Gone Fishin’

Feb 21, 2023

Gone Fishin’

Scott Tripp

Here’s another one of my favorite interactive balloon toys. Just like the Magic 8-Ball I told you about a few months ago, if you make this balloon in a restaurant, it will keep the whole table busy playing with their balloons while their food gets cold. This is the standard fish on a fishing pole balloon, but with a twist. To make the sculpture, you will need a blue 260, a gray 260, two clear 260s, a 321 bee body, a water balloon or small round (not pictured), and two magnets. The magnets come in packages of anywhere from 10 to 50 in most craft stores. The larger packages generally cost less per magnet, so I usually buy in bulk. These are called 1/2″ button magnets, and they’re pretty strong.

image imageStart by stretching the lip of the blue 260 over one of the magnets. Once you get the magnet inside, inflate the balloon most of the way, leaving maybe a 1/2-inch tail. Give the balloon a nice, satisfying burp, and tie it off. In the photos that follow, I’m working with a clear balloon so that you can see the magnet inside. This is just to demonstrate, please continue on with your blue balloon! Twist the 260 at about the halfway point. Unless something went horribly wrong, the magnet is inside one of the two bubbles that you just created. Make another twist, just after the magnet, trapping the magnet inside its own bubble. Twist slowly, using a thumb and index finger to pinch the magnet, squeezing the air out of the bubble. Now you should have one long 260 balloon, twisted in half, with what looks like a shrink-wrapped button between them.

image image imageNow fold the balloon in half, and make a one-inch bubble before the magnet, and another one after the magnet. Lock twist these bubbles together. Voila, fish lips.

image image imageInflate your water balloon to around golf ball size, and twist in half. Twist this around the fish lips to make eyes.

image imageMake a small, maybe 1/2-inch bubble at each end of the 260, and lock twist them. Now you have sort of a football with a fish face on one end. Twist the football shape in half, giving you goggles with fish face. Make the fish’s tail by bringing the two small bubbles (knot end and nipple end) to the center of the goggles. Position one of the tiny round bubbles on each side of the fish, to help hold the tail in place. If that doesn’t make sense, ignore everything I just said and look at the photos below.

image image imageGive the tail a little shape, and draw pupils on the eyes with your marker of choice. If you want to fill in the body area, stuff in a small round balloon or a 6-inch heart.

image imageWith the fish ready, we move onto the pole. You probably know how to do this already, but I love being painfully thorough. Inflate your gray or silver 260 most of the way, leaving a 1/2-inch to 1-inch tail. Tulip twist the knot. Make a long bubble for the handle, 6 or 7 inches long. Add a 1-inch pinch twist, followed by a 3-inch or so loop twist.

image image imageTo add the reel, inflate your 321 bee balloon about halfway. I like to use a blue or green 321 balloon, because it makes Rob Balchunas send me angry e-mails. Poke the knot back inside the balloon to tulip twist it, leaving a little of the air at the stem to make a little bubble for the handle-winder thing (That’s right, I know my technical fisherman terms!). Split the large bubble in half, and attach it to pinch twist on the rod.

image image imageNow you need the fishing line. Drop the remaining button magnet inside one of the clear 260s. Inflate the balloon all the way, and let the magnet fall all the way to the nipple end of the balloon. Let all the air out, leaving the magnet stuck at the very tip of the balloon. Blow up the last clear 260, and let the air out. This helps stretch and soften the balloon. Tie the two clear 260s together to make a long fishing line, and attach the line to the end of the pole by making a small 1-inch bubble at the end of the gray 260, and tying the fishing line around it.

image image imageThis completes the Fish on a Fishing Pole Game. Put the fish on the table if you are working a restaurant, or the floor if you are at a birthday party. Hand the fishing pole to your balloonee, and see if he or she can catch their own fish!

image image imageFor extra fun, make several magnet fish, and hand fishing poles to all the kids. See who can catch the most fish.