Food gathering will become one of the main chores should you find yourself back in the boonies, but if you develop a survival mindset now, it won’t be so difficult later on. Whether you get lost on a camping trip, or the worst case scenario happens and we do have a total world melt down, preparing now means you have less to do later on. one of the things we can do is to is to prepare a survival pack, or packs. I discussed this in an earlier post, and one of the things I put in mine is a mini fishing kit for the just in case scenario.
All of what you see in the photo to the right fits into that little York© mint can that some candy came in. I picked that particular can for a couple of reasons, and these same reasons should be your guide in choosing your own can. One reason is that being a round can, there are no corners to snag in the pocket it may be carried in. Secondly, the shiny interior of the can will double as a signal mirror, meaning I do not have to carry a regular mirror, conserving space and weight.
The can is also one of the pressure close type that is pretty secure. Some cans with the hinged lids may not stay securely shut after several uses, and you could end up with hook line and sinker all over the place. Also, while not very big, the bottom can also double as a small cooking vessel. It would be the perfect size to quickly melt some pine pitch to make a quick glue type repair or to use to seal a seam on your leaky tent.
As this is purely a survival kit, I wouldn’t waste time with frills. When you are lost and need food, go for the quick kill. Catch and release doesn’t put much of a supper on the table. Therefore, I elected not to include things like flies and lures, and intend to use locally available food for the fish I would be catching. There is enough room in the can for a couple or three flies if you so desire, but it isn’t necessary. What you really want to have plenty of is hook and line. This kit gives both to you and leaves room for more.
I had a box of fishing line on a small spool, 110 yards of it. 330 feet is without doubt more than enough for any emergency fishing needs, but you can do so much more with the line beyond fishing. You can make snares and catch maybe a rabbit or two for example. If it is winter, you can use the line to help build a pair of emergency snowshoes. Use your imagination, and get your ideas all in a row before heading out. That way there’ll be no question as to whether you needed it or not.
I also included a bag of small crappie hooks and a bag of split shot sinker. The sinkers may not be needed, but they take up little room so the worth of taking them is positive. I also included a package of Eagle Claw© Snell hooks as well. They come pre-tied on a leader which makes setting up an outfit in the dark or cold that much easier. When you are hungry, cold, wet and tired it can be a chore to tie a knot on those little hooks, but the big loop of the leader makes it a breeze.
Leave the paper on the spool and turn it over. You’ll notice that the spokes divide the inner part of the spool into compartments. Place the sinkers in one compartment, hooks in another and coil the Snells to put in the third compartment. The whole thing gets placed into the York© candy tin and the can is shut tight. This kit will float, so keep that in mind so it doesn’t escape on you. I keep mine in the pocket survival pack I discussed in an earlier post.
As far as bait goes, dig around on site for grubs or worms and use them on your hook. Purists would freak to do that, being of the opinion that only a dry fly should be used, but when you are in a back to the wall survival situation, all rules become secondary to survival. You may have to relearn some beliefs you hold near and dear, and if you don’t, than you will surely fail to survive. I’m not about failure and neither is this blog. It’s about survival. At some times during the year you may be able to catch flying insects such as Dragon Flies and these could be used as well, but grubs and worms are around pretty much all the time. During the winter months you probably will have to use fake bait, so if you are packing for winter survival, include some fake as well. There is enough room in the can to wind some rubber worms around the spool of line as well.
If you want to do some float fishing, as in bobbers, you can cut a small twig and slice a long strip of the bark back. Make the twig about six inches long and slice the bark from about two inches from one end, cutting towards the end and stop when one inch from the end. Slip the line through the slice and wrap the line around the twig a couple of times to secure it. With an entire spool of line you’ve enough to either simply throw the baited line in and slowly pull it back towards you, being careful to feel for bites to the bait.
If you are uncomfortable with that means and need a pole, any long switch will do the job. Willow is probably the best. A piece about six to eight feet long, and no more than two inches in diameter at the butt end should do. Make sure you trim off all of the branches flush with the main stem.
Tie about fifteen to twenty feet of line to the end of the switch, dependent upon your needs. As an option, you could still leave the line intact with the spool line instead of simply cutting a length off from the spool. Just make sure that it is securely tied to the smaller end of the switch so as not to lose it when that super sized lunker grabs your bait and runs with it.
And like I said, you can also use the line for making snares and a multitude of other chores requiring a small diameter line for tying. We’ll get into snares and such in other posts, but for now, have fun surviving the times.