How to Make a Fishing Billy Club: It’s Easier Than You Think

September 15, 2021

If you go fishing regularly, then you know that having a good billy club to quickly dispatch caught fish is necessary. Not only is it more humane than simply letting them die slowly, but it also helps preserve their meat from stress and shock. So do you know how to make a fishing billy club? Did you even know you can make one from scratch?

Well, you can! And lucky for you we will outline exactly what you need to make one at home. In this article, we’ll go over the supplies and tools needed to make a fishing billy club at home. No need to buy an expensive one from the store, you can easily make one yourself with a few tools and some elbow grease. Let’s get into it.

How to Make a Fishing Billy Club: Supplies Needed

Let’s first discuss what you will need to pick up from your local hardware store. Most of these items can be found at Home Depot or your family-owned hardware store.

Supplies Needed

  • 1 to 2 inch wide wooden dowel
  • 2 to 3 ounces of lead weight (we like to use tube weight)
  • Power drill
  • Hack saw or power saw
  • Sand paper
  • Wood glue or gorilla glue
  • Spray paint
  • Shoe lace

How to Make a Fishing Billy Club: Step by Step Guide 

Fishing rod

After you have bought the above supplies, it’s now time to make your fishing billy club! Follow the below steps. Note: take your time when measuring and cutting! Be sure to measure twice and cut once.

Steps to Make the Club

  1. Measure how long you want your billy club to be. We made ours 2 feet long (this ensures you can get enough velocity on the weighted tip to properly kill the fish with one blow).
  2. Cut your wooden dowel to your desired length with your hack saw or band saw. If you have a chop saw this will also work well. 
  3. Now it is time to add your lead weight to the tip of your billy club. The lead weight will give your billy club more momentum so when you strike your caught fish it will kill it faster.
  4. Weigh out and measure how much lead you want to add to your wooden dowel. We added 3 ounces of lead weight to our club. Drill a hole in the top of your dowel using a drill bit that is just slightly bigger than your lead tubing. This will allow you to slide the lead into the dowel and secure it with glue.
  5. After drilling a hole that fits the amount of lead you want to add, slide the lead down into the dowel to make sure it fits. Then squeeze some glue into the empty hole and slide the lead back in.
  6. Now you need to wait for the glue to dry! We recommend waiting 24 hours for the glue to fully set.
  7. Once the glue has fully set, you can then cut off any extra lead protruding from the tip and sand down so it is flush with the dowel.
  8. Now if you want to add a hanging loop, drill a hole through the opposite end of the billy club. This is where you will tie the shoe lace so you can hang the billy club conveniently somewhere in the bow of your boat.
  9. Next is the fun part: you get to paint your billy club! We painted ours black and named it the enforcer.
  10. Once your paint/design is dry, tie the shoe lace through the whole on the end and you should be good to go! 

Billy Club FAQs

What is a Fishing Billy Club Used For?

A fishing billy club is used to quickly kill a caught fish that the fisherman intends to keep or eat. Instead of letting the fish die slowly of asphyxiation (not being able to breathe), the more human choice is to quickly kill the fish. 

That’s where the billy club comes in. Most small fish can be quickly killed by hitting them on the top of the head with a club. Larger fish may also be dispatched by using your billy club, but you might also need to use an ice pick. This is the most common way to kill bluefin tuna and yellowfin tuna.

Are Billy Clubs Humane?

Compared to letting a fish slowly die, yes we think billy clubs are humane. Killing an animal is a serious decision, so only kill fish you plan on keeping to eat or as a trophy. 

Otherwise, let the fish go quickly! Ideally, you should let the fish go while it is still in the water. If you want to take pictures, only hold it out of the water for a short period. 

The longer the fish is out of the water, the more it will struggle and potentially mortally wound itself.

Where Can I Buy a Billy Club?

If you would rather just buy a billy club instead of making one from scratch, you can usually find them at common sports equipment or hunting stores.

You can also find some of our favorite ones on amazon: such as the JSHANMEI Fishing Priest Fish Whacker Fish Bat.

These premade billy clubs work great for dispatching fish of all sizes, they just cost more than making one yourself. We also think it is fun to build your own fishing tools.

Can I Use a Baseball Bat as a Billy Club?

The short answer is yes, you can absolutely use an old baseball bat as a billy club! Metal baseball bats actually make great billy clubs, minus the fact that they take up significant space on your boat.

But if you have a larger boat with an off-shore bracket or extra storage room in the back then a baseball bat will work great. See if you can use a kid’s bat since they are smaller than adult bats.

How Hard Do I Need to Swing a Billy Club?

How hard you need to swing the billy club to kill a fish depends on the species of fish and how large it is.

We would recommend swing swiftly but not too hard – smaller fish will die with one strong blow to the head, so no need to wind up or swing really hard.

Swing hard enough to smash a piece of fruit.

Parting Thoughts

Having a billy club with you while fishing is an absolute must if you plan on keeping fish. It provides a quick and humane way to kill a fish instead of letting it bleed out. Not only is this the right thing to do for moral reasons, but it also helps preserve the meat as well.

We hope you enjoyed our guide on how to make a fishing billy club and found it useful. If you have further comments or questions feel free to post a comment below.

We would also love to see any pictures you have of your homemade billy clubs. 

Happy Hunting!

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