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I was so impressed by these homemade fishing kits made by the volunteers from the Santa Fe River Area Team.  They assembled and packed over 700 of these kits in their Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes gifts for Boys 10-14 age range.

Homemade Fishing Kits you can assemble

I have to say, I actually know very little about fishing, lol!  Even now when I do go on a fishing outing with my brother, he still baits my hook for me! However, our friends from this group love fishing and have shared their experience and expertise with us.  The boys (or girls) will not only have fun but perhaps be able to help feed their family and maybe even earn a little money with their skills.  Here are their tips so we can make our own homemade fishing kits!

These homemade fishing kits would also be fun to make for many other charity groups – contact your local groups.  Scouts, youth groups, Awana, 4H, etc. would love making them.  AND they could even sell them.  These kits would also be great to keep on hand for wilderness training.

Items to include in homemade fishing kits


How to Assemble Homemade Fishing Kits

Choose Your Container!  Just like my mini sewing kits, you will need a safe container to keep all the small and sharp items together.

Type of Containers for Homemade Fishing Kits:
  • Empty and cleaned pill bottles
  • Plastic pencil boxes
  • Zippered plastic pencil or makeup cases
  • Plastic containers (like Tupperware)
  • Empty and cleaned plastic spice containers
  • Tins from Altoids, etc.  After Christmas sales have lots of plastic and metal containers on sale!
  • Avoid plastic bags – the hooks can EASILY poke through them!

Where can you get these containers?  If you like to use pill bottles/spice containers or Altoid tins, you can request people to donate to your cause. It’s a great way to recycle! Put a notice in your Church bulletin, library bulletin board, Facebook group, even local Freecycle pages.  I’ve gotten hundreds of empty pill bottles this way.
DaySpring Winter MagazineYou can also contact your neighborhood pharmacy to see if they would donate clean unused bottles to your cause!

Amazon also sells them and they are great because they don’t have child-proof caps.  They can prove to be very confusing and difficult to open.  I found THESE from Amazon.  Attach a label that says “fishing kit” to alert the recipient.

Pencil cases like THESE from Walmart are an option. Or these from Michaels.  Prices really vary on this item throughout the year.  The best time to get them would be during the July/August school supply sales when they are about $1 or check on the link to pick up some now.  You can have them shipped to your local store to save on shipping.

What to include in Homemade Fishing Kits:

  • sinkers
  • a cork or plastic bobber
  • hooks (Yes – sharp hooks are allowed in US Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes)
  • 4 to 5 yards of fishing line
  • lures
  • Optional:  nail clippers or small scissors (knives are not allowed in OCC shoebox gifts, but could be included for personal use or check with any other charity)
Where to get Supplies for Homemade Fishing Kits:

You can check locally for discounted supplies – Walmart had some clearance available with deeply discounted prices last year.  No guarantee they will be at your local store, or in the amounts you may need – but definitely worth checking.

I found a number of items online that would work if you are unable to get great sales locally:

Sinkers:  I found an assortment of sinkers available from Amazon.  One of them is pictured below:Assortment of 124 piece sinkers.

Bobbers:  If you want to use corks – the biggest challenge is acquiring enough corks (used as the “bobber”).  This year the team was able to get a donation of over 350 corks, which one of their woodworkers cut in half – so they were able to make 700 kits.  You could ask your local restaurants if they would save and donate corks for you.  Check hotel restaurants as well.  (Then using a thin skewer or awl, carefully make a small hold in the center so they can insert the fishing line – and use the cork as a bobber.)

Amazon has an assortment of plastic bobbers:

Here is an assortment of 12 bobbers.

Hooks:   Amazon has a box of 500 assorted hooks.  Walmart has THIS PACK.  And they both come in a plastic box (that you can use as a container for one of your kits!  (Yes sharp hooks are allowed in US Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, just like scissors, needles, and pins are allowed.  Not loose of course, that’s why they would be enclosed in the container or pill bottle.)

Fishing Line:  I found lots of fishing line at Amazon.  Here is a 450-yard spool, but other sized spools and weights are available.
How to assemble the fishing line for the kits:

fishing line for the homemade fishing kitsCut 4 to 5 yards lengths of fishing line.  They wrapped their line around a piece of cardboard so it wouldn’t tangle.  Either tape the end or snip 2 cuts into the cardboard.  “Catch” the line in one as you start wrapping, then “catch” the end in the second snip to secure the line.

Nail clippers:   An optional item.  They are small enough to fit into the kit and would be able to cut the fishing line easily.  Amazon sells them very inexpensively in bulk.
Extra Items to Add to your Homemade Fishing Kits:

*Some people add a LABEL to the outside that gives clear direction that it is a fishing kit.

*How about including a pair of work gloves as a special extra item?  Home Depot, Lowes or Harbor Freight all have inexpensive gloves.

*Or perhaps a foldable fishing pole from Amazon, as a WOW addition to your homemade fishing kits!

After volunteering at a Processing Center, Melissa shared on the Operation Christmas Child Facebook group, that she observed a lack of quality “filler items” (items added to a shoebox gift if large unacceptable items such as liquids had to be removed leaving a large gap).

Boy Scout Troop makes homemade fishing kits
Hawk Patrol Troop 7

Her local Boy Scout Troop (Hawk Patrol Troop 7) answered the call by making 50 Fishing Kits! She was able to bring them the following weekend.

Even if you don’t work at a processing center, drop-off locations during Operation Christmas Child Collection Week (always the third week in November) accept “filler items” as well as completed shoeboxes.

Gifts impact not only the children who will receive them, but they impact our lives as well.  From a volunteer from OCC Santa Fe River:

When I was coming home with a huge bag of donated corks on my lap, I was so thankful.  And I realized that what I held represented 700 children who will not only have the opportunity to learn how to fish, but will also be taught about becoming fishers of men.   It is not often that you get to sit and pray over something physical that is going to touch that many lives.

assemble mini sewing kits

You can also assemble mini sewing kits – for both girls and boys.

And then check out all my other Craft Tutorials as well!

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8 Comments on How to Assemble Homemade Fishing Kits

  1. Be sure to check with your local Samaritan’s Purse to see if they will accept pill bottles or any containers that originally held food stuffs. In Canada we can no longer use those items, not even water bottle caps for paint sets!! I found some nice size plastic containers in a sleeve of 4 for $1.25 at our local Dollar Tree that work very well for fishing kits and sewing kits.

    • Sheila, thank you. I do write primarily for the US reader. The US Operation Christmas Child at this time accepts all upcycled containers, no matter what its original purpose. Every sending country has many different rules. Each donor definitely needs to check the rules of their particular local charity organization.

  2. Packing Operation Christmas Child Boxes in Ohio for children all over the world.
    We already do sewing kits, and this year, I am adding some fishing kits for the boys. I am also adding Cinch Sacks to my list of items. God Bless all of the helping hands that assemble these Boxes for the kids. Our church has a packing party in early November. I have gone to Boone Tenn. for 2 years and helped check / repack the boxes and prepare them for shipping. Makes me wish I could help hand them out. Although we are small, we pack over 400 boxes each year

  3. I help facilitate packing Shoeboxes for our Church and I absolutely LOVE all your ideas. We have been meeting about twice a month all year to make things for the shoeboxes. One of the items we have made is several of is the Dolly sleeping bags and braided T-shirt Jumpropes. Next we are going to cut the tshirts narrower and try braiding them longer for a clothesline.

    Thanks so much for your inspiration!

    The link above for the foldable fishing poles from WM doesn’t work. The Amazon link said they are currently out of stock. I’ll keep checking back.

    Thanks again!

    • Thanks Suelyn! I’m so glad the posts were helpful. Craft groups are such fun aren’t they? I’m glad you clued me into the problem with the links. I had written the post several years ago and the products at the websites have changed somewhat. It appears that Walmart no longer directly sells foldable fishing rods at this time. The ones they do list are all third party and I have had difficult in the past with Walmart backing any problems. However I just updated the post and added an additional folding fishing pole from Amazon in the post (and left the old one in just in case they restock). Amazon has great customer service and definitely stands behind all the products sold there.

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