Survival Fishing: Hacks for Fishing Without a Pole

Dave

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#1
Fishing is a potential source of food in a survival situation, sometimes the ONLY source of food.

A good survival kit should have some basic fishing line and hooks, but it's likely you won't have a pole. Even if you do, there are other ways to catch fish.

As Hank Williams Jr once said, "We're from North California and South Alabam', And little towns all around this land. And we can skin a buck, and run a trotline. And a country boy can survive"

There are three basic ways to fish without a pole or in a survival situation, some are better in the still waters of a lake, while others are better suited for running waters:

1. Limb lines. Basically, the tree is your fishing pole. You can easily rig several limbs in sequence, varying the depth and type of bait to see what works in your area.

2. Trot lines. As simple as a length of strong fishing line with hooked and baited drop lines hanging down every couple of feet and spread across a stream or pond. Keep the drop lines with the baited hooks about two feet apart and prevent them from sliding up or down the main line when fish are fighting to get free. Tie a small knot on each side of where the drop line is connected to the main line to keep it all in place.

3. Jug fishing. Like a trapper setting traps, jug lines can be a very effective way of targeting specific fish hangouts, and can even be drug behind your raft or canoe on the move.

Each one requires adequate anchor weights to hold them in place if stationary, or drift weights that will help prevent the escape of a large, wriggling fish. Weights are used to restrain and/or control a fishing line and can vary from lightweight sinkers to a big rock. Basic baits include grubs, worms, shad, minnows, local shellfish, “stink” baits, big tasty bugs, or whatever you can find.

NOTE: These methods should be used with caution or for survival only as they may illegal in many locations.

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Dave

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#2
TROTLINES IN DETAIL

A trotline is a heavy fishing line with baited hooks attached at intervals by means of branch lines called snoods. A snood is a short length of line which is attached to the main line using a clip or swivel, with the hook at the other end. A trotline can be set so it covers the width of a channel, river, or stream with baited hooks and can be left unattended. There are many ways to set a trotline, with most methods involving weights to hold the cord below the surface of the water. They are used for catching crabs or fish (particularly catfish).

NOTE: Trotlines should be used with caution or for survival only as they are illegal in many locations.

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Dave

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#4
In winter conditions, you may consider ice fishing.

It can be as simple as knocking a hole in the ice (be careful!) and dropping a baited line in the hole and waiting. If you planned ahead and have extra hooks, line, bobbers and sinkers, you can get after the fish from multiple holes.

One technique is a tip up. This is made by placing a couple good size sticks in an "X" pattern over your hole while ice fishing to suspend a smaller pole with bait at a set depth through a hole in the ice. This helps detect when a fish strikes, without having to be in contact with this piece of gear.

You can see the "flag" or whatever from a distance and can thus manage multiple holes at once, covering a larger area to increase your chance of survival. When a fish does take the bait, a flag "tips up" or the flag can "tip down" to signal that a fish has taken the bait. It's cold out on the ice so you may want to use a "tip-up" so you can set it and watch from a warmer, sheltered location onshore.

Try to suspend your bait in the "cruising lane" where you think fish may be traveling under the ice - they get hungry in winter so they're moving around under there looking for food.

1. First, clip a 1-ounce depth finder or "sounder" weight to the hook and drop it so it falls through the weeds and hits bottom.

2. Pull the sounder up about 1 foot above the tops of the weeds. Clip on a small bobber at water level as your marker.

3. Raise the sounder an additional 3 to 6 inches (to compensate for the fact that the spool will be under the water) and slide the bobber down the line the same distance.

4. Remove the sounder. Hook the bait through the back and drop it through the hole. When you set the tip-up, the bobber should be visible on the last wrap of the tip-up spool. Wait and pray for dinner to arrive.

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Haggis

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#5
Classic non fishing pole techniques employed in the backwoods of ridgerunner country..

Hand Picking... Steathily approaching a stream bank or submerged rook and gingerly easing you hand undernearth feeling for fish, normally trout. Also known as Tickling as you softly reach around the belly of a Trout and than snatch it with your hands. Takes lots of practice to master and best results are in cold conditions or summer heat when the fish are more torpid. Larger trout species like Brown trout are easier to pick. Brookies are like atomic squirrels and are difficult for even the best picker. I’m good, my stepbrother is a savant.

Noodling... similar to the above but involves more open water and submerged stumps and other cover. Usually associated with bullheads and catfish. Instead of reaching under the belly with trout you are either grabbing them by the gills (smaller specimens) or jamming you fist in their mouths to pull them up. It can be unnerving and thrilling at the same time. Also can be done with snapping turtles in their burrows. They go in head first and you reach up over their shells with one hand and and grab the tail with the other and drag them out. It’s a freaking insane tussle and can go sideways if you aren’t focused or tend to be unlucky.

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Seining... basically mounting a net between two poles, adding weights to the bottom, grounding it in the stream bed and then overturning the rocks and logs upstream from the seine. its a two person affair as one holds the seine and the other rakes the current ahead. Anything tossed up in the current gets caught in the net. When the Raker is done the Netter raises the net to capture anything caught. Usually this is for catching crawdads for eating but also for bait like shiners, strawmen and hellgrammites.

Damming... Found a hole on some smaller crick with fish you want to eat but can’t catch? Build an escape viaduct at the bottom of the hole that is small in size width wise but is as low as you can relative to the depth of the hole your targeting. Build a dam upstream of the hole to reduce water flow as much as possible with the intent of draining the fish laden hole as much as possible. If it’s successful, and you need to select a workable hole, you can either catch, spear or net the fish in the lower water levels or do the same as larger fish try and escape via the downstream aqueduct.

Spearing... like it says. Using a crafted spear, or store bought one you jab into the water. Doing so at night with a spotlight is the best method. We use a modified fishing spear with added tines soldered in between the factory ones. One needs to be mindful of refraction and current strength when making a strike. Be fast and sure because any hesitation will be a missed fishy. I’ve had many enjoyable hours out in a John boat spearing suckers and carp from the Allegheny to can or smoke. And many covert nights running the banks of a trout stream tagging brownies.

Boomflies... a long subtle branch and an M80...errr..that might be too much. Keep in mind that some of these methods are frowned upon by local game and fish revenuers so survival use only. Unless your're born and bred Appalachian and than it’s a birthright. ;).

Just some good old boys, never meaning no harm...
 
#6
Beer/Coke can fishing is pretty popular amongst the crowd that doesn't want to buy a rod and reel. I've seen a many a fish caught this way on the river.
 
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