Fishing for Survival
In a survival situation, once you have found shelter, built a fire and collected water, your next task will be to find food resources. And whilst it is perfectly possible to exist without food for a few weeks and live off edible wild plants and berries, you’ll no doubt be glad of a hearty meal. Therefore, it’s very useful to learn some fishing skills and here are some tips; assuming that you have no fishing gear with you.
Fishing for SurvivalIf you’re near water, the first thing you must do if you’re looking to catch fish is to spend a bit of time observing how the fish behave each day. Like you, they’ll also be looking for their next meal, so you’ll need to establish their habits – when they’re active, where in the water they head for etc. An additional tip, however, is to consider the temperature if you’re not sure where to look. In hot weather where the water is low, you’ll probably find them in deeper shaded water and when it’s cooler, you’ll find them in shallower areas where the sun warms the water up.
Using a Line and HookSome type of cord should always form part of your survival kit anyway and if you haven’t included a proper fishing hook too, you can always improvise and craft one out of a piece of bone, thorn, wood or a safety pin works just as well.
For bait, it’s useful to try to gain an idea of what the fish in the area are eating. Insects, a piece of bread, some raw meat, if you can find any, or worms are all good sources of bait. Survival fishing isn’t an exact science though. The more hooks you have in the water and your willingness to be patient and to experiment are going to be your biggest allies. Bad weather approaching is always a good time to go fishing as well as just after dawn and just before dusk.
Spear FishingIf you are handy using your knife to carve out a piece of wood, making a spear to fish with in shallow water is another alternative but if you see fish swimming around in shallow water, it’s a useful skill to learn even though it takes an extreme amount of skill, quick reactions and patience. A forked spear which can trap the fish between its prongs works best.
As for a net, you can fashion one out of using some kind of shirt or T-shirt tied onto a Y shaped branch.
Fish TrapsOnly your imagination can limit you to the kinds of fish traps you can engineer. One of the simplest methods is to use the effects of the tide. On a beach or area with tidal waters, build a circle of rocks and use small pebbles to plug any gaps. When the tide comes in, it will bring small fish in with it. Simply return to the rock circle later and see what you’ve caught.
Most fish found in freshwater is edible although some will taste better than others. However, it’s important to remember that it’s not a matter of taste but a matter of survival. Once caught, cut the throat and gut it by slitting it from its anal passage to its throat removing the offal as you go. Remove the head, tail and fins then smoke, grill or boil it.