I have been fishing since I was 3 years old in both salt and fresh water, I even had the chance to fish the Tigris and Euphrates rivers while working as a contractor in Iraq with a fishing kit very similar to this one (not that I would eat a damn thing out of either of those rivers). I learned to fish with a hand line while I was a kid, in the Kern River in California, while visiting my Aunt and Uncle when I was about 5 years old and I have loved it ever since. I have taken everything from small pan fish to 15 lb. Bonita on a hand line, and like every other survival skill, you should learn to fish with just your little survival fishing kit now, when not catching anything is no big deal because Burger King is just down the road, and not when your life or those of your family may depend on you catching something.
I always have a small survival fishing kit in my glove box in case I find a body of water that just cries out, “fish in me!” Like just about every other aspect of survival and survival kits everyone has their opinion on what should and shouldn't be in a survival fishing kit and I am no different. I am a very firm believer in having what you need, when you need it and this little fishing kit is no different. It’s small size, 3 ¼”x 2 ¼”x 1” make it compact enough to fit just about anywhere including your pants pocket.
Step 1: Hold the Line!
Probably the most important part of any survival fishing kit is the line and what it is held on. While there is more than one way to store line for your kit I decided to make a line holder out of some bass wood I had left over from a long ago project that was just collecting dust.
I started by measuring and marking the length I wanted the outer pieces, which in this case was 3” and 1 ½” for the center piece (measure twice, cut once). I secured the pieces one at a time into the miter box and cut them to length. After cutting the pieces I used a tri-square, tape measure, and pencil (not shown) to measure and mark the center-line and midpoint of both the outer pieces.
I used Gorilla Wood Glue™ to glue the three pieces together and used the miter box and clamping pins to hold it all together until completely dry (24 hours). Once the piece was dry I used extra fine (400 grit, I think) sandpaper to smooth any rough edges and then I wound about 150 ft. of 12 lb. test Stren™ monofilament line on to the contraption using a small piece of duct tape to hold the end in place.
Step 2: Hooks, Sinkers, Jigs, and Other Handy Stuff
I have 10 hooks total in this little kit.
And one treble hook pre-attached by a split ring to 18” of 30 lb. test nylon coated wire leader.
There is another 18” of 30 lb. test nylon coated wire leader with a pair of crimping sleeves in the kit also. Since I always carry a multi-tool (like you should) I have a way to crimp the sleeves onto the leader wire if I need to make another (one of those better to have and not need then to need and not have cases).
There is also an assortment of jigs and jig heads of various sizes and colors that work well in most areas I have found myself in as well as a couple of small spoons and a spinner for the jig heads.
There are various sizes and types of weights that allow for setting up different rigs depending on if I ma fishing a river, stream, or lake.
I keep a little Berkeley Power Bait Trout Bait ™, Captain America color (since it seems to work rather well around here) in a small zip-lock bag to keep it from drying out and from getting all over everything. Any small bait like, salmon eggs, or catfish bait, etc. makes a great addition to the kit, especially if you want a better chance of catching a fish or natural bait is in short supply.
There is a small foam bobber that I cut down (I know I could have bought one about that size but I am a cheap SOB) to better fit into the kit.
A small utility knife blade with a double heat shrink tubing handle for added comfort and a 100 mph tape sheath for cleaning fish, cutting line, or bait. Some snap swivels, barrel swivels, and a couple of red beads, rounds out the kit.
Step 3: Conclusion
I always take this little kit whenever we go fishing and at some point during the day I put down the Ugly Stick walk away from the tackle box, and fish with just the hand line and what is in this little kit. I always manage to get at least one keeper using this kit. Before the snow closed in for the winter I used this little kit to take a half dozen nice Rainbow Trout from a spot on the South Platte River in under an hour.
As I said in the beginning, there are about as many ideas as to what makes a good survival fishing kit as there are about survival itself and this is just what I happen to think makes a great little survival fishing kit, I hope you find it useful.
I look forward to seeing your comments and as always, Train to survive!