How to Carve a Fish Hook with a Penknife

Test your penknife wood carving skills by whittling a fish hook for your next outdoor fishing adventure. 

By Matt Collins
December 2017

50 Things Penknife Cover

In 50 Things to Do with a Penknife (Princeton Architectural Press) by Matt Collins, a horticultural consultant at the Garden Museum in London, showcases a practical guide for whittling with a penknife. Matt combines craftsmanship with savvy survival-skill projects that encompass a range of skills levels. Each project is accompanied by detailed step-by-step illustrations, making his book ideal for the creative adventurer.

Nothing epitomizes a riverside camping trip better than freshly caught fish cooking over an open fire. Along with a little bait and line, a homemade fish hook can provide all you’ll need to secure that campfire feast. The following steps demonstrate how to convert a forked twig into a tough and sharp hook, requiring nothing more than the trees around you and your trusty penknife. When fishing, hooks are occasionally lost or snagged under stones. While metal hooks will remain and become harmful to the environment, your wooden tackle will ultimately decompose.

Fish Hook Finished