Finding food in the wild isn’t as easy as some people think. The idea of being able to hunt and forage might make for a nice image, but when push comes to shove, you’re going to have a hard time finding enough food to eat. There’s no shortage of game now, but when 330 million people are looking for food, the amount of available game is going to diminish rapidly.
Because of this, the idea of trying to survive by hunting is not really practical; but it might still be possible to survive by fishing. By and large, fish are more plentiful and while I’m sure there will be plenty of people trying to catch them, there will probably still be fish available to find.
The question then becomes, how do you catch those fish? This is not the time to get out the old spinning rod and your favorite lures. That’s a slow way to harvest fish and one that will require too much of your time. While you might do some fishing that way, for the most part, you’ll need to rely on three other methods:
Fish traps have been used for centuries to catch fish, predominantly on inland waters. These traps can take many different forms, depending on who is making them and what materials are available. I’ve seen native fish traps woven from grass, fish traps made of coke bottles and commercially manufactured traps made out of metal.
The basic concept of any fish trap is to have a narrow opening that the fish come in, opening into a larger holding area. If possible, a large funnel area should lead to that narrow opening, channeling the fish to it as the swim. Fish are accustomed to swimming though tight areas, so they won’t think anything of it. But once inside, they won’t have an easy time finding the exit.
One easy way of making a fish trap in a pond or stream is to use sticks. Cut a bunch of sticks that are long enough to drive into the bottom of the pond or stream and still reach above the waterline. Then drive them into the bottom, spacing them close enough together, so that the fish can’t swim back out between them, all but at the opening. Then add more sticks, forming the funnel.
Once the sticks are driven into place, it’s helpful to weave long grass over the tops of the sticks, helping to hold them in position. While the trap will work without them, it will last longer, allowing it to catch more fish, if this added step is taken.
Fishing nets allow you to catch any fish you see, rather than expecting the fish to come to whatever you’re using as bait. They do take some time to learn to use effectively. The one I’d recommend is a casting net. This will be roughly cone shaped, with a cord that can be pulled to close the edges up, once it has been cast. Anything within that area will be caught.
You can buy casting nets made from various different materials. However, for the sake of a bug out bag, I’d recommend a monofilament one. That will be lighter and more compact than a polyvinyl cord one. However, it won’t last as long.
There is a line of automatic reels on the market, which are ideal for a survival situation. They come in multi-packs, so you can set several reels, while going off to do other survival tasks. The reels are extremely sensitive and react quickly if the bait is taken, hopefully catching the fish.
It’s important to attach the reels firmly to a tree branch when using them, as most fish will fight when caught. The line on the reel is fairly stout, but if the reel isn’t attached well, you could lose the whole thing. But properly set, it’s more about the bait you use and whether the fish are in the mood.