In any survival situation, the first thing that you need to do is to find a source of water. We can’t survive for more than two days without it, which emphasizes its importance.

Finding water has one big advantage: if you follow a stream and reach a lake, it will provide a never-ending supply of fresh food.

However, fishing in a survival situation can be tricky. Moreover, carrying your professional fishing kit with you is not the best idea, as it takes a lot of space. There are other means through which you can fish and they don’t require carrying heavy equipment.

Primitive fishing methods have been used for a long time in almost all survival situations. It used to be a way of life for our ancestors who relied greatly on catching fish.

Learning these methods can greatly increase your chance of survival, especially if you have limited resources at your disposal.

However, trapping and spearfishing may be illegal in your area. Make sure that you check the laws before trying these for yourself. Of course, if you are in a survival situation the law becomes of lesser importance. On the other hand, if you want to practice these skills, you need to do so by respecting the local laws.

Fish Weirs

weirNative Americans used fish weirs as an easy way to catch a large amount of fish. Traditional weirs were made of wood or stone and on very large scales. The amount of fish caught was often traded or sold to nearby villages

While they are illegal in most places, in a survival situation, learning how to make a fishing weir could prove to be very helpful. The goal is to create an opening that the fish can swim into but can’t easily swim out of.

Required materials:

  • Knife
  • Sticks
  • Flat Rock

The first thing that you need to do is locating a bunch of straight sticks and sharpen each end to a point. Then, starting from one end of the rock, push the sticks into the ground to create an M-shape.

Leave an opening directly across from the rock, small enough for fish to swim in, but not large enough where the fish can escape. Next, plug any gaps between the larger sticks with smaller ones.

Now all you need to do is bait your trap. Use fish scraps, corn, grasshoppers, or whatever you have available to use as bait. 

Fishing Line

fishing lineThere are a lot of ways in which you can make a fishing line, but it all comes down to what you have at your disposal.

Fishing Line From Everyday Items:

  • Shoelaces
  • Cut articles of clothing into strips
  • Twisted strips of plastic
  • 550 Paracord

Primitive Bark Fishing Line

primitive barksFor a bark fishing line, cedar trees work best. However, you may not always be able to find them. If you do not have a cedar tree around I recommend that you determine what type of trees you have nearby and locate a similar one.

So, first things first, locate a cedar tree. Keep in mind that the larger the tree, the better. Next, cut a line through the outer bark of about 1/4-inch deep.

Pry at the cut until you can grip the bark with your finger and then pull the bark upwards. Now, locate the inner bark layers (the 3rd layer in). You will first see the outer bark, then the tan layer (cambium) and then the inner bast, which is what you want.

Now, take your knife and start pulling out strips. Some larger strips can even be pulled in half if needed. Reverse wrap the fibers until you have a usable bark fishing line.

Survival Hooks 

survival hooksYou can make a hook out of any material: soda can tabs, paper clips, safety pins, nails, small bones, or even animal claws.

Having a knife offers you a few more options. Locate a small bone or seashell and fashion it into the shape of a standard fishing hook. Make a small hole in the top and thread your string through that.

Gorge Hook

gorge hookThe Gorge hook or toggle hook is one of the easiest primitive fishing hooks to make. It is basically a small, dense stick that has been whittled to a point on both ends and that has a small notch in the center. It is highly important to match the size of the hook to the size of the fish that you are trying to catch. If you are in a small pond and make a 2-inch hook, you probably won’t catch a lot of fish.

To make a Gorge hook, the first thing that you need to do is to choose a hardwood like holly or oak, about a quarter inch in diameter. Next, you need to sharpen both ends. For bluegill and panfish, sharpen a ¾ of an inch long hook about 1/8-inch diameter.

Lastly, notch out the center and tie a string around it, and then put a piece of meat or bait on one end.

The idea behind it is simple. Once the fish takes the bait, he swallows the entire hook. Since it is pointed on both ends, once the hook is set it will become lodged in the fish’s throat.

Fish Baskets

basketsBuilding a fish basket is a great passive way to catch fish. Once you get it set up, you can continue with more pressing items, such as building a shelter or gathering supplies.

A fish basket has two parts: the body and the cone-shaped cap. The concept is not very different from the fishing weir. Fish are lured to the inside of the trap through a small opening in the cone and are not smart enough to swim back out. The cone typically has pointed ends on the inside of the trap.

These are the most important methods that you need to know in order to be able to fish in a survival situation. Keep in mind that the most important aspect of survival is your ability to manage any type of situation, regardless of the conditions. Being prepared is the key to your survival and there is no such thing as being “over-prepped”.

What other primitive survival methods do you know? Have you ever tried them yourself? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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