Survival Fishing

survival-fishingIn a past article, I discussed some options (not very nice ones) regarding food sources in nature. These included slugs, snails, snakes and other unappetizing meals.

Food can keep your morale up; and in a SHTF situation, good morale can help keep you motivated to survive.

If you are lucky enough to have a water source near to your location, then survival fishing is certainly something you should consider as a food source.

Survival fishing in an emergency situation is unlikely to be the standard rod and bait method; however with a bit of creative thinking and some good prepping here are some fishing techniques you can use to help catch your next meal

Stick Fish Trap

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What you will need:

  • Sticks
  • Knife

How to make the trap:

  • Collect enough sticks to make your trap (amount will depend on size and number of fish you are trying to catch) sticks need to be at least 10 – 12 inches high to prevent fish from being able to jump out of the trap
  • Sharpen one end of the sticks to a point to make it easier to push them into the ground under water
  • Place the sticks in the water in an almost heart shape – the curved top sides of the heart should form a gateway with an aisle which the fish can swim through and into the main body of the trap. This needs to be around 3 – 5 inches long to make sure the fish enter into the center of the trap. The bottom of the heart should be in shallow water close to the shore.
  • You can increase your chances of success by baiting the trap with insects, smaller fish etc if you are able to collect them first
  • If possible you could build a small wall with rocks, stones or similar across part of the water to help guide the fish into the trap entrance.
  • Leave the trap and check it regularly for any fish that have become stranded

The trap works because fish swim into the trap through the gateway but, as it is very narrow they struggle to find their way back out of it. This trap works best in a water source with a current.

Improvised Fishing Gear



What you will need:

  • Material to make a hook
  • Paracord
  • A Stick

 How to make your gear:

  • Firstly construct your hook. Potential candidates for an improvised hook are: a paperclip, a pop top from a can, twigs – use whatever you can find to make a suitable fishing hook
  • Attach your hook to a line made of the Paracord
  • Bait the hook with any suitable bait you can find – food scraps, insects, worms etc
  • Attached your baited hook and line to your stick and cast it into the water

This is a simple method but can be painstaking hoping that a fish will bite. I would tend to use this where there is an abundance of fish to increase my chances of success.

If a fish is caught – scoop it out of the water with an improvised net or your hand, this will help prevent the line from breaking.

Noodling (predominately used for catching catfish)

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What you will need:

  • Your hands
  • An assistant

What to do:

  • Locate a catfish hole (this may require going underwater – from a few feet up to twenty feet down)
  • Place your hand into the hole – wiggling your fingers can help attract the catfish
  • The catfish should lunge and grab onto your hand in a defensive attack
  • As the fish bites down on your hand – pull it out of the hole (if it is a particularly big fish you can hook your hands around the gills
  • With help from your assistant, get the catfish out of the water and to shore

This can be a dangerous method of catching fish. As you may have to dive down under water to find the catfish holes, drowning is a possibility. Bite wounds and cuts are almost guaranteed although wearing gloves can help with this. Some catfish are very big and strong so could quite easily pull you into deeper water – always have someone with you if you are going to use this method.

Spear Fishing



What you will need:

  • A Spear – this can be made by sharpening a stick, attaching an arrowhead to a stick or you may have a spear as a weapon with you

What you need to do:

  • Find a target fish – it will be easier to hit one if there is a group of them
  • Due to light refraction on the water you will need to aim lower than where the fish appears – this can be tricky to master
  • Be patient and when the fish is in a suitable position, throw the spear down into the water hard and fast
  • If successful the fish will be pinned down by the spear, when you pull the spear out of the water, the fish should be attached

This technique can be very difficult, burn a lot of valuable calories, and can take a great deal of time and patience. It should be the last technique considered.

Many people will fashion a multi-prong spear – with or without barbs.  These cannot be thrown, but are very effective when used for jabbing at fish.


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