We’ll all heard the adage about giving a man a fish and feeding him for a day, and teaching a man to fish and feeding him for a lifetime. There is a lot of truth in those words, and indeed, empowering people to provide for themselves is often the best way to help someone. So if you’ve never fished before, please accept this information and then share it with others. Once you have a feel for this endeavor (or even before), you can stock some fishing gear in your survival kit, and always be prepared. At a minimum, you should have some good line and a variety of hooks.
Select Your Fishing Line
There are many different brands and styles of fishing line, and most anglers have their favorites for specific fish. All you really need to know in the beginning is to look for the number that indicates the line’s breaking strength (commonly sold in the US as “pound test”). A light pound test line will be from 4-8 pounds, and is suitable for panfish, small trout and similar sized fish. A 6 to 12 pound test line can handle bass, pike and walleye. 10 to 15 pound test can haul in lake trout, salmon, striped bass, and other big boys. If you get into saltwater fishing, you may need line that is 30 to 45 pound test.
The hook is really humanity’s attempt to grow some claws. Eagles have little trouble grabbing slippery trout with their hooked talons, and our ancestors borrowed the idea from these birds, no doubt. If you decide to fish with natural bait, or something that resembles it, you’ll need bare hooks that are appropriate in size and construction for your intended fish. The variables in hook selection are numerous. The size of wire that made the hook is relevant, along with the length of the hook’s shank, the bend of the hook, the eye style and placement, the point and barb, and even bait holding slices (barbs) on the shank. The hook packaging may give you some tips about the right hook for the fish of your choice, but if in doubt, go a little smaller, just to make sure it will fit in their mouth.
These tips, and many more survival tips, are in MacWelch’s books: Prepare For Anything, The Hunting and Gathering Survival Manual, How To Survive Anything, and available now, Tim’s latest release, The Ultimate Winter Survival Handbook.
Follow him on Twitter @timmacwelch
And check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles in Outdoor Life Magazine