But of course, survival fishing is something very different. There is no sport involved in survival fishing, its all about filling the stomach.
Pack or pocket survival fishing kits can be purchased almost anywhere fishing tackle is sold, but like first aid kits, I prefer to assemble my own. I know what species of fish I am likely to encounter or target and I know what lures will serve me best.
It is important to consider seasonal travel when putting together a survival fishing kit. As an example, top water lures (those types that float on the surface) are very effective in fall, spinners and spoons are more affective in warmer weather.
Most of the time you will be using mother natures tackle box. Bait is the number one technique for collecting fish. I am a sport fisherman and a fly fisher at that, meaning I never use bait! As a purist it goes against the code of conduct but as a wilderness traveler, I will use bait whenever possible to attract and collect fish.
Lures are attractants you carry with you and with that in mind, you need to carry the lure that works in the fullest spectrum of conditions. For me the Jig is that lure. The Jig can be fished in so many ways and in so many different bodies of water that it is right at the top (for me at least) of the lure list. Depending how you use it, it can represent insects, small bait fish, crayfish, leaches almost anything that crawls or swims. To be as thorough as possible, I carry light-dark and "curiosity" colors.
The Frog spear (Gig or Gaff) is another technique that will save your bacon. Although illegal in most states here in the US, it is recognized as a affective gathering tool. If conditions are in your favor (low-slow water) the spear is a powerful tool. Not only does the "hunting" of aquatics fill the belly, it fills the time. Having something to focus on and actively pursue, gives a survivor or wilderness traveler a feeling of self worth and accomplishment.This is a very valuable confidence builder.
A small selection of hooks and sinkers as well as a bobber (plastic or cork float) should round out your kit. The time tested technique of wrapping line around a can works very well as a casting "reel", hold the can in your weak hand with the bottom facing the direction you are throwing and cast out the lure with your dominant hand allowing line to pay out off the end of the can. Re-wrap the line back onto the can to reel in line. vary your pace to give "action" to your lure. If bait casting, place your can (cans) on sticks firmly planted in the ground and allow the can to spin as the fish nibbles your offering. Just like placing animal snares, the more lines in the water the better your chances, Just be sure to grab that can before old scaly sides pulls it into the water.
The tension in which you hold the can acts as your drag giving play to the fish and tiring him out so you might bring him to hand.
Using a strong but flexible stick as your fishing rod allows you to dab your lure into calm dark water from a hidden bank side spot and can be very affective.
Look under logs and rocks for worms, grubs and the prised Hellgrammite. These larval stage Dobsonflies are irresistible to almost everything that swims.
The few items you might carry in something as small as your pocket could make the difference between watching fish and tasting them. Fishing like Huck Finn is more then nostalgic, its practical and just plain fun. The next time you have an afternoon with time to kill, take your kit out and find a lake or stream and practise with it. Find its strong points and discover where it needs improvement. Items that need scaling back or adding to are often quickly discovered when you actually try to catch fish. The time to learn is now not in a survival situation when everything is against you. Own the knowledge before your welfare depends on it.
Lastly, use smaller lures then you might think necessary. There are several reasons to downsize, thinner hooks my be able to be pulled free if stuck in a submerged stump (their wire hooks bend and come out) smaller lures mean you can carry more and vary your selection. Also consider that fish of any size can take a small lure, but only big fish can swallow a big lure. You may be missing out on usable "eating" size fish. Small size lures seem to be more readily snatched up by fish, they just don't suspect the treachery as they might with some larger splashy scary thing. Fish sometimes just react to a smaller splash like an insect might make. Remember this is not trophy fishing, we want to eat not tell fish stories.
The armchair fisherman catches many fish......in his mind.
Only with practice can you become proficient and with that skill comes confidence and comfort.