How To Make A Fish Stringer: A Step By Step Guide

How to Make a Fish Stringer Feature Image

In this article we are going to teach you to make your own fisher stringer to keep fish fresh in any environment. We’ll show you cheap and easy methods to build your own fish stringer.

Types of fishing stringers

Fishing stringers come in many types, from chains with wire loops to a simple rope with a loop tied on one end.

A stringer is a piece of fishing equipment that lets you keep your caught fish alive by submerging them into the lake, pond, or river where you are fishing. Fishing stringers come in many types, from chains with wire loops to a simple rope with a loop tied on one end. The type you choose to purchase will depend on the type of fish you plan to catch, the money you plan to spend, and how much space you have in your tackle box. 

Chain Stringer

The caught fish are hooked to the clips, one to a clip.

Chain stringers can be purchased from any sporting goods store.Chain stringers are made from a three to four foot length of chain with six to ten clips attached. The caught fish are hooked to the clips, one to a clip. Be choosy when buying chain stringers. There are very inexpensive ones and some higher end brands available. Do yourself a favor and bypass the $4.00 one. The clips won’t stay secure and you’ll deal with lost fish or dead fish. It is not worth the trouble to save money buying a cheap chain stringer.

Rope Stringer

Some people prefer to use the sharp point of the metal stake to puncture the fish’s mouth, just inside the bottom jaw, rather than threading it through the gills.

A rope stringer is the simplest device for keeping fish alive. One end of the rope has a sharp piece of metal attached to the rope. The other end has a metal ring. You insert a long stiff piece of metal into the fish’s mouth and pull it out through the gill plate, then place the stringing needle through a small metal ring to secure the fish onto the line. Some people prefer to use the sharp point of the metal stake to puncture the fish’s mouth, just inside the bottom jaw, rather than threading it through the gills. No matter which type of stringer you choose to use, be sure to place it deep enough into the water that the fish stay alive. You can do this by tying the stringer to your boat or the dock, or by using a stick or tent stake to anchor into the ground near the shore. If you choose this option, you will need a length of rope to be sure the fishing stringer is completely submerged so the fish stay alive. 

Paracord stringer

A paracord stringer is the same as a rope stringer, but made out of durable nylon-wrapped rope called paracord. This rope is much stronger and more long-lasting than sisal rope or mason’s line. 

Hook-style stringer

A hook style stringer is a large piece of heavy-duty wire bent into a figure 8 type loop or bowling pin shape. The narrower top end of the wire is bent at a 90-degree angle for catching the straight pointed end, which is part of the widest part of the shape. Live fish are suspended from the wire hook by piercing the flesh of the lower jaw and inserting the rod through the mouth of the fish. This type of stringer works very well when fishing from a kayak or canoe. Simply tie a length of rope to the top of the hook and attach it to your boat with whatever method you would like.

Heavy Duty Fish Stringers

Heavy-duty fish stringers are beefed-up versions of the other stringer types. This might mean the hooks or the chain is stronger or plastic wrap. Heavy duty rope stringers usually have plastic tubing over joints and connections. The ring at the end might be stronger. 

DIY: Make Your Own Fish Stringer

You can make your own fish stringer easily with just a few materials.

You can make your own fish stringer easily with just a few materials. The simplest DIY fish stringer uses a length of nylon rope and a six to eight-inch piece of metal from a clothes hanger. 

Materials needed:

  • Six to eight foot length of paracord or lightweight rope
  • Six to eight inch piece of strong, straight metal

It might take a little time, but if you have forgotten your stringer or suddenly find your livewell or cooler full, you can continue fishing without worried about your catch rotting in the bottom of the boat.

Step 1:

Use your pliers to bend the end of the wire a little bit until it forms a loop. Twist the loop to secure the wire to itself. This will serve as your stringing needle.

Step 2:

Feed one end of your rope through the loop and tie it securely with a clinch knot or a uni knot. Be sure to pull the line tight after you make the last wrap. You will find the paracord is harder to cinch down than monofilament or braided line.

Step 3:

At the other end of your rope, form a ring by tying the paracord to itself using a surgeon’s loop or perfection loop. 

Step 4:

To use the stringer, thread the metal needle through the fish’s mouth and out his gills. Pass the needle through the loop you made at the free end of the line. This will secure the fish. You can thread another fish on in the same way. Simply feed the needle through the mouth and out the gill then through the loop. 

Another easy DIY fish stringer

As a kayak fisherman, I want to keep my catch fresh without having a long trailing rope hanging behind and interfering with my paddle. I have discovered a way to make a kayak fishing stringer that attaches to the grab handle of my boat. If you don’t have a grab handle you can attach a small rope cleat to your kayak railing.

Materials needed:

  • Extra large carabiner
  • Leader line cut into 18” lengths
  • Large swivel clips

Step 1: Attach a swivel clip to one end of the cut leader line using a clinch knot. I prefer the Size 3 Brad’s Duo Lock Snap Swivels.

Step 2: Form a large surgeon’s loop at the other end of each leader line. 

Step 3: String the prepared leaders onto the carabiner by slipping the loops over the metal opening and sliding them to the bottom.

Step 4: Attach the carabiner to the boat with a short piece of rope or by clipping to the grab handle. 

The nice thing about this setup is not having to constantly lift caught fish in and out of the water to place another catch on the line. Simply drop each leader line into the water as it is filled. 

Author

  • Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He is a regular on fly fishing podcasts and appeared in the international fly fishing film Predator.

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