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How to Build a Survival Fishing Kit

Updated on July 3, 2013

Hand Line Fishing

Catching a bluegill with a hand line.
Catching a bluegill with a hand line. | Source

Angling is a Survival Skill

Being able to catch a fish whether in a remote mountain stream, in a secluded lake, or along the seashore will increase your likely hood of being able to survive. Fish are excellent sources of high quality nutrition in the form of protein and fats and can be eaten raw for immediate caloric intake or preserved for a long term survival situation through smoking or drying. Catching fish is very basic and at the most primal level can be done with moderate success with just bare hands or a stick sharpened to one or two points. However, the skill of angling with a basic line, hook, and bait can be done by almost everyone and better suited for catching species of fish that may not be as visible or in deeper sections of water than are reachable for spears or nets.


In a survival situation it is all about the line. Carry a decent size spool of fishing line in the 8 - 20 lbs. test range and you will have enough line for fishing for a very long time. Purchase two half spools and then glue them together, so that you can carry 150 yards of both a light line and a heavy fishing line so that you are ready to be successful in fishing for a catfish with heavy line or pursuing a trout in a clear water stream with the light line. If you can afford it purchase fluorocarbon line instead of mono filament, it will last longer and keep its line strength for a longer period of time and it is also very abrasion resistant so you can get more wear and tear out of it extending its lifespan. It also is a very sensitive line which helps feel a bite since you are holding the line and not using a rod to detect the strike.

Rod & Reel

While most anglers will spend a lot of time thinking about the right rod and reel, the survivalist fisherman can skip this whole process. Rods break easily and are long which makes carrying them with other needed gear a pain. Therefore, survival fishing techniques revolve around not using a rod and since you are not going to use a rod a reel is not necessary either, you can still use a toll to help you but a stick that can be used to wrap line around it is something that can be found in the field and work great for winding the line and helping you to set the hook on a fish that has taken the bait.

Forget the cheap made for TV compact fishing rods. They are cool and great idea in general, but they fail and will leave you ill prepared.

How to Fish with Basic Equipment

  1. Find a stick that is at least an inch in diameter. You want the stick to be round enough that you can wind on the line easily, but not too thick that it is too large to hold in your other hand.
  2. Wind on 15 - 20 yards of fishing line.
  3. Tie on your hook and weight
  4. Bait the hook with whatever you can forage from the bank or water either a worm, crawdad, insect, etc.
  5. Slowly spin the weight in a circle to get a little momentum and then release the line from your hand to "cast" it in the direction you are fishing.
  6. When a fish bites, it is important to both pull on the line really hard, but to also take 2 -3 steps backwards to set the hook.
  7. Wind the line on the stick and bring in your fish.

Fishing Kit Basics

The following items are essential to every outdoor fishing kit. There is several things that could be added, but when you are limited by available space in your backpack or money in the budget, these are the absolute required items.

  • Fishing line
  • Multiple size hooks
  • Lead sinkers

Fishing a Coke Can or Soda Bottle

This fishing technique is popular fishing technique south of the border and therefore has been coined the "Mexican" Coke Bottle. Wrap the line around a smaller sized glass bottle or even a soda can and use the bottle to wind the line on when you are bringing in a fish. Check out the video below for how to get it done.

Coke Bottle Fishing

Can You Catch It

Every fish is a possible meal in a survival situation.
Every fish is a possible meal in a survival situation. | Source

Additional Items to Include

A small spinner or lightweight spoon can be used to catch fish in streams and is perfect for catching trout or salmon. Cast the spinner and then quickly pull the lure in a hand over hand motion until a fish strikes and then set the hook hard and walk backwards to bury the hook in the fish's mouth. Anglers that are going to be fishing where large mouth bass are prevalent can be successful carrying a few plastic worms that make it possible to catch several fish with a single lure, the space they take up in your pack is non existent compared to the amount of fish they can help you catch.


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    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 4 years ago from United States

      What good idea just to have on hand in case a fishing opportunity happens! Enjoyed your hub.