Survival Fishing - Fishing for Food in a Hunger Survival Situation


Survival fishing is one of the easiest and cheapest ways of putting food on the table. You may not be a fan of fish but the tools and the skill required to take down a deer or elk make it a daunting task in any survival situation. Even rabbits are going to be a challenge when you have to put a lot of time and effort into building a snare and finding a path that rabbits are likely to travel on.

Fish are just a much easier prey and can be found almost anywhere.

Saving Your Energy

The longer you go without protein from different foods the weaker you are going to get and the harder the task is of finding food. Right away you should go about securing enough drinking water and food before you start experiencing the effect from not having enough. Unless you’re a skilled hunter with the tools to get the job done, you should rely on fishing.

A Simple Survival Fishing Kit

Before any disaster strikes you should already have a simple survival fishing kit. Your kit should include monofilament, or fishing line, weights, and hooks for the bare minimum. 

  • Don’t worry about having a stringer to keep your fish on. It’s super easy to make one out of a stick with a fork in it. 
  • You don’t have to have weights but they come in handy for getting your bait down to the fish if you are fishing in a moving stream or brook. In still water like a pond, the weight of the hook and bait will do the work absent a weight.
  • When it comes to hooks use a very small bait hook, size 12 or 14 work well. After all, you’re not going for size here, small fish will do nicely. If your hook is too large you will miss out on plenty of edible sized fish and it takes much longer to outwit the larger wiser more experienced fish.  
  • You don’t really have to worry about a fishing pole or reel. Getting your hook out in the depths where big fish are is not necessary. Go for the easy pickings close in to shore and you can use just line, or line and a 6 foot stick for that.


Some people like to keep bait in their survival fishing kits but it’s almost always better to dig up bait near where you are going to be fishing. The critters you can dig out of the mud are going to be the ones the fish are used to seeing and feeding on so they will be more likely to take your bait. Introducing unfamiliar bait is more likely to drive fish away from your hook.

Live bait is no guarantee of catching fish. If you do have a survival kit already prepared and have it with you it would be nice to have a few spinners and other lures. Some fish like trout found in most mountain streams and lakes need more action to spur their interest. Since survival fishing takes time, it’s a good idea to set up more than one type of bait or fishing device. If you can set up 2-3 different ones you may be able to spend time doing things like making a fire while you are waiting for fish to bite.

It’s Not Sport Fishing

If you have never ever fished before, put together a very simple kit covering all the basics. Then when you next vacation, take a day out and use the basic kit to go fishing. Get the kids involved and make a day of it, use this exercise day to see what’s working and what’s failing.  If the day is a complete disaster – don’t worry it’s been a day well spent. Re-assemble your kit and skills and also ask for tips from people you know who fish – what equipment and tips do they use?

Survival fishing is not sport fishing so don’t get bogged down trying to be fair about it. Use any method you can dream up to catch fish even if it means smashing them with large rocks. The only goal here is to catch a fish of any size so use any means necessary. You will find that surviving will be much easier on a full stomach. Hunger is distracting and demoralizing, both can be detrimental to survival.

Return from Survival Fishing to SHTF Survival

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