Fishing is often overlooked as a survival food source, but it is really one of the most reliable and easiest ways to acquire high quality protein. The equipment needed to harvest fish is simple and inexpensive, and you can set out lines that will fish for you while you do other things. And hey, fishing is fun. Pictured below: My collapsible fishing rod.
For fishing equipment you need, at the very least, to have a pole, extra line, hooks, floats, and sinkers. I cut poles from a nice stand of river cane I know of, and then I put them up in the rafters of my workshop to cure. Line, hooks, floats, and sinkers come from the hardware store and the cost is next-to-nothing. This, and a few worms, is all you need to catch fish, but if you want to take fishing to the next level, buy yourself a rod and reel, a tackle box, extra line, hooks, floats, sinkers, some plastic worms, a nice assortment of artificial lures, a stringer, and some long nose pliers. I have a pretty good assortment of rods and reels that I have picked up at garage sales. A good tackle box doesn't cost much, and I keep my eyes open for sales on lures, plastic worms, etc. I would recommend that you buy several hundred fishhooks of various sizes. The fish hook is the most important part of the fishing set-up, and fish hooks make a good trade item if we should ever find ourselves in a barter type economy. Pictured below: Tackle box with fishing equipment.
Fishing with a pole or a rod and reel is a good way to catch a fish, but a trot-line is the way to catch many fish. A trot-line is a long string (usually nylon) that is stretched out underwater, or just above the water. Suspended from this string are short (2 to 3 foot) drop-lines with a baited and weighted hook on the end of each line. There are many ways to set a trot line. You can tie it off on both ends to fixed objects, you can tie off one end and put a drop-weight and a float on the other end, or you can put a drop-weight and a float on both ends. A drop weight can be made from anything that will sink. A coffee can full of dried concrete with an eye-bolt embedded in it makes a good weight. Empty bleach bottles make good floats. Trot-lines can be baited with anything. Worms, crickets, minnows, chicken livers, strips of beef liver, shrimp, or blood bait will all work fine. If you do set out a trot-line, be sure to run it every day and collect your catch. Pictured below: Store-bought trot line in package.
My next few posts will be about how to make and use primitive fishing equipment.