Hand line fishing kit carved out of wood

My First Inspiration to Carve

I can very clearly remember the first time I was inspired to make something with wood and a knife. I would have been no older than 5 at the time, watching a movie with my parents about a man who had to survive in the woods after his plane crashed. I cannot remember the name of the movie or anything else that happened in it, but I can very clearly picture a man with a Swiss army knife who had carved himself a crude device to store his fishing hooks. It looked something like this:

Whittled branch fishing hook holder
A quick sketch of a whittled fishing hook holder.

That image has stuck with me to this day, along with the inspiration to create, in particular with sticks and pocket knives. After seeing that movie, I had to wait a couple years before I was allowed to carry one of my own, but in the meantime I remember pouring over magazines looking for pocket knife ads. A friend and I had a game where we’d flip through and race to put our finger on the images, whoever touched the knives first, of course, “won” them.

My dad gave me my first knife when I was seven. I was so proud! It was in the style of your typical classic buck knife with one blade that was about an inch and half long. He’d given me many rules, but an important one that I remember was that I was not allowed to bring it to school. So when I did and lost the privilege to carry my pocket knife, I was devastated!

Fast forward to present day, I’ve owned more knives than I can care to remember, and I still feel that urge to create things out of wood. In particular, I am very fond of creating functional things like bobbins and utensils and various bits of equipment (tripods, broom handles, tent pegs, etc.).

This week, with the fresh acquisition of my fishing licence, I decided to make myself my own version of that fishing kit young me saw in the movie so long ago.

Whittled branch fishing hook holder
Tackle storage handle closed

I enjoyed carving this hand reel out of some ash that my friend collected for me on her walk (I am constantly happy that my friends know that good sticks and boughs make great gifts for me!). Carving this took place over three fun phone conversations with friends, one of whom was the gifter of the materials. I used a brace and bit to hollow out the handle for tackle storage and drill the holes for the lanyards.

Whittled branch fishing hook holder
Tackle storage handle open.

While I found some serious oversights in my design as I went about loading the line on (seriously, though, how much line was I thinking I’d need to load up for a hand line!), I am happy with it. And already have ideas for better versions. And since this is a tool that’s likely many thousands of years old, I’ll look to the history books for better designs next time.

The trout and salmon have been very active the past couple weeks, so I can’t wait to get out to the creek later this evening to try it out. I will update this post when I make my first catch!

What first inspired you to whittle or carve wood?

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Happy whittling!

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