Build Your Own DIY Survival Fishing Kit

How to Build Your Own DIY Survival Fishing Kit

When living off the land, something we have to seriously think about is where are we going to get our food if we are to be in the wilderness for an extended period of time (more than 72 hours). One possible answer is fish and should be your top food priority if you have sufficient resources in your area. Survival fishing is the answer in many areas for all your food needs, and our instructor Josh Hamlin survived on fish almost exclusively for over 2 years while surviving in the wilderness. Fish can be quite abundant in many streams, rivers and lakes out in the backcountry depending on your location. It is important to have the right skills and equipment with you to be able to take advantage of this valuable resource and the better your equipment is the higher your chances of success. You can always go with less and bushcraft what you need but a kit like this will make things way to easy. You’ll have more fish than you know what to do with if you employ the equipment with the proper tactics. In this article I’m going to be showing you how to put together you own survival fishing kit for INCH bags and long term self-reliance. I’ve got a lot to cover so let’s get started.

Container
IMG_4244First of all, let’s begin with the container. When selecting a container, I always like to ensure that it meets the following criteria:

  • Fully Waterproof
  • Sturdy
  • Compact
  • Affordable
  • Small enough to fit into a cargo pants pocket

I would use a large, empty Altoids tin or the waterproof Adventurer Survival Kit box by Best Glide ASE to contain all you fishing bits and pieces. An alternative to a simple metal container would be a waterproof, plastic container with dividers inside for separating all your bits and pieces like this one here. And if I were you, I would wrap a couple of rubber bands or maybe a reasonable amount of paracord around the container for extra security.

Plastic Bags
Just because of who I am, I like to organise things into small zip lock style plastic bags. This makes sense as you don’t want your fishing gear all mixed up and you also want it to be easy to gain access to.

Fishing Line
Yes this fishing kit isn’t designed to be a minimalistic pocket sized kit but I like the idea of carrying a spool of a reasonable amount of commercial fishing line (60 – 100 m) just in case you’re unable to grab your hand reels or pack rods (which I’ll talk about later) for whatever reason or you might just lose one of your reels etc. Commercial fishing line is much stronger than standard fishing line and is great for survival purposes. In a sense, this kit has the ability to be self-contained in a pinch.

Assorted fishing hooks (24)
Always remember that small fish hooks can catch both small and large fish. The more hooks the better as they can get lost or swallowed by fish.

Swivels (12)
These are an essential component of your fishing rig and I suggest that you carry at least a dozen of these. They prevent line twist with spinning reels and will give you the ability to mix and match line sizes. Leaders are also a good option to add for larger fish with teeth and you will need both leaders/swivels for large teethed fish. circle hook

Circle hooks (12)
Due to the clever design of these hooks, they are proven to catch more fish and are rarely swallowed. It is becoming increasingly popular with anglers today. I’ve caught fish all over the world with these and they can even be used in the ocean with great effectiveness.

Artificial Baits (6)
Essentially, lures are artificial bait and come in very handy as they are good at enticing fish into thinking that they will make a tasty snack. Usually lures come in the shape of a small fish and… remember that large fish like eating small fish. So… keep a good quantity of these on hand.

Plastic Floats/Bobbers (3)
These little floating devices are great to have on hand. You CAN do without them (I have) but it just makes your job of finding your line visually, a lot easier. I suggest that you carry at least three of these because they can get lost pretty easily (especially in cases when you’re forced to cut the line).
If you’re the sort of person that like to improvise, wine corks, earplugs and foam all make good improvised bobbers too, by the way.

Split-shot Sinkers (12)

Carry at least a dozen lead split – shot sinkers in a small zip lock bag. These can get lost quite easily too.

Emmrod1Small hand fishing reels (4)

From experience I know that these are actually quite effective in catching a wide range of small to medium sized fish. Its a good idea to pack at least four of these inside your main fishing kit pouch and ensure that they have a significant amount of line on them. It does take a lot of skill using fishing reels, but with a little patience and practice you can master the skill of using it. There is a good fishing reel made by Yo-Yo which is basically automatic and saves you from manually reeling in the line (SIGMA 3 recommends that you get this particular brand).

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ON EMMRODS!

 

Emmrod2

Pack rods (1)
These are foldable rods that are robust and aren’t susceptible to breakage as easily (like most telescopic rods). I recommend that you get the Emmrod Pack Rod from SIGMA 3. Its virtually indestructible, half the price and packs down a lot smaller than comparable pack rods. SIGMA 3 has caught all sizes of fish with these rods, they are absolutely amazing. Rob Allen, the founder, actually caught a 150 lb tarpon on one of these setups. Enough can’t be said about how packable, lightweight, and durable these little fishing setups are. You will take some loss in casting distance with a shorter rod, but for survival fishing it is excellent.

Gill Net (1)
Something else I’d add to this kit is a small gill (similar to seine) net (like the Adventurer Survival Gill Net made by Best Glide ASE). These are very effective and can be useful for catching a variety of crabs, shrimps and small fish in greater quantities than several lines would. Basically you stretch this across a river, stream or other waterway and any fish that get caught inside will be trapped by their gills. Obviously crabs and other similar sized seafood will be trapped merely by their size and their inability to get through the netting. This gill net is light, doesn’t take up much space and can be folded up and placed in a small ziplock plastic pouch for easy, compact storage.

Yo Yo Fishing Traps

yo yo trapThese are super handy and you can set them up in no time. This is a must have for every kit and will insure you’re catching fish while working on other things. They are essentially automatic fishing reels that set the hook, wear the fish out, and will have him waiting for you right below where you hung it. These are not the best for large fish but work great for fish 5 lbs and under. SIGMA 3 instructors have literally provided all their meat needs with just this simple little tool and have caught more fish than they can eat. We always carry these in our kits for survival fishing and consider it a must have for any place with fish. It’s recommended that you carry at least 4 per person in your group. We have several videos on our youtube channel explaining how to use them.

Click HERE for more info on Yo Yo Traps

Basic Knots Card
Knots can be hard to remember especially if you don’t go fishing regularly. I suggest that you get a waterproof knots card like the one here to keep inside your kit. It all comes down to personal preference, but if there’s one knot that you should remember, I personally recommend the clinch knot.

Natural Bait
I think artificial bait is a waste of valuable storage space in your survival fishing kit. I would recommend that you learn where to find natural bait and learn what fish like what. Finding and knowing the appropriate bait for a wide variety of fish is an invaluable skill to have.
Look around and under rocks for small critters such as grasshoppers and worms etc. Remember that big fish feed on small fish, so you’ll want to consider this as your bait when fishing for larger fish. If you have a specific bug out location (BOL) planned, I highly recommend that you thoroughly scout out the area and determine what fish live there. Knowing the type of fish that you’ll be catching will help you decide the right bait for them and also the places where they are most abundant. I think it’s a good idea to pack a large freezer bag inside your fishing kit to store bait in whilst collecting.

A good multitool
A multitool such as a Leatherman Wave (heavier option) or a Leatherman Sidekick (lightweight option) can come in handy for removing hooks, cutting line, processing fish and a multitude of other tasks.

Last but not least… a survival knife
This survival knife can be used for gutting, preparing fish and many other uses to do with fishing. I won’t go into depth about selecting the right survival knife for your needs but you can check out our custom SIGMA 3 Survival knife, as it is our most recommended choice in bushcraft blades.

The SIGMORA! FULL TANG SCANDI GRIND Click Here

Ok, so there you have it! A compact, yet comprehensive survival fishing kit that allows you to be self-reliant when bugging out for any extended period of time. You can tailor the size of your fishing kit to where you are going and how long you’ll be gone. This is very modular and can be scaled up or down based on your survival fishing needs. I hope you enjoyed this article and found the information useful.

IMG_0793

Testing Emmrod Survival Fishing Rods in Jungles of Nicaragua!

 

Training Update

Hey Everyone,

Its been a little while since the last update so I will bring you up to speed on what has been going on with the school. I just completed some new training courses related to Executive protection for hostile environments, hostage rescue, and received 4 new NRA weapons certifications. The class was long and I am glad to be back to my normal schedule again. Nothing like being home with the family! If you have not checked the website in awhile we have a new feature instructor that will be teaching a host of new courses. Kelly Alwood is probably the best urban survival instructor in the country and we are really excited to have him come down to teach tactical tracking and urban escape and evasion! We are also planning a tactical medic class that is not yet on the schedule that we are still hammering out the details on.

We have a couple of new classes coming up soon including: Primitive fire, water, and cordage class this weekend; and primitive fishing in June. If you have any interest in these subjects make sure you sign up for those asap because they are right around the corner. The school has also teamed up with battle zone tactical and we will now be hosting airsoft events as well as starting our own airsoft club. So email me if you interested in attending our airsoft wargames. They are a intensely fun and we provide all the equipment for cheap!

The Sigma 3 Standard Survival Course is coming up in June and this class is a 4 day summation of all the basic survival skills. This class is for the beginner and the advanced practitioner will learn from it as well. We put new tricks on old methods and I guarantee you it will be loads of fun. We camp out and cook food around the campfire at night time and train during the day. Check the schedule for further details!

 

Thanks,

Robert

Sigma 3 Survival

Understanding Bushcraft?

Bushcraft is an unusual word to so many people out there that I thought I would take the time to explain what bushcraft and the primitive arts is all about. In the beginning when you first start to begin your journey into survival training, everything will start with necessities. But as you grow it will change into an expression of yourself in your survival training. What do I mean by that? Once your skill level grows past a certain point you will begin to see a new light, just as fledgling seed sprout pokes its stem out of the soil. Your senses will open up to things you never even knew where there before. For instance, most people have no idea how much food is around them even in the most crowded cities! I cannot walk anywhere anymore without seeing food that can be harvested that other people would see as nothing. In fact, most of the weeds people kill in their yards are the most nutritious and useful plants on their property! Many wild edibles are so much more nutritious than what you can buy in the produce department at your local grocery store.

Once you understand the basics of survival then you will begin to put your own stamp on everything. From trap modifications of your own design to making primitive art. Primitive art is all about expressing yourself through the art of self reliance. Whether it be constructing your own primitive musical instruments or making a shelter like no other! There is so much to learn in this field that I guarantee that one person could not learn everything in 10 lifetimes. But it is the journey that forms our character. I go camping with people constantly and am always amazed at how little so many people know about the everyday happening in nature around them. Most people are so alien to their own planet! Modern man cannot even walk into the wilderness without a plethora of space age tools and hope to survive very long. It is almost as if we are astronauts having to carry life support equipment in our own environment! What would you do if your modern conveniences were stripped away from you and you were forced to live as 97% of the worlds past inhabitants lived on a daily basis. Most people will just roll over and die!

Bushcraft  is the ability to utilize resources around you to harvest whatever you need from the land. Just as a journeyman apprentice for a carpenter needs only basic tools to construct most any structure, a bushcrafter only needs a few tools to be comfortable in the bush! And a true master can construct his tools and all his survival needs from absolutely nothing! He uses his mind as the master tool to produce all his wants. Once you have achieved this higher level I can guarantee that it will give a sense of self confidence that cannot be reproduced by any other trade or martial art. Primitive survival will give you the confidence to know that no matter what happens that the sun will shine again for you!

Check out what one of our members made by mixing the modern and the primitive in order to create his own unique bushcraft piece! Its a fishing pole made from a yo yo trap and a piece of bamboo! Great Job Steve!

Wilderness Survival Priorities Timeline

This is a  priority breakdown of how one should set out to start a survival situation with almost no gear and their knife!

 

First Day- Build a shelter the first morning and get the shelter to a comfortable level of warmth for your climate. It must be dry, warm, and provide a place to store things. Custom debris hut is usually first choice in most climates in our area. I will make sure that my shelter is located reasonably close to a water supply. While I am gathering shelter materials I should also use the opportunity to gather firewood for the fire at night as well. Next, I will begin making a fire with primitive bow drill or a hand drill with thumbhole strings to reduce energy consumption and make getting a coal easier. If I have suitable cordage then I will always go with bow drill first but if cordage is in very short supply then I do the hand drill. At the end of day one I will shift my focus to making several no carve pauite deadfalls and split stick figure four deadfalls. Set them out next to pack rat dens and near other high traffic areas for small game. Before I return to camp I should try to gather natural cordage material to bring back and when night time arrives I can make several feet of cordage around the light of the campfire. Note: Always make time to forage for edibles to and from different spots and make a throwing stick while out in case possible game opportunity presents itself!

 

Day Two- Begin the morning by re-stoking the fire and go check my nearby traps to see if the overnight traps caught me breakfast. Return to camp and begin either processing trapped game or begin improving your shelter while it is still cool. Shelter building is one of the more labor intensive parts of survival and should be done when the least amount of calories will be used. Then begin making more simple traps as well as a few more complex trap triggers for larger game. If there is fish nearby then immediately begin making fish traps because they are the easiest prey to catch. Bugs, worms, and anything smelly works for land and water traps. While you are out always be foraging for convenient wild edibles and collect any potential harvest the forest provides you with! The second day should almost be completely consumed by shelter improvement and food gathering. But don’t forget to stay hydrated!

 

Day Three- By day three you should have several dozen traps set out and producing food. This is your main focus until you have created enough food generation sources to provide you with enough fresh meat to eat on hand and enough extra to begin storing extra dryed meats, edibles, etc. Begin putting these things back for your next move. Every time you are out always make sure you are gathering materials when they become available. Don’t wait and come back later only to waste more calories. If you plan to leave your shelter and be on the move, then make sure you have stockpiled plenty of dried food goods for your journey plus a little more than you think you need just in case!

 

Day Four- When day four rolls around you should be more accommodated to your situation and should be at least providing yourself with a minimal amount of calories to survive without losing to much weight, if any! You should continue to improve on your situation adding new food generation sources and utilizing your areas resources to be prepared for whatever your endeavor may be. You should also have begun making things like drying racks and tools to use to make your work easier!

 

-In my experience, this generally turns out to be the general timeline of how long it takes to begin being truly self sustained in a known wilderness area. Everyday, is a snow ball effect of how your resources collect and you should take every free minute to improve upon your situation. At night time you should be making cordage and use any free time in a redundant manner to make the most efficient use of your time! When your basic needs are taken care of, then you move on to the higher primitive arts, such as tool construction. Stick with these timeline goals in mind and you will do good in almost any situation!

 

Summary: Day one make shelter near water,  make fire, and then make traps to gather food overnight while you are sleeping; Day two should be shelter improvement, foraging, and making as many traps as you can, especially fish traps; Day 3 Continue making traps, improving shelter, making cordage and start putting food back if you have any excess; Day 4 You should be self sustaining in most climates by this time and should be producing enough food so that you are not losing any weight. Don’t Forget to Stay Hydrated!

The September Survival Weekend!

Hey Everyone,

This is gonna be another round of ‘As the World Turns’, starring Robert in the woods. Well we went out this last weekend from Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon. Got to do a lot of things, so I’ll just start from the beginning. It was a hot night this last Friday and the bugs/humidity were out in full force. We made a fire and got our beds ready. After prepping camp we decided to go forage a bit before dark. The wild edibles were quite scarce and there weren’t many real quick tasty bites to be had. Found some wild plums that I harvested to stuff our roast chicken with for later that night. Also found some Sumac seeds and collected a pocket full so that I could make some of my famous sumac lemonade later. Sumac lemonade is really tasty even without sugar!

The sun fell over the ridge and we stopped foraging to head back to camp! We all pitched in to get the fire cranking and I threw the chicken in the dutch oven to roast up for us. Cooked it for around two hours with fire from below and coals on the lid. We ate dinner and turned in for the night.

The next morning we awoke to start working on the camp but decided that it was miserably hot and that we should go fishing instead. I made some mouthwash from oak bark and sassafras to clean my mouth out and we went to the pond. My wisdom teeth began acting up so the mouth-wash was a great medicinal remedy to keep my mouth clean and to help any soreness from infection.

When we got down to the pond I hooked up a little fishing rig that has always worked well for me in the past. I tied a trot line to the end of a long stick and used a small stick as a bobber. From that stick I tied the bait on to the bobber and used the stick as a way to throw my bait out there. I had killed a copperhead last night and I chopped it up in small pieces and used it as bait. Snake is personally my favorite bait to use because of its ability to stay on the hook for a very long time and the fact that the fish love eating them. Last year I caught ten fish on one tiny baby water moccasin that was not longer than my pointer finger! They really do work great! I put a few fish sets out and then we went to my favorite fishing spot for me to personally watch. As soon as I threw it in we had a hit within less than a minute and a fish on shore. After that we hooked a medium sized turtle that we let go. All in all, it wasn’t a killin but we had caught enough to get some much needed protein. Also made a minnow trap that was highly effective. I caught 5 minnows within the first minute and had a sushi meal in minutes from nothing but a water bottle! The school will be posting a video later on how to make this little trap. I also whittled a primitive gorge hook and showed how to make line out of willow to show the guys how you could catch fish if you had no equipment at all.

The next day a friend and I went up to the cliffs that overlook the whole valley up behind camp. You could literally see for 20 miles up there. With a set of binoculars it felt like there wasn’t anything that we couldn’t see. I whittled a trap while we contemplated the cosmos and enjoyed the cool northerly breeze. The two of us had taken the hard route up the cliff face and needed a little of God’s air conditioning to cool us off. After an hour or so we called it a day and headed back. As we walked we started playing a tracking game that I like to play. One person turns away while the other person walks about 50 yards to a spot of their choosing. When the person tells you they are done, you turn around and track each one of their tracks until you walk up to them. It is a good little drill for training to be able to see tracks quickly in debris and other substrates. You should always be trying to read the pressure releases because they will tell you exactly where the next track should be. After a short game of it we reached camp and I began crafting some trap triggers. Such as the modified figure 4 deadfall and the twitch up snare trigger. We walked down to an area I knew to be filled with game and did some tracking right before dark. We went to a spot I knew was full of raccoon dens. We trained on setting up the snare in high probability locations. After setting the snare we removed them and went back to the road.

I got a feeling that we should go down to the open field by the pond we fished in earlier to check for wildlife. I suspected that we might run into some deer. We rolled up into the field and sure enough their was a small herd of deer just north of us a couple hundred yards away. Then I looked to the east and a doe and fawn had popped out to forage on the field. Adam and I watched them for awhile and then headed back to camp before it got completely dark.

When we got back to camp I stoked the fire to make a smudge to fumigate my tick infested clothing. We had been through some dense bush and I had picked up a slug of seed ticks on my pants. So I took off my pants and hung them over a tripod in order to fumigate the ticks. After that it was time to crash!

We spent the rest of the next morning tracking and looking at different flora around the property. After that we decided it was time to roll it up for the weekend, so we cleaned up camp and headed back for the weekend. This is just a short rundown of our first Sigma III survival weekend to let you know a little bit about what kind of things we are going to be doing. As we progress the weekends will get more intense and will be more training oriented. This was just a little meet and greet weekend with members I have been chatting with for sometime. I just want to take a moment and say that I appreciate everyone coming out and that I hope you had as enjoyable time as I did. Thanks and look forward to seeing everyone in our upcoming classes.

Josh said on 9/17/10 – 01:21AM

Comment: I had an awesome time! I wish I could have stayed longer, but duty calls. Actually ended up getting a call from the fire department as soon as I got back in town…a little girl went missing in Barling so we did a big ground search. Bummer evening. I’m really looking forward to more weekends at the camp!