Survival Fishing

Fishing is a terrific sport and pastime. It’s a great excuse to get out of the house for a weekend and relax on a summer afternoon. Many a fisherman has found the sport to be incredibly rewarding and even life changing. It’s also an excellent source of food when you’re facing an emergency situation. Knowing how to catch fish when you’re in a crisis could save your life one day.

Before we look at this survival tactic, it’s vital to acknowledge that some forms of survival fishing are illegal under normal circumstances due to preservation laws. These practices should not be pursued as a hobby. In a life or death situation, however, the authorities are more likely to overlook your methods and accept that you had to break the rules in order to stay alive.

Don’t get caught in a crisis unprepared if you can possibly help it. But when you need food and have no other way to get it, here are six survival fishing methods that could come in very handy.


Pack Your Supplies

  • The best way to catch fish in an emergency is to have your necessary fishing supplies already on hand. That includes an assortment of hooks, swivels, lines, and weights in your emergency preparedness kit. You should take these with you wherever you go. That way, if you find yourself stranded, you’ll have the supplies you need to catch fish with ease.


Create a Multi-Line Trap

  • To increase your odds of catching fish without a pole, try attaching multiple fishing lines with baited hooks to an array of low-lying branches over a body of water. Once you have multiple fishing traps set, you’re more likely to catch at least one fish in a day, which should be enough to sustain you for at least 24 hours. Again, please remember that this is illegal in many states, but if it saves your life, it’s worth a try.


Scout Out Fishing Locations

  • No matter what method you’re using to catch fish, you’re not likely to snag a meal if you’re fishing in the wrong places. Fish tend to prefer the cover of grass, weeds, lily pads, logs, and other hiding places along the water’s edge. You’ll have better luck if you set your sights on these areas rather than the middle of a stream or lake.


Drift Nets

  • Please note that this method of fishing is also currently illegal. If you use drift nets under any circumstance other than a true emergency, the punishment can be a heavy fine and even jail time. You can catch multiple fish at a time with this method, however, which could sustain you long enough for rescuers to find you.


Know Which Natural Bait Is Effective

Most people don’t carry worms in their emergency survival kit, but you can find natural bait just about wherever you are. Below are some of the best natural bait to look for when you have to catch fish.

  • Minnows
  • Leaches
  • Small fish
  • Crickets
  • Maggots
  • Grasshoppers
  • Crawdads
  • Worms
  • Beetles


Your ability to find natural bait will depend on your location and terrain. For example, grasshoppers are more likely to be found in dry, tall grasses, and worms are commonly located in wet, muddy places.

Remember that your bait must be alive if it’s going to attract fish, so take care when you’re trying to catch the little critters.


Balloon Fishing

  • Along with your hooks, lines, and sinkers, you might carry a package of balloons in your emergency pack. They can be inflated slightly to use as floats for your multiple fishing lines if there are no overhanging branches for you to use. When a fish bites the bait, it won’t be able to pull the balloon underwater. As long as you attach the balloon with a second line to a secure place on shore, the fish won’t be able to swim away, and you’ll now be alerted that a fish has been caught when the balloon begins bobbing on the surface of the water.


Each of these fishing methods is of course unorthodox for a normal fishing trip, but when you’re desperate to eat, you’ll be grateful that you came prepared.