saltwater or in a spot with lots of vegetation. Another method is to add a weight at the very end of your line and add the float above your hooks. This will put your bait in multiple depths and reduce the chance of your line getting snagged.
Be smart, take time to learn something
Hand Line Fishing is a really simple concept which is why it’s used all over the world. If you really want to catch fish like a boss, learn about the species you’re trying to catch!
Fish are not as dumb as they look and every species has a complex set of habits such as when they feed, what they prefer, how they catch their food, what depth of water they’re at, etc. Find out what local knowledge is available, be mindful of the food sources that are near body of water you’re fishing, practice, be smart and catch fish like a boss!