How to Create a Simple Electrofishing System

How to Create a Simple Electrofishing System


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Electrofishing can be ah effective and relatively safe way to catch fish in ponds, rivers and streams.

However, it is important to mention that this method is not legal in all areas, and you will need to do

your due diligence in order find a spot where you can fish with electricity. The principles are very

basic. You connect electrodes or wires to a power source, insert them into the water, crank up the

electricity and watch the fish in the area become momentarily stunned and flutter towards the surface.

Let’s take a look at how to build a rudimentary device in order to give you a general idea of how this

system works.


The Components

The best option for personal, non-scientific use is to attach leads, or exposed wires to fiberglass poles

and connect them to a battery or generator. Remember that you will need to attach positively charged

wires that extend from the power source to each pole. You can do this by either wrapping the ends of

each wire to the positive terminal, or you can rig it into a splitter that only requires one wire coming

from the source before allowing you to connect multiple wires through the device. You also want to

make sure that you are grounding the power source as well.


You can use as many or as few poles as you like. Keep in mind that a small power source and one or

two poles will have a limited range once in the water. Using more poles, perhaps attaching them to the

sides of your boat, along with a more powerful generator or battery will produce a stronger current.

However, you don't need a lot of electricity to shock fish, and the aim is to keep them from moving and

cause them to float near the surface just long enough for you to net them.


The best and most portable options for power include small vehicle or marine batteries or an old hand-

cranked military phone. Military phones have been a fisherman's favorite for years due to their

reliability, ease of use and ability to generate an electrical charge without the need for a fuel source.

You can also use a small, motorized generator, but it will be noisy and require a steady supply of fuel.

In any case, simply attach the live wires to the positive connector and ground the other side to a portion

of the boat that is surrounded by non-conductive material.


Using the System

You may want to consider wearing protective gloves along with footwear to ground yourself in case

you get accidentally shocked, but the current will probably not be strong enough to do you any harm.

Consider using fiberglass poles that have rubberized handles as well. You can also use aluminum pool

cleaning poles if they have handles as well. Attach the wires to the far end of the pole, and let some

wire droop from the end. Crank up the battery or phone and stick the poles into the water.


Remember that the range of the electrical current is limited to just a few feet, even if you have a lot of

poles in the water. You will need to position your boat near to where you expect to find fish and insert

the poles. Pull them up and down in a sweeping motion so that it reaches a wider area of deep as well

as shallow water. Fish should begin to come to the surface if they are near the current, and they will

remain stunned for a couple of seconds. This gives you just enough time to scoop them up with your

net. You can also collect the fish while the pole is still in the water if you can manage to control it, the

net and the boat at the same time. This method is easier to utilize if you have someone else with you or

you attach the poles to the boat.


Try this out for yourself and feel free to make modifications as necessary. You will be able to catch a

wide range of fish, both large and small, as long as they are near to where you are introducing the

current into the water. Just remember to catch only what you need, release the rest and be careful to

disconnect the wires from the power source before you bring the poles back on board.

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