This Article is About
crank baits
fishing rod and reel
treble hook
fishing poles
fishing pole
catching fish
tail spin
bass fishing
Survival Fishing
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Survival Fishing

Last year while working at the Army’s SERE School at Ft. Rucker, Alabama, I asked my co-workers what they thought about catching fish with one of those scrawny dock demon fishing poles. You might know the kind if you’ve ever taken your kid to buy a fishing pole. They are just big enough to keep in the back of your car just in case you see a nice little spot you want to fish for a couple of minutes or just the right size for a little kid trying to learn.

What I proposed to them was using a similar fishing rod and reel for pack carrying into the backcountry. There are some very nice pack poles that you can find online. In my opinion, many of the better ones have a coiled rod in order to lend strength, support give, and ensure the desired flexibility. These are all important aspects when landing the larger fish.

The trouble I was having with my dock demon rig was setting the hook on smallmouth bass. There was just not enough strength to really set the hook. So, after discussing it with my co-workers I switched to self-setting hooks and rooster tail spin casters. I didn’t have any great luck with the spin casters but did slightly better with the self-setting hooks.

For survival fishing purposes in the back country I know these pack poles would be of great benefit, but bass fishing seemed to be harder than previously thought. I moved to poppers in order to avoid the need of setting hooks since the treble hook would do that for me. No luck there either, but that probably had to do more with picking the right time, place, and weather for top water fishing.

I moved to some crank baits and bingo! I started landing smallmouth bass, white bass, crappie, blue gill, and sunfish. My little dock demon was on fire!

Here are my recommendations for packing a survival fishing kit for backcountry hiking or camping:

  • Pack 4-5 crank baits and 1-2 poppers.
  • Keep a bobber and some small hooks so you can use worms, crickets, or guts as the situation dictates.
  • Pack some PowerBait or flies just in case you come across a nice river, but worms should be just fine otherwise. Note: I haven’t tested my dock demon on the river yet, but I’ll update you on the results.
  • And of course, find a small packable pole that you’ve tested and have success before you need to depend on it feeding you.

Lastly, let me briefly mention hook-fishing. This is not allowed in tournaments and I don’t recommend it for general sport/leisure fishing, but it’s something you should practice and/or consider for you survival fishing skills.

Sometimes when a fish makes a strike, but at the last second turns away or when you have one nibbling at it unsure if they want to take the bait, you can quickly jerk the pole just like you’re setting a hook and catch them on the fin or wherever you can. This technique works best when you have a treble hook because you have way more points to catch them with. The drawbacks to this are that you might catch them in the eye and if they’re not limit size you just injured the fish needlessly. I seriously have my reservations on doing this outside of a survival situation, but if you’re going to fry them up regardless, try it a few times and see if you can actually do it.

Remember, practice the things you’re not good at and test everything before the life or death situation is staring you in the face.

Street Talk

When I hear survival situation, I rarely ever thought of fishing. Seems a bit too, leisurely? When you put it like this though, it really does sound like something that could save your life.

  about 8 years ago

You bring up a great point and give me another topic to write about. Fishing while on the move or evading. Thanks for the comment.

  about 8 years ago
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