Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A trip to the Recycling Man

One of my coffee drinking buddies supplements his retirement income by doing a little bit of recycling on the side.  We have a mutually beneficial relationship.  I clean up my garage and yard by hauling my recyclables to him.   I tell him what I am in the market for and he finds it and sets it aside for me.

For example, I want to build a small blacksmith forge.  My friend found me a clothes drier that I parted out for the fan/motor/ducting.  He also found me a length of railroad rail to use as an anvil.

Today he was parting out microwave ovens.  Magnets, transformers, capacitors, copper wire.

Picture from HERE

During idle chit-chat he informed me that shopping carts make stealthy fish traps.  People are used to seeing them in the rivers, especially beneath bridges. Another reason they are stealthy is that people associate certain classes of people with shopping carts and the mere act of pushing one renders the pusher invisible.

Picture from HERE

The rear of the cart is hinged and a little bit of creative thinking can turn that into a trap door for fish and turtles.  Part of the beauty of the shopping cart fish trap is that same trap door is large enough to make removing the catch a snap and that the shopping carts are very ruggedly made.  Something like poultry netting must be stretched across the top.

My friend even suggested enhancing the bottom of the trap door with the grille from a BBQ to create a row of curved, springy wires when the catch is entering.  With a little bit of judicious snipping, those same springy wires can present sharp points to any catch attempting to escape .  Basically, his advice was to play with it until you reliably caught fish.

I learn something new every day.


This is a quick primer on trapping fish.  It is not intended to be comprehensive

  • Position your trap in a jurisdiction that does not outlaw trapping fish or find some native-American ancestors or be prepared to possibly run afoul of the law.
  • Position your trap in water deep enough to hold fish
  • Position your trap so the entrance is downstream.  Fish will follow the scent plume back to the trap and the scent plume is entrained in the current.
  • Position your trap so fish following the scent plume will be funneled by natural features into the entrance to the trap
  • Position the bait near the upstream end of the trap
  • Bait appropriately
    • Tying bait in an old sock makes it easier to hang
    • Bait for catfish includes but is not limited to pet food, fish offal from previous catch, road kills and bar soap.
      • Dissolving soap  produces a plume of short fatty-acids (fats/oils) and sodium ions (like in blood).  It is also cheap, compact, stores and transports well.  And contrary to olfactory evidence, it has not been made illegal in most US jurisdictions.
    • Bait for carp includes but is not limited to baked goods (old donuts will catch carp the size of Homer Simpson), perforated bags of frozen sweet corn, spoiled fruit.
Inspect your traps daily (or nightly).


  1. Interesting... And might come in handy...

  2. A country boy will survive. Even if he is trapped in the city. Somebody ought to write a song....

    I hope your trip is going well.

    Best regards,