Introduction: Survival Fishing Kit
First Prize in the
Outdoor Survival Contest
In this instructable I will be teaching you how to build a compact self contained fishing kit that is perfect for a survival kit and could mean the different between having something to eat or going hungry in an emergency situation. What makes these kits so handy is that they pull double duty acting as a fishing rod and as a kit that houses all the bits and bobs associated with fishing.This kit is small enough to be tucked away inside a vehicle or even in a standard size back pack and includes everything you need to catch and prepare fish as well as some other essential survival equipment. What's more the kit is inexpensive to build costing right around 20 dollars including most of the fishing equipment that is housed within it.
These kits are also known as "Hobo Fishing Rods" or "Hand Fishing Rods" and additional information on them can be found on sites like Youtube.com and BushcraftUSA.com. Survival fishing kits like this one come in all shapes and sizes and are readily adaptable to suit your specific needs. The kit I created for this Instructable is based off of some of the kits I have seen over the years and addresses some of the issues I noticed with their designs, for example, many of them didn't have a way to secure the hook end of the fishing line onto the kit when it was not in use and many had little to no internal storage space for holding additional gear.
Side note: I know it will be mentioned in the comments so I'm going to nip it in the bud right here. There are all sorts of regulations on when you can fish and what implements can be used when fishing throughout the United States and I'm assuming in most other countries as well. If it's a survival situation these regulations don't really matter but if you plan on using this fishing kit for recreational purposes I advise that you check and adhere to any regulations that may be in effect where you live.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
The great thing about this project is that all in all it costs about 20 dollars to make. The materials are pretty easy to find and a trip to a hardware store like Lowe's or Home Depot should take care of pretty much everything save for the actual fishing supplies (line, tackle, hooks, etc.)
-1" Threaded PVC Cap
-1" Threaded PVC Adapter
-10" Length of 1" PVC Pipe
-Piece of scrap wood large enough to make a 1" diameter plug for the end of the PVC pipe
-5 Minute Epoxy
-550 Paracord - You'll need about 24' of one color and roughly 5 feet of another color.
-1 small washer
-100' of Fishing Line
-I also like to keep a small plier-based multi-tool in my kit as it is super useful for things like removing hooks, tightening knots and cutting line.
-1/8" Drill Bit
-1/16" Drill Bit
-Wood Lathe (if you don't have access to a wood lathe, check out these great Instructables on turning small wooden parts using a drill press:
Drill Press As Wood Lathe by ngadhno
Woodturning with a drill press by tholopotami
Drill Press Lathe by Tool Using Animal
Step 2: Attaching the Threaded PVC Adapter to the Pipe
10" Section of 1" PVC Pipe
1" Threaded PVC Adapter
The first step of this project is to attach the 10" section of 1" PVC Pipe to the 1" Threaded PVC Adapter. You can simply press fit these two pieces together but I suggest gluing them using PVC cleaner and PVC cement, just as you would if you were attaching PVC pipes for plumbing purposes. The reason I advise gluing them together is that if the adapter would happen to come loose from the pipe there is the possibility that you could loose all of your fishing supplies.
To attach the pieces simple clean the joining areas with the PVC cleaner, then apply PVC cement and push the two pieces together. To ensure the pieces are firmly bonded give the PVC cap a slight turn once it is seated on the pipe. Lastly allow the pieces to set for about 30 minutes to make sure that the cement has cured.
Tip: Beyond making a secure storage container, gluing the cap in places makes the storage space inside the kit water proof meaning that you can use it to store additional survival gear like matches and tinder that can be damaged by moisture.
Step 3: Adding a Lanyard to the 1" Threaded Cap
Using the drill and 1/8" drill bit, drill two evenly spaced holds into the top of the 1" PVC threaded cap. After the holes are drilled, lace the 20" length of paracord through the holes and secure it in place with a knot as shown in the picture.
The lanyard provides an easy way to carry/attach the fishing kit and also can be wrapped around your wrist while fishing to keep the kit from slipping out of your hand.
Step 4: Creating and Installing the Front End Plug
This step needs a bit of explanation. A lot of the survival/hobo fishing kits out there on the internet simply use a PVC end cap to close off the front end of the fishing kit. this makes sense as the end caps are readily available and easy to install but it's not the best solution as the lip of the cap creates an issue when trying to cast out the fishing line. Some people overcome this by building up the PVC pipe behind the cap with tape before adding the fishing line so that the lip of the cap becomes a non-issue but I chose instead to make a custom cap that would fit flush into the pipe so that there would be no lip at all.
To make this plug I started by chucking a piece of wood into my lathe that was roughtly 1.5" X 1.5" X 3" long. I then turned the piece until it's outside diameter was the same as the outside diameter of the 1" PVC pipe, (I checked this using calipers). Next I shouldered off a section and turned it down until it would fit snugly inside the PVC pipe, (this section was roughly 3/4" long and again was checked with calipers to ensure a tight fit).
Next I cut down a section of the turning so that it would have a slightly rounded/cone shaped end, (see the picture) this will be the end the fishing line comes off of and the rounded/cone shaped end will help the finishing line to come off the kit in a nice even manner when casting.
Lastly with all the turning done I cut the piece free from excess wood and used 5 minute epoxy to fix it into the end of the fishing kit.
Step 5: Drilling Holes for For Securing the Hook
Once the front end plug is epoxied in place the next thing you need to do is drill a few holes as shown in the picture. These holes don't have to be very deep, at most 1/8" as they are just for securing the hook when the kit is not in use. Drill roughly 6 holes around the plug so that you'll have multiple points from which to attach the hook.
Step 6: Wrapping the Handle
As paracord is always worth having in a survival situation I went ahead and wrapped the handle in some. This will give me 20-30 feet of cord to use for various things and will provide a solid grip so that the fishing kit doesn't slip out on my hand when casting. To learn how to wrap the cord check out this great video by YouTube member ITS Tactical. The video details how to do the wrap for use on a boat paddle but the process is easily adaptable to this project.
Step 7: Adding the Fishing Line
To add fishing line to your kit you first need to drill a small 1/16" hole in the 1" PVC pipe as shown in the picture. Thread one end of the fishing line through this hole so that it comes out the end of the kit where the threaded adapter was installed. Next tie a small washer onto the end of the line using a strong knot. This washer will be what fixes the line onto the kit. Next pull the line taunt so that the washer end is drawn into the kit and begin wrapping the line around the PVC pipe. The goal here is to wrap the line in a nice even fashion and if this is done correctly the line will unspool just like it would from a fishing reel when you're ready to cast.
For my fishing kit I used 20 pound line so that it would be less likely to break in an emergency situation and I loaded 100 feet of line onto the kit so that I would have extra if the line would happen to snap or become snagged.
Step 8: Load It Up
With the fishing kit complete the last thing you need to do is load it up some essential fishing/survival gear. What you decided to keep in your kit is largely up to your and your personal needs but for my kit I chose the following:
10 Small Hooks
Leatherman Squirt P4 Multi-Tool
2 Fishbone gear ties (thank you MrBalleng)
Although not pictured I also like to keep a book of matches and some drier lint tinder inside the kit so that I can easily make a fire to cook any fish that I might catch.
Tip: In a pinch the paracord handle wrappings and lanyards can be repurposed and combined with hooks to create fishing lures. Check out this great Instructable by Prepforshtf to learn more. How to Make Paracord Fishing Lures
Step 9: How to Cast
Using the kit to fish is not too different from fishing with a normal rod. Simply hold the kit as shown in the picture with your hand around paracord wrapping and with your index finger holding the hook end of the line in place. Use either an overhand or underhand movement to cast the line, releasing your index finger at the proper moment to allow the line to spool off of the kit.
Step 10: Done
Thanks for taking the time to check out my Instructable on how to make a survival fishing kit. I hope you found the information presented here to be useful and interesting. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to post them in the comments section and I will do my best to get back to you as soon as possible.
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