Posts tagged: wilderness

How To Improvise A Fishing Rod

How To Improvise A Fishing Rod
How To Improvise A Fishing Rod. Photo – Pexels (PD)

Every serious fisherman knows the importance of owning the right fishing rod. Whether you’re fishing for sport or you’re simply trying to feed yourself, there’s no better way than doing it the old-fashioned way. But in an SHTF situation (whether you’re lost in the wilderness or you’ve found yourself trapped in an end-of-days scenario) you might not have you trusted fishing rod on you. But you won’t necessarily need to. You’ll need nothing more than a knife; having a small tackle box with the right assortment of hooks and some spool of monofilament will make things easier. If you’re lucky enough to have these items on you, you’ll need to improvise the fishing pole only, which it’ll be more than enough to feed yourself in desperate times. If not, well, you’ll need to improvise the whole thing. The rest of the materials you can easily find in your surroundings. And here’s how to do it.

The Pole

The first thing you’ll need to find is the pole; any 6 – 7 foot-long branch will do, as long as it’s no thicker than a human thumb. Once you’ve found the right one, you’ll have to break it off from the tree. Once this is achieved, you’ll need to break it again to the desired length. If it’s dry enough, you can snap it in half against your knee or against any hard surface; but if it’s not dry and it’s still rather flexible, you can try cutting it with the knife. Using dead branches is a bad idea because their durability is very low and break easily. You can test the tip by banding it to the point of snapping. If it snaps, fine; the more it does snap, the stronger the remaining pole gets. As soon as you got the pole to the desired length, use the knife to remove any remaining branches, leaves or shoots. Make it as smooth as possible in order to improve weight and handling.

The Fishing Line

If you happen to have some monofilament fishing like on you, your job gets much easier. If you don’t, sewing thread could get the job done as well. But in sewing thread isn’t an option either, you’ll need to get your hands dirty and look for thin green vines in ground cover or in the undergrowth found around various bushes. The greener the vine, the stronger it will be. If you find a vine that’s about 10 feet, look no further. Remove any tendrils by pulling carefully so you don’t damage the line. For safety, the line should be tied midway down the pole and wrapped as many times as possible towards the tip, where a simple overhand knot will suffice for holding it in place. This way, if the pole breaks, you can immediately catch the line with your hands.

The Hooks And The Bait

Some professional hooks will work extremely well, provided of course you brought some along. If not, you can always use paper clips, safety pins or soda can tabs. Another viable option is to carve your very own V-shaped hooks out of wood (green wood preferably). At one end you’ll need to carve a groove, in the hook-eye area. This will allow you to tie the fishing line onto. As bait you can use pretty much any insect you can get your hands on. The easiest things to get are the earthworms, which can be found underground, under rocks, around moss, and in other moist areas. Once you’ve baited the hook, you’re pretty much ready to go. From here on in it’s all about patience and skill.

When it comes to fishing is a SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation, fishing areas are very important. It’s absolutely necessary to procure the maximum amount of fish with as little resources as possible. So it’s not all about the gear that you have or that you’ve crafted. It’s just as important to know where, when and how to fish. If you’re fishing in stagnant waters, you’ll need to go after still pools. The stillness of the water will make the bait as visible as possible, thus increasing your chances of catching something fast. When it comes to running waters, the area behind exposed boulders would be the best location to catch anything, as fish have a tendency of gathering in such places. You might also want to consider bank fishing, as standing on the water’s edge can also be a very productive fishing method.

As you can see, improvising the entire fishing pole is a rather difficult task, but not impossible to achieve. As previously stated, having line and hooks on you will spare you a lot of trouble. But if not, you’ll just need to put some extra effort into it. Just follow all the steps and you’ll have your DIY fishing rod in no time.

By My Family Survival Plan

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How To Improvise A Fishing Rod
How To Improvise A Fishing Rod. Photo – Pexels (PD)

Keeping Your Head When Lost In the Wilderness

Keeping Your Head When Lost In The Wilderness
Keeping Your Head When Lost In the Wilderness. Photo – Adobe Stock (under license)

All too often I hear people talk about how crazy I am because I like to go into the wilderness with what a lot of people consider minimal gear. “How can you survive out there like that?” they ask in amazement.

I’m quick to point out there’s a difference between just surviving, which is likely to going to be a miserable experience, but leaves you breathing and functioning on the other end; and camping with minimal gear, which means I’m still comfortable but use what’s available in the forest instead of hiking everything in on my back.

First and foremost knowledge is worth more than gear in most situations. If you are forced into a survival situation in the fall for a few nights with no gear at all could you survive? Would you know where to start or would you run through the woods in a panic looking for a way out. If you panic up here in Maine a hunter is liable to find your skeleton in the woods ten years later.

The first thing you need to do is STOP! Sit down, don’t panic, take a few deep breaths, and keep your act together. If you’ve never been lost you’ll tell yourself “Geez, I’d never do that.” Sure, it’s easy to think that when you’re sitting in front of your computer monitor and a kitchen full of food and fresh water just around the corner, but if and when it really happens I can guarantee that you will feel at least a moment of fear.

Ten or fifteen years ago I was snowshoeing in some woods near my house that people never went into that time of year. When I left it was cloudy, but you could at least see where the sun was shining from. A half hour into the hike it started snowing. I kept on, using my best deduction of the direction I was supposed to be going in… and pretty soon was amazed to see the tracks of another person snow shoeing out there. Not only that they were using bear paw snow shoes, just like I was wearing. What were the chances of that?

Zero, as it it turns out. I was looking at my own tracks. When the realization first hit that I was traveling in circles my heart leapt into my throat and my first instinct was to turn and head for the exit as fast as I could. But where was it? The fact that I walked in a circle told me I didn’t have any idea how to get out of that section of woods.

So there I was in a snowstorm, no idea of direction, and it was starting to get dark.

What did I do?

I pulled my pack off – because I’m more likely to be caught naked in the woods than without my pack – and poured a cup of coffee out of my thermos and took a couple of seconds to collect myself. After I was thinking clearly I pulled out my compass and shot my “emergency azimuth” and made my way out to the road.

Other outdoorsman must have a similar idea of doing this. What I do is before I head out I’ll look at a map and find some kind of distinguishing feature, usually a road, and if I know that I’m going to be in the woods to the west of the road I know I’ll have to shoot an easterly azimuth to get out. This is much better than being caught in the woods overnight waiting for rescue crews to come get you. In this case I lived fairly near to where I was hiking, I just hadn’t been in those woods before.

Believe me, even if you don’t panic you will feel a certain amount of apprehension that you’ve lost your direction. Survival is about managing stress, making good decisions, and having enough knowledge about your environment to keep yourself alive.

So what do you do if you become lost?

Check out my next post on Friday!

I actually didn’t do that on purpose. This post was getting too long, so I decided to split it up. So come back Friday and try to not to get lost in the woods before you have a chance to read how to save yourself.

In the meantime, if you’d like to share some ideas I’d be happy to incorporate them into Friday’s article, or if you have a story you’d like to share about survival I’d love to hear it.

Sound off below!

– Jarhead Survivor –