Survival Fishing

Survival Fishing. Sounds fun right? Well, let's just say it's not quite the same as grabbing some beer and some bait with a good buddy and heading out on the lake for a good time.

First off let's say you do happen to find yourself close to a lake, stream, ocean, or any kind of body of water for that matter. And we will say you have your survival kit with you. What do you do now? For time sake we will assume you have already assessed any injuries, set up shelter, and provided a way to purify water (maybe a fire and a tinfoil bowl to boil in). Now, you have decided to wait it out until you are rescued, or at least until you have a plan of action. Since it's always better to have more than one plan for food, set traps for rabbits and the like and plan to enhance your possibilities of food gathering with some fish in that nearby body of water.

Survival Fishing

Unless you have the time to spend setting on the bank with a pole made with a stick and your fishing kit (we will talk about the kit later) I suggest a different method. It's called Survival fishing. With all things considered it's more like trapping than fishing. You will have more things to take care of at camp than you will have time for. So the best course of action would be to set up your fishing gear so the fish does the work for you while you tend to shelter, water, and maybe keeping the signal fire going!

The Method: There are many ways to fish and not have to be there that will work in most situations. One of the best is a simple trout line. A heavy line stretched across a section of water with smaller drop lines with weight, hooks, and bait on them spaced 1, 2, or 3 feet apart. Drop line length can vary on all or each individual section. The main line should be a thick braided line tied to a rock or tree on one side of shore, with the other side of the line either tied the same way across the water or tied to a small rock and tossed out in the water. Both ways work well. Just bait and leave it to work its magic for a while and then check it and take off fish and re-bait as needed. Sometimes the fish will steal the bait, but on the whole, you will catch a few. Live bait works best for these, but artificial will work in a pinch.

Another way is to drop several thick lines from

several trees that overhang the water. Much like the trout line, add a smaller leader with weight and baited hook and use the same check and re-bait method as above. One can even rig a spring limb used in many rabbit traps to set the hook as soon as the fish bites.

You can also make a floating trout line much like jug fishing. Using a log and baited lines, just tie baited drop lines to a floating log, and tie the log to a retrieve line and toss it in. The moving presentation of the bait gives artificial lures action.

Using these simple guidelines you can improvise and come up with even more unmanned fishing ideas. But on the other hand if you do have a moment to spare out of camp, by all means rig up a pole and have a relaxing bit of fishing. Just that alone may give you a positive outlook on your condition. Make sure you set your unmanned rigs first.

Now let's look at a simple fishing kit you could buy from this site, or even make from your own existing tackle. And by all means feel free to add anything I may have left out.

Line: Always pack more than one type of line. I use 3 or 4 different types in 3 or 4 different strengths. A heavy 30lb test line for a main line, a medium 10lb test for a leader, and a light 5lb test for a tippet or for those times the fish are timid and won't bite a line they can easily see. All of these should be no shorter than 50ft. For trout lines also pack thick braided line or para cord, as much as you can fit.

Hooks: Again many types for many uses. Bring a range from very small, to large bass or catfish hooks. Many fish you can catch in a survival situation are small and a large hook just won't work for their small mouths. Also pack treble hooks for an increased hooking percentage. Also in many sizes.

Weights: Again many weights in many sizes to match the depth and drop speeds you will need. Try to stay with new non lead types for safety reasons.

Swivels and such: Line swivels and leader clips make line twist and breakage easier to deal with. Many sizes and styles once again.

Floats: Often a float works well with Survival Fishing methods. 2 or 3 in different sizes will suffice.

Bait: I call it bait, but it's really a combo of different lures. Small Jigs, Flies, Spoons, and plastics work very well, and pack very easily. You can even put in some commercial putty, or dough baits in small plastic bags.

Container: Keep it all together in a water tight tin or plastic box with a rust inhibitor desiccant pack inside. Then top if off with a zip-lock bag and your set.

There you have it, a simple fishing kit you can feel proud of. Just don't forget to pack it. Armed with these ideas, you should be able to keep fish on the table. Keep things simple and be safe out there.

-Jimmie Foster


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