You should always have a survival fishing kit in your gear if the time comes for you to gather food quickly in an emergency situation.
Did you know that in survival situations, one of the best sources of fresh food comes from bodies of water?
Fishing allows you to expend less energy and you can harvest a large amount of food from a relatively short sitting.
But here's the thing:
Survival fishing is much different than normal sport fishing most of us enjoy so well. We need basics that are durable and will survive hard use for an extended period of time.
In this article, we will describe the components that should go into everyone’s emergency fishing kits and some of the best products on the market to include in it.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, where I make a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Why Make My Own Survival Fishing Kit?
Here is the problem with most commercial kits: they do not provide the amount and quality of materials needed to consistently catch fish in survival situations.
You get a low pound test line, a poorly made lure, and a couple of steel hooks that are going to rust after using one time.
A lot of the survival blogs out there describing kits do not seem to have much experience fishing.
Some string, a floater, and a piece of plastic for a lure are not going to bring in food. You need better survival fishing gear than that.
What To Include
A well thought out and planned kit made now will save you a lot of time and energy.
Trying to fish with handmade hooks, poles, and line is going to take up a lot of time and will not be durable or land you a lot of fish.
We laid out the items that you should include in your own kit.
All of the items listed, besides the rod and reel, should be able to fit in a compact case to make storing and traveling more convenient.
Fishing Rod And Reel
It’s pretty obvious this would be included, but there is more that goes into picking a rod for your survival kit than you might think.
Durability should be the first checkmark in a survival fishing pole.
You need a rod that can be hauled around, knocked around, pulled through the mud, and still able to fish time after time.
You need a rod that can be easily carried.
A fishing rod that can be broken down into three or four pieces will make it much easier to carry from camp to camp without being unwieldy and awkward.
You need a rod that is simple. A basic, open-faced rod is terrific and easily taken apart in the case of a tangle or mechanical problem.
You are not going to need a high-end baitcaster to launch your simple hook and worm 50 yards.
Keeping it simple will reduce down time trying to fix your rod instead of catching fish. Ugly Stix manufactures a rod that is durable and only 5’ in length.
It also breaks down into three separate pieces making travel easy.
Look, if it came down to it you could rig up a piece of bamboo, stick, or just flip the line out with your hand, but the increase in the number of fish a rod and reel will bring in is exponentially greater than the aforementioned methods.
There are a couple things to consider when deciding what type of fishing line to include in your kit.
First is the type of fishing line. The three main types are monofilament, braided, and fluorocarbon.
For this kind of fishing we recommend going with a braided line. The reason for this is the strength of the line.
In survival situations you want a line that has little chance of breaking from a snag.
You are also going to want a line with a strong pound test but small enough to not spook the smaller to medium fish.
We would recommend 15-25 pound test line. This will cover the average sized fish and not risk breaking the line.
Both KastKing and Spiderwire produce excellent braided line in a variety of colors and pound test.
The line comes in a compact spool, making storage in with your other gear in a small container easy and manageable.
Don’t gamble on your hook choice.
You’re not going to want to go down the road of whittling out some hooks from wood when you are growing hungry.
You want a high quality hook that will not begin to corrode after a few minutes in the water.
Eagle Claw is a dependable hook and also produces bait holder versions that will keep your live bait hooked securely while in the water.
The biggest consideration is hook size. Catching a big fish that could feed several people is great, but in reality there are a lot more smaller to medium sized fish in the water.
Going with too large of hooks will make it difficult to land the majority of fish.
We recommend staying within the 2-3/0 range. This range will cover larger fish, but also allow you to easily set the hook on smaller fish that will still provide some meat.
A pack of split shot weights will do wonders for your success.
In emergency fishing scenarios, anything that increases the chance of catching fish should be included in your kit.
Split shot will allow you to get your bait out farther, covering more water, and also get lighter bait down into deeper water.
We like the reusable split shot. Eagle Claw makes excellent split shot in a variety of different weights.
It might be beneficial to look around for some compact kits that provide a variety of different weights. In survival situations, anything that can give you multiple uses is an advantage.
A good pair of pliers should be included in your general survival kit.
There are various pliers designed specifically for fishing and can be beneficial, but a good set of needle nose pliers will get the job done.
Ideally, you have some pliers built into your multi-tool that you have on you for survival situations.
Having pliers built into your multi-tool saves space and weight.
All of the fish you catch will need to be cleaned and unless you are limiting yourself to trout, they will need to be scaled as well.
You will most likely have a knife in your survival bag already, but it might not be a bad idea to add a scaling knife.
It will greatly reduce the time and effort needed to clean your catch.
The serrated back is made for scaling.
Wait, What About Lures!
Again, what we are stressing is catching fish in abundance and with minimal effort.
We all love catching a big brown trout or largemouth on our favorite lure, but it’s not efficient.
We lose lures and eventually they will break down. They also require cast after cast.
We want to conserve as much energy as possible.
Having to remake flies or lures takes time and even more resources. If you have some lures, there is no reason not to use them, but the best bet is live bait.
It doesn’t take ten minutes to rustle up night crawlers, grasshoppers, or even less savory baits for catfish.
Live bait is inexhaustible and as long as you have a well-planned kit you can have a source of food for a long time.
There will be some who argue that they can catch just as many fish with artificial bait.
In the end, unless your on the pro fishing circuit, the real deal is going to be a more consistent method of bringing in fish.
Having a well-prepared kit can really improve your chances of survival by keeping hunger at bay.
Fishing is one of the best ways to bring in a source of food in a desperate situation, but only if you have prepared for it.
A good kit is often overlooked, but the benefits are incredible and can even be a lifesaver. Even a backpacking fishing kit can provide some energy when you're out in nature.
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