When you find yourself in a survival scenario, it is vital to prioritize how you spend your time. Every minute that you spend working on resources expends calories, water, and must needed time. The four pillars of survival are food, water, fire and shelter. You can survive three weeks without food, three days without water and as little as three hours without warmth from fire or shelter. So, why is food such a big priority if you can make it three weeks?
When your body goes without food for several days, it goes into starvation mode. This means that it starts eating itself to supply energy for survival. This starts by burning fat reserves and muscle, but also progresses to burning organ tissue including brain matter. The side effects of this process include severe headache, weakness, confusion, disorientation, muscle pain, joint pain, nausea, vomiting, light headedness, blackout and extreme mood swings. These symptoms can set in after just a few days of going without food making survival tasks very difficult.
So, now that we have determined that food is vital to survival, we must decide what kind of food to procure and how to procure it. Carbohydrates can give you energy and fill your stomach, but the energy is short-lived. Leafy greens can provide vitamins and minerals, but do not provide many calories.
Animal protein is by far the most difficult to find and most valuable type of food in a survival situation. Hunting requires long hours of hiking in the hot sun, and the odds of success are small. The same goes for trapping. However, fishing can bring you large amount of animal protein with almost no calorie expenditure. In this article, we will discuss how to put together fishing poles and lures with only found items from wilderness environments.
Fishing Pole Materials
The pole itself is a very important element to your fishing setup. The pole extends your reach and allows you to fling your lure out further into the water. However, it also flexes to soften the blow of a fish pulling hard on your line. This prevents the line from breaking as the energy from the fish it transferred to the flex of the pole. However, finding the right material for a fishing pole can be challenging. It must flex not only when it is still green, but also after it dries. In addition, it must be nearly the same diameter throughout the four to seven feet of length.
Willow branches can be ideal for fishing rods. They are plenty flexible, fairly narrow and can be easily found. Birch branches can sometimes accomplish the same thing. In more tropic environments, thin shafts of bamboo or sugar cane can be used. Your best bet is to cut your pole longer than you think you will need. You can then trim it down to fine tune the length and flexibility.
Pole Eyelets and Fishing Line
You can always make a cane pole design and simply tie your fishing line to the end of the pole, but this does not give you much distance with your casting. This design is best if you have a spot to fish directly above deep water such as a bridge or rock outcropping. A better move is to attach eyelets to the rod and run the line through the eyelets. This lets you cast the line out further. Any type of rigid loop can be used for an eyelet. This could be vine, paracord, electrical wiring, soda can tabs, cardboard or even plastic bottle caps with the tops punched out.
To attach the tabs, you will need some sort of adhesive. For this, you can melt plastic or potentially heat up pine resin. If you have no adhesive, you can use thin cordage to tie the loop onto the shaft of your rod. For this you would need interior strands from paracord or electrical wiring. Space out your loops at least two feet apart. Then you can fish your line through the eyelets.
The line itself should be smooth cordage if you are using eyelets. It also needs to be as thin and camouflaged as possible. Thin electrical wiring and the interior strands of paracord can make for decent fishing line. Of course, actually finding fishing line is always the best option. Often you can find discarded fishing line tangled in trees and shrubbery along the banks of rivers, lakes, ponds and streams. If you are making a cane pole, any cordage can work fine.
Attaching a reel to your eyelet fishing rod is important to keep your line from tangling as your reel it back in. Any item that is cylindrical can be attached to the handle to use as a reel. This includes aluminum cans, glass bottles, plastic bottles, cylindrical rocks or cylindrical pieces of wood. To perfect your design, you can cut down a can, plastic bottle or piece of wood to better hold the fishing line. The reel can either be placed on an axle attached to the handle or secured directly to the handle with cordage.
Lures, Weights and Hooks
Live bait, such as worms or insects, is ideal for catching fish, but are not always easy to find. Anything shiny is a great option for a handmade lure. This can include a piece of aluminum from a can, a shiny piece of plastic or a piece of bone. Anything brightly colored can work as well. Often survivalists will find garbage that is brightly colored or small shards of cloth.
It is important that you weigh down your line for one primary reason. It can be a good idea to anchor your lure in one spot, but it is more important that you have the weight needed to cast your line out further. A light setup will likely only go a few feet, but a weighted line can be easily cast 20 to 30 feet from shore. Pieces of metal, rock or wood can be used for weights. For a hook you simply need an item small enough to fit in the mouth of the fish. It also needs a barb or point to stick into the fish and secure it on the line. A small piece of bone can be honed into either a hook shape or simply sharpened on both ends. I also like using either thick wire or soda can tabs to fashion hooks.
When your stomach is growling and you have not eaten in days, nothing satisfies quite like a big fish dinner. Not only does it provide calories and protein, but you also get much needed oils and fats you can only find in fish. It may seem hopeless to fish without your gear, but with a little creativity, you can make a DIY fishing setup with found items from the wilderness. Keep your eyes open and pick up any resources you might find. With a little effort and some time casting a line, you will be feasting on fish before you know it.