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Survival Fishing Guide: Catch Fish in Survival Situations

In the quest for survival, the ability to procure food from nature is invaluable, particularly through fishing.

This article delves into various survival fishing techniques, equipping you with the knowledge to sustain in the wild.

Understanding Survival Fishing Techniques

Survivor setting up advanced fish traps in a turbulent river, using natural materials and demonstrating skill in survival fishing techniques against a backdrop of steep cliffs and dense forests at sunset, embodying resilience and innovation

Choosing the Right Fishing Gear for Survival

In a survival situation, fishing can be a crucial source of nourishment.

To successfully catch fish, it is essential to have the right fishing gear in your survival fishing kit.

The most basic and important item to include is a hook.

the comparison of hook sizes to the type of fish they are most effective for

A variety of hooks in different sizes and types should be part of your kit, as different fish may require different hook sizes.

Additionally, bait is crucial for attracting fish.

Bait TypeAvailabilityBest For Fish Species
WormsAll-yearTrout, bass, catfish, panfish
MinnowsAll-yearBass, walleye, pike, trout
CricketsSpring to fallTrout, bass, panfish, catfish
GrasshoppersSummerTrout, bass, panfish
NightcrawlersAll-yearBass, catfish, walleye, panfish
ShrimpAll-yearRedfish, trout, snapper, flounder
CrawfishSpring to fallBass, catfish, pike, walleye
MealwormsAll-yearTrout, panfish, bass, bluegill
CornAll-yearCarp, catfish, trout

Stock up on a selection of natural bait options such as worms, insects, or small pieces of fish.

More Essential Gear: Nets, Line, Reels

Alongside hooks and bait, consider including a net in your survival fishing kit.

the importance of gear for survival fishing

Nets can be used to catch larger quantities of fish efficiently, increasing your chances of survival.

fishing line and reel are also indispensable tools for any survival fishing technique.

 the process of selecting the right fishing line strength for different fishing conditions, including water clarity, type of fish, and environmental obstacles

These items allow you to cast your line further and control the depth at which you fish, enhancing your chances of a successful catch.

Choosing the Right Fishing Gear for Survival

A compelling and informative depiction of essential fishing gear for survival, featuring durable fishing rods, multi-functional hooks, lightweight nets, and portable fish finders. The scene, set against a serene lake or river environment, emphasizes the practicality and versatility of the gear, either through an organized display or demonstrated by a survivalist. This image educates and inspires outdoor enthusiasts and survival experts on the strategic selection of fishing gear, highlighting efficiency, reliability, and adaptability in wilderness survival situations

The Fishing Pole: Versatile and Essential

In a survival scenario, having the right fishing gear is crucial for obtaining food from the wilderness.

fishing pole is a versatile tool that can be used with various fishing methods, making it an indispensable item.

how to craft a makeshift fishing pole from natural materials found in the wilderness
MaterialDurabilityWeightEase of Use
Carbon FiberHighLightHigh
WoodLow to ModerateModerateLow to Moderate

Whether you find yourself near a body of water or stumble upon a creek in the wilderness, a fishing pole can help you catch fish for sustenance.

Gill Nets: Efficient and Reliable

When considering fishing gear for survival, it is essential to include gill nets in your arsenal of tools.

These nets are an efficient and reliable option for catching fish in a survival situation.

By using a gill net, you can capture multiple fish at once, increasing your chances of obtaining a substantial food source.

the importance of gill nets for survival fishing

This effective trapping method does not require constant monitoring or active involvement, providing you with more time to focus on other critical aspects of wilderness survival.

Mastering the Art of Hand Fishing and Use of Gorge Hooks

A dynamic and educational depiction of a survivalist mastering hand fishing and the use of gorge hooks in a natural water setting, showcasing the simplicity and efficiency of primitive fishing techniques. The image highlights the survivalist's hands engaging with nature, either catching a fish or setting up a gorge hook, against a backdrop of clear water and lush environment. This illustration emphasizes the importance of direct connection with nature and mastering self-reliance skills for survival enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers

The Basics of Hand Fishing

Hand fishing, also known as noodling or grabbling, is a passive fishing method that requires minimal gear and relies on the fish’s instinctual behavior.

It is a survival fishing technique that allows you to catch fish without the need for traditional fishing tools.

To successfully hand fish, you must first know how to fish and understand the behavior of different fish species.

  1. Find a suitable location for hand fishing, such as a shallow bank or the base of a waterfall.
  2. Locate local fishing spots such as underwater caves, rocks, or submerged logs, where fish tend to hide.
  3. Slowly and cautiously, place your hand in the water, mimicking the movements of natural prey to attract fish.
step-by-step guide for hand fishing techniques, showing hand positions and potential hiding spots for fish

The Use of Gorge Hooks

Another effective technique for survival fishing is using gorge hooks, which are simple yet efficient tools for catching fish.

It allows you to fish without actively hooking the fish, which increases the chances of a successful catch.

  1. Choose the best survival fishing bait that will entice fish to bite, such as small insects, worms, or pieces of meat.
  2. Insert the gorge hook into the bait in a way that it remains hidden.
  3. Cast the baited gorge hook into the water and allow the fish to swallow it.
  4. Once the fish has taken the bait, fish alive until you’re ready to secure your catch.
how to properly bait and set a gorge hook for different types of fish

Below are types of bait best suited for gorge hooks:

Bait TypeFish SpeciesSuccess Rate
EarthwormsTrout, panfishHigh
InsectsBass, sunfishModerate to High
MinnowsPike, perchHigh
CrayfishBass, catfishModerate to High
CornCarp, catfishModerate
BreadCarp, tilapiaModerate
CheeseCatfish, troutModerate

Constructing Effective Fish Traps

Prepper constructing a sophisticated fish trap in the wilderness, using sticks, stones, and plant fibers, showcasing survival skills and preparedness in a dense forest setting, under the golden light of late afternoon

One of the best ways to catch fish without having to constantly monitor your fishing gear is by constructing effective fish traps and gill nets.

These setups allow you to passively collect fish while you attend to other survival tasks.

Fish Traps:

To make a fishing trap, you can start by finding a suitable location with abundant fish and an easily accessible fishing spot. 

Tie your fishing line across a narrow channel or between two trees, and attach bait and hooks along the line.

As fish swim by, they will grab the fish and get hooked.

Fishing Kit Essentials for Your Survival Kit

Survival fishing kit essentials displayed on a rugged terrain by a serene lakeside at dawn, including hooks, sinkers, fishing line, disassemblable rod, baits, and a survival fishing techniques booklet, emphasizing preparedness and self-sufficiency

Survival fishing gear is an essential component of any well-prepared survival kit.

With the right tools and techniques, survival fishing can keep you fed for the long-term and significantly increase your chances of survival.

fishing kit essentials and their importance

Fishing Rods:

One important item to include in your fishing kit is a fishing rod.

Fishing Rod TypeProsCons
Spinning RodVersatile, easy to useLess accurate for long-distance casting
Baitcasting RodGreater casting accuracySteeper learning curve, prone to backlash
Fly Fishing RodPrecise presentations, long castingRequires specific skills, limited versatility, expensive
Telescopic RodCompact, portableLess durable, limited power and casting distance
Ice Fishing RodSpecifically for ice fishingLimited versatility, not suitable for traditional fishing

While a traditional fishing rod may not be practical to carry in a survival situation, you can make a survival or make a fishing rod using available materials in the wilderness.

Aim for a lightweight and durable design that can withstand the challenges of backcountry fishing. 

what makes a great fishing rod

“In the hands of a skilled survivor, even the simplest fishing rod becomes a lifeline.”

Tom Richards, Outdoor Survival Expert

Passive Fishing Strategies: Maximizing Your Catch

Prepper setting up a network of fishing nets and lines in a tranquil river at twilight, utilizing passive fishing strategies within a lush riverside forest, showcasing ingenuity and harmony with the natural environment for survival

Passive Fishing Techniques:

Another must-have item for your survival fishing kit is a selection of passive fishing techniques.

This includes fish traps, gill nets, and jug fishing.

passive fishing techniques and their respective tips

These methods require minimal effort on your part, allowing you to focus on other survival tasks while waiting for the fish to be caught.

Fishing TechniqueTime & Effort RequiredEffectiveness & Potential Yield
TrotlineLowHigh; Can catch multiple fish simultaneously
Fish Traps (crab pots, fyke)Low; Initial setup, periodicModerate to High; Significant catches over time
Set LinesLowModerate to High; Multiple catches over time
Fish WeirsModerateModerate; Effective for channeling fish into

These passive fishing techniques can be a great way to catch multiple fish at once, maximizing your chances of a successful catch and keeping you well-fed during your survival journey.

Using Live Bait

One of the most effective passive fishing strategies to maximize your catch is by using live bait.

the effectiveness of different live bait

Different species of fish are attracted to different types of live bait, so it is important to understand the preferences of the fish you are targeting.

how to secure live bait to hooks in a way that maximizes movement and attractiveness to fish

Small fish such as minnows or worms can be used to attract larger fish, as they are naturally drawn to movement. Secure your live bait to a hook, ensuring it is lively and enticing to the fish.

Preparing and Cooking Fish in the Wild

Prepper preparing and cooking a freshly caught fish by a serene lakeside at sunset, using a fire pit and flat stone, showcasing survival skills and the primal connection with nature, in a peaceful yet adventurous wilderness setting

Preparing and Cooking Your Catch

After a successful fishing session, you’ll be ready to cook your fish in the wild.

Start by cleaning the fish, ensuring that all scales, fins, and internal organs are removed.

  1. If available, create a fire pit or use an existing campfire.
  2. Place rocks around the fire to serve as a cooking platform.
  3. Wrap the fish in foil or banana leaves, along with seasonings and herbs for added flavor.

This method will prevent the fish from falling apart and allow it to cook evenly.

the steps involved in cooking food in a survival situation

How to Make Sure It’s Cooked

Ensure the fish is thoroughly cooked by checking the flesh for opacity and flakiness.

Fish TypeCooking MethodCooking TimeCooking Temperature
SalmonGrilling4-6 minutes/side145°F to 160°F
Smoking1-2 hours180-220°F
TroutGrilling4-5 minutes/side145°F to 160°F
Baking10-15 minutes375°F
Mahi MahiGrilling4-5 minutes/side130-135°F (medium-rare)
TunaGrilling2-3 minutes/side125-140°F
SwordfishGrilling4-5 minutes/side125-140°F
SnapperGrilling4-6 minutes/side145°F
CatfishFrying3-4 minutes/side350°F
PerchFrying2-3 minutes/side350°F

Once cooked, remove the fish from the heat source and allow it to cool slightly. 

Carefully open the foil or remove the banana leaves, being cautious of the steam that may escape.

Serve the freshly cooked fish as a nutritious meal, using any available side ingredients or foraged vegetation to accompany your fish dish.

More Resources:

  1. Outdoor Life provides insights on a range of outdoor survival techniques, including fishing. Discover more at their homepage: Outdoor Life.
  2. Field & Stream offers a wealth of knowledge on fishing, hunting, and outdoor survival. Explore their content at Field & Stream.
  3. Prepping Survival is a comprehensive guide to survival and preparedness, including fishing survival techniques. Learn more at Prepping Survival.
  4. focuses on tactical and survival skills, with practical advice on fishing and other survival essentials. Find out more at
  5. BattlBox discusses a variety of survival strategies, including fishing without conventional gear. Get more information at BattlBox.