An adequate fishing kit can be compacted and put in a survival kit, but if you’re out in the wilderness without that kit, don’t despair.
Fish are an excellent source of protein, and with the right knowledge and some practice, catching fish on your own without a fishing kit is more than possible.
1. Hand fishing
The best locations to go hand fishing are in warm, shallow waters along banks and logs, and underneath rocks. The easiest kinds of fish to catch using this method are catfish, but then again, “easy” may not be the most appropriate word. Hand fishing also requires a great deal of patience. Keep your hands in the water for an extended period of time to bring them to roughly the same temperature as the water, and if a fish does come to within your grasp, grab it by the mouth and/or gills. You may also want to hold an improvised hook under the water to increase your chances of holding the fish.
2. Improvised hooks and lines
An entire article could be written about the different materials that can be turned into fish hooks. Examples include safety pins, nails, needles, paper clips, bones, wood and best of all, a soda can tab. As for fishing line, you can use any materials you have on you such as strands of clothing, wire, sinew and vines. Lures can be improvised out of jewelry, and bait can be insects and frogs or even a colorful piece of cloth.
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3. Improvised nets
If you don’t have a fishing net, that’s fine. You can make your own improvised fishing nets with clothes, towels or blankets stretched between two sticks. Look for shallow water where schools of small fish are abundant, and push the fish toward a bank or a dead end. Once you reach the fish, lift the net quickly and see what you caught. Net fishing is best used to catch as many small fish at once as possible, in contrast to catching larger fish.
4. Spear fishing
While there are professional-grade fishing spears sold at nearly any sporting goods store, you can easily make one in the wilderness. The best material is a piece of green willow wood. You can tie a knife to the end, or sharpen the end of the wood to the point, or cut jagged edges roughly an inch apart from one another.
The limitation to spear fishing is that it can only be done on larger fish, requires a lot of skill, and is best done at night with a torch or light. You also need a lot of patience, and you have to be quick. It’s easy to become frustrated, so be patient and practice.
5. Trap fishing
Also known as Weir fishing, this is a more traditional fishing method where you put three stakes in the water downstream to construct a V-shape. Then, close two sides with cloth, rocks, more stakes, or any other material you can use, while keeping the end facing upstream open. Sit and wait for fish to swim into the V, and then close off the end to keep the fish trapped. You can either catch the fish by hand or spear it, but the result is the same: dinner.
What are your survival fishing methods? Share your tips in the section below: