Survival Fishing with a Hobo Reel

Recently someone on the Hoodlums Survival Forum made reference to a hobo reel, and someone responded asking what a hobo reel was. That got me to thinking: I know what one is but I have never actually tried it. Well, today my family and I took a drive to Castle Rock State Park for a picnic so I took advantage of the opportunity to try it.
I first heard of hobo reels (though perhaps not by that name) in a National Geographic magazine article by Euell Gibbons back in the 1970s. (I am getting old!) All you do is wrap your line around a bottle. If I recall correctly, Euell had used an old glass Coke bottle. Today I used a plastic water bottle. You then throw out the line, pointing the bottom of the bottle in the target direction, and the line unrolls off the bottle as if it were a spinning reel.
I had one distinct advantage over Euell: I had spiderwire, which does not have the "memory" of monofilament line. I was amazed out how easily the line unwound and how easy it was to direct the throw. I had wrapped perhaps 50-60 feet of line on the bottle, and every inch went out with never a snag.
If you haven't tried this method, be sure to do so. It's a lot of fun. And, like me, it's cheap!
Here's a nice little trick. I didn't want to stand in the sun waiting for a bite. So I cut a hole in the bottom of the bottle and put a stick through the bottle and into the ground. Think about it: in an emergency situation one could easily set up 5-10 such bottles and let the fish do the work while you tended to other camp chores.
Copyright © 2008 by Bill Qualls. Last updated July 5, 2008.
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