SCHOOL OF WILDERNESS
MEDICINE AND SURVIVAL
Copyright 2012 School Of Wilderness Medicine And Survival
How To Build a DIY Survival Fishing Rod
This is a project that I did with my family about a week ago. There was a lot of interest in building these,
so I put these instructions together. There are many ways to build something like this. I encourage you to
change this design, make it better, and figure out what works best for you.
These are mostly made of PVC pipe. I picked up
10 foot lengths of 1/2 inch PVC and 3/4 inch
PVC for about $1.50 each. You can make
several of these fishing rods with that much
First, I used a hacksaw to cut pieces of both the
1/2 inch PVC and 3/4 inch PVC that were 10
inches long. Why 10 inches? No particular
reason, you can make them whatever size you
I used some sandpaper to smooth the edges that I
had sawed and to remove the markings from the
outside of the PVC pipes.
You'll need a 3/4 inch slip cap, a 1/2 inch slip
cap, a 3/4 to 1/2 threaded connector
(female/male), and a 1/2 to 1/2 inch threaded
These fittings cost around $0.60 each.
I didn't need to use any adhesive to get the pieces
to stick together. You'll want to be able to remove
the slip caps later on anyway, since you'll be
putting you're fishing tackle into the handles.
I drilled 3 holes all the way through the 1/2 inch
PVC pipe with a 3/32 inch drill bit.
I used pieces from medium sized binder clips to
make the eyelets of the fishing rod.
Remove the silver parts and use pliers to bend
them until they look like the one on the right.
Then, clip it into the holes that you drilled
through the 1/2 inch PVC. You'll need to do
this three times.
We opted to use a premade ice fishing reel
because it would have been difficult for our kids
to build an improvised reel. However, I'll show
you a quick way to make one after I show you
how we attached these.
We paid $2.96 each for the reels.
We disassembled the reels and used the
white plastic piece on the left as a guide for
where to drill the holes into the 3/4 inch
I used the same 3/32 inch drill bit from before
to make the holes and then screwed the white
plastic piece into the 3/4 inch PVC.
Then, you simply screw the two pieces together and you've got yourself a fishing rod! Don't forget that the slip
caps come off of each end, leaving you with plenty of room for storage in both sides.
This improvised reel is made
from a spool of fishing line and
a few pieces of hardware. I
drilled a hole into the 3/4 inch
PVC with a 7/64 inch drill bit.
To secure it to the rod, I simply
put a screw through the center
of the spool and used a washer
to make it more stable. Be sure
not to tighten things too much
or the reel won't spin.
I put an eye screw into the 1/2
inch PVC to act as a guide for
the fishing line and threaded a
bolt into the plastic part of the
spool to act as a handle for the
The improvised reel works okay, but the action is not as smooth as the premade one. However, it is a little
bit smaller and doesn't cost as much.
It breaks down nicely for storage. I cut
some pieces from an old bike tire inner
tube to band the two halves together.
All of the external pieces are removable
and can be stored inside the handle with
exception of the reel itself.
So, there you have it! Go have some fun
and let me know how it turns out.