Fishing is a good way to obtain food in a survival situation. Every survival kit – even mini kits, should have at least a basic fishing kit. At the minimum, you should carry a dozen hooks, six or so swivels, some split shot sinkers, and 50 or 100 feet of braided fishing line. With this minimal equipment you can ensure yourself of a good source of food. It works so well you could call it a magic fishing kit. Well, except you can’t because it doesn’t… but almost every survival expert recommends you carry a fishing kit. Even some otherwise excellent books emphasize the “need” to carry a fishing kit.
I have two problems with that notion. First, the average emergency fishing kit might look really cool, but it’s not going to be effective at catching fish. Second, in order to catch fish there has to be fish available to catch. What if your AO is the Mojave desert? Maybe it’s Peavine Peak. Last time I checked it’s pretty hard to catch fish if there are no streams or ponds or lakes…
I’m no survival expert, but from the time I was 5 years old until I was 18 I fished at least 3 or 4 times a week, every day of fishing season. There were several small streams withing walking distance of our home. Even more within bicycle range. My parents even owned a lot that had TWO good trout creeks on it. As if that weren’t enough, my dad was an avid fisherman. When the local creeks and streams weren’t enough, he’d drive us to the river or one of our favorite lakes. Opening day was a bigger event than Christmas.
Almost all the waters I fished as a kid were small. Little creeks small enough to step or jump over. Even the bigger ones were mostly small enough to wade across (except the river). The lakes we fished were also small. In other words, waters that should be perfect for catching fish with the “magic fishing kit” outfits promote as prepping tools. And I’m here to tell you – catching fish with one of these “magic fishing kits” would be very difficult to almost impossible.
Shoot, even with a decent fishing pole and reel, and the best available bait it was hard to catch fish sometimes. And that’s assuming you have a good place to fish. What if you’re in the middle of the desert or on top of a mountain?
When an author (“noted survival expert”) proclaims that “every survival kit – even mini kits, should have at least a basic fishing kit,” it encourages people to waste money on something they might find useless. Worse, when they proclaim a fishing kit is “an excellent way to procure food” they may be giving people a very false sense of security.
There’s nothing wrong with having a fishing kit in your survival kit if that’s your thing, but if your AO is an area that doesn’t have a place to catch fish, you’re wasting time, money, and pack space on something that’s basically useless. Depending on where you roam, you might be better off packing a few cans of sardines instead of a fishing kit. Even if it’s the coolest mini Altoids tin magic fishing kit on the planet.