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Homemade Survival Fishing Kit

Updated on October 25, 2014

Nature never deceives us: it is always us that deceive ourselves.

— Jean Jacques Rousseau

Homemade Survival Fishing Kit

Homemade Survival Fishing Kit
Homemade Survival Fishing Kit | Source

Use Your Kit

I got the idea for this kit after watching a movie called Snow Walker. It's about a Canadian bush pilot who gets stranded in the northern Yukon Territories after taking on a deathly ill Inuit girl that he was bribed into taking back to Yellowknife for medical aide. When the plane goes down he finds out the survival capabilities of the modern white man pale in comparison to the natives of the territory. Even though the girl is sick she uses her skills to teach him to survive. A great movie. Well worth it to see how fast a good situation can turn bad.

I was impressed by the fishing kit the girl pulled out of packroll which was just a short bone with a handmade fishing line wrapped around it. With a simple toss of the weighted hook and line, she was able to land a few fish to eat.

What I like about this kit is not only it's function or it size but it's a unit in itself. It is not a whole survival kit, it is the fishing component of a larger kit.

I make one every time I use up the spices in the kitchen that gift's me a container. I have several for different seasons and terrain I am going to. One that stays in my pack, my car glove box, under the seat of my mountain bike and I carry one every time I head for the woods.

Being a unit, I can take it out of my larger kit and practice with it to gain the skills that makes it useful. If you don't use the kit why carry one? Nothing is worse than having a kit and struggling with its use when you need it most. Practice and have fun for it takes a fair bit of coordination and practice to attain a reasonable level of compitance.

Snow Walker

The Snow Walker
The Snow Walker

A wonderful story full of rich details of the Canadian north and the dangers of not being prepared. Mother Nature weaves some harsh lessons and the bittersweet ending leaves you wanting more.


Extras - Round Out Your Kit

Having a basic kit is good but adding some extras will make a good kit a great kit.

  • a knife
  • steel striker
  • Ferrocerium rod
  • waterproof matches
  • tin foil squares
  • ranger bands
  • eye hooks or safety pins
  • needle
  • scalpel blade

I carry a knife daily regardless but the knife I put in my kit is a folding jack knife that has a thin fileting blade and a fish scaler because it is a fishing kit after all.

One needs more than one way to make a fire and if you kit has the room, add several.

Tin foil will give you a way to cook your catch over a fire.

The ranger bands can be used to protect the line that is wrapped around the outside of the container. Ranger bands are just sections of bicycle inner tube, used like rubber bands. If they are correctly sized it can be set to waterproof your container. Another use if as a fire starter for the rubber will burn even if wet.

The eye hooks or safety pins can be used to field craft a fishing rod from a sapling.

The needle and scalpel blade is for first aid and helps get a embedded hook out of your skin.

The list goes on and you match the kit to the needs of your area and the type of fish native to your area.

What Goes In Your Kit

I started making survival kits and such when I was in the Boy Scouts many years ago. The idea instilled was the more knowledge you had the less is required in the way of equipment. It used to be a game to see how small a kit one could make and still have something useful.

Here's what you need:

  • container
  • fishing line
  • hooks
  • floats
  • sinkers
  • lures
  • A short piece of paracord for a wrist strap
  • licences

In Depth Descriptions

Let's start with the container. I've made them with the always useful Altoids tin, small kits in pill bottles and even in ball point pens. These were great containers, size wise, but they were not really functional. I want my kit container to have more than one use.

After years of experience I have settled on an empty spice bottle. This gives me a container for my gear as well as act as a reel. It is small enough still to slide in a side pocket of your pack or the cargo pocket of you camping pants so it is more likely to be on your person in case you need it. That is the whole idea behind a survival kit.

The line I use is 50 lb test Spider wire. I use the 50 lb test because it is a survival kit. The last thing you want to happen is be in a situation where you need your kit and catch a fish that breaks your line. You can also use the line as cordage. Wrap the line around the outside of the container. The bottle will act as your reel. Make sure to wrap from the top to the bottom as the line will spool off the bottom when you cast.

For hooks I have several sizes but mostly I have small ones. You can catch a big fish on a small hook but you can't catch a small fish on a big hook. I carry a few large hooks to use as a gaff when tied to the ends of a stick for landing larger fish. I also have a few small treble hooks for making a trot-line.

I do carry a few bobbers but they are there to take up space so the gear doesn't rattle in the container. You can make bobbers or floats out of tree galls or pine cones or even bits of wood.

For sinkers I have two types. Lead split shot and bell weights. The bell weights get tied to the end of a line, whereas the split shot gets crimped onto the line where you need it. Both have their uses.

Lures and flies. These are not as useful in a survival kit as they require constant action on your part. You have to throw out the lure and reel it back in. With a hook and bobber system you can set it up and do other things while you wait for the fish to bite. Having said that I still carry a small frog, a leech and a rubber worm and a small spoon lure. You could also use a few wet flies and nymphs with small hooks. I carry these for the times I can't find any live bait.

Tie a piece of paracord or a leather thong around the top lip of the bottle to act as a wrist strap. A shoe lace would work in a pinch as well. You don't want to loose the bottle when casting or when reeling in a fish, if you have wet hands.

I include a copy of my fishing license because I use the kit often to become familiar with its use. If I am walking by a stream or small pond I take out my kit and practice with it. I still want to be legal and follow my areas fishing regulations.

Homemade Survival Fishing Kit Contents

Homemade Survival Fishing Kit Contents
Homemade Survival Fishing Kit Contents | Source

Have You Been In A Survival Situation?

Lost, stranded or delayed by weather... for what ever reason have you been in a situation where you needed a survival kit?

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What Line I Use

Spiderwire 125 YD. Filler Spools
Spiderwire 125 YD. Filler Spools

You can read what you like about it but one line is not like any other. I choose the camo brand Spiderwire for three reasons. 50lb test because I don't want to loose a fish from a broken line, the camo colors work well in the water and the Spiderwire brand because it doesn't have a memory so it spools off the "reel" fine from the first day of use to the day I change it out.


Why Wait?

Buying new bottles gets you instant gratification unless you use spices a lot you'll get your kit container faster if you buy them. You also get a color selection as well. They are not that expensive

Buy New Bottles - It's Faster.

BAIRE BOTTLES - 8 oz CLEAR PLASTIC SPICE JARS, 6 Pack, Red Flapper Lid, Sifter Shaker Holes and Pour Open Sides,"Sealed for Freshness" Liners, PET, BPA Free - BONUS 6 DAMASK LABELS
BAIRE BOTTLES - 8 oz CLEAR PLASTIC SPICE JARS, 6 Pack, Red Flapper Lid, Sifter Shaker Holes and Pour Open Sides,"Sealed for Freshness" Liners, PET, BPA Free - BONUS 6 DAMASK LABELS

Buy in bulk because you know you are going to make more than one kit. Once you have yours, you'll have to make them for your friends as well.


How To Fishing Using Your Homemade Survival Fishing Kit

  1. The line is wrapped around the outside of your kit so the bottle acts as your rod and reel. Tie the hook of choice to the line and add a split shot sinker and bobber so the baited hook will be just above the lake or river bottom in the area.
  2. Find some bait for your hook. Turn over stones and find worms or crickets; tear into rotten logs and find beetle grubs or even stick a piece of cheese from your lunch kit if you have it. All would be serviceable baits for fishing.
  3. Grip the bottle so the top is towards you and your wrist strap in snugged up. Swing you baited line a bit to get momentum and fling it out over the water. Point your hand with the bottle reel out and let the line unreel with the cast. It takes practice so don't be discouraged.
  4. Watch the bobber for signs of action. When a fish bites the bobber will go under. At that point set your hook with a jerk and step back a few paces.
  5. Reel in your catch by wrapping the line back around your container.

© 2014 Northerntrials

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