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Survival Fishing

by: Lloyd Tackitt 2/8/2013

One of the thoughts that is always in the back of my mind, especially living on a river like I do, is that if the big one comes I can survive fairly well by fishing.  It's not just in case of the big one either but also in case of a monetary collapse.   It's a comforting thought - well somewhat comforting anyway.

Even small catastrophes could disrupt our fragile food supply system.  I drive three hours every day on the I-35, have for years, and I am still amazed at the number of 18 wheelers I see every trip.  The trucks outnumber passenger cars in the early morning.  They flow down the highway like blood cells in an artery, delivering food among the many other items.  If he truckers ever got together in a strong union they would own us. 

A more likely scenario is a hurricane isolating an area for a couple of weeks, or perhaps an earthquake.  If the trucks couldn't get in to your area, neither would food.  Most folks probably have a couple of weeks of food in their house.  It wouldn't take much to cause hunger, since our food supply system is locked up in our transportation system.

But I kinow how to catch fish.  I know several ways of catching fish.  The lakes and rivers and streams are, for the most part, a veritable supermarket of food.  Food and water and shelter, the three basics.  Two of them are easily located for most people that don't live in a city.  Shelter is easy enough to come by or to build.  The lakes and rivers are natural storage devices for food also.  Unless you smoke or dry your catch for long term preservation, more than you can eat in a day will go to waste. 

Hundreds of millions of people don't have the first clue about catching fish.  Probably wouldn't occur to them at all.  I'm reminded of a survival television show that was on for awhile.  A group of people were pretending that a plague had hit the country, wiping out nearly everyone.  For the show they were living in a warehouse compound near New Orleans.  They were going through all kinds of gyrations to find food, and yet they had a canal running right through the property.  They put only a minimal amount of mostly mis-directed effort into catching fish in the canal.  In real life these people would have starved to death in sight of a great supply of food.  It was an eye-opener how much time and effort they used up in building a solar shower instead of catching fish.  Dumb doesn't describe it.

Much of the world's population once depended on fishing, and to this day many still do, especially in undeveloped countries.  It's not like it's a new idea, or one that hasn't been proven time and time again to work.  Yet, how many people today would starve with fish living right next to them?  Way too many.

Fishing is just about perfect for survival food.  The meat is healthy protein for our bodies, we can harvest what we need on a near daily basis.  Throw in some wild greens or nuts or berries and we have a pretty well balanced diet.  Fat becomes a bit of a problem, our bodies need fat as well as protein and vegetable matter.  Many northern fish will supply the fat as well.  Some of the southern fish have a bit of fat in them, catfish and carp come to mind.  Maybe not enough though so a bit of hunting might be required to get enough of that on a long term basis.

Like me though I suspect that the majority of fisherman have hunting skills too.  For those that don't I expect they have been exposed to enough wildlife while fishing to have a good idea of where to find game. 

When you're fishing you're also practicing survival.  You learn where to find fish and how to catch them.  Survival fishing might quickly progress from our ususal tightly confined sport fishing techniques to more mundane techniques - such as usiing bait on set hooks or trotlines.  Knowing where fish gather and their habits makes trapping them easier as well.  Making a fish spear is simple and in the right places productive.  We know the right places.

Keep it in the back of your mind when you are fishing that you are also practicing and improving your survival skills, skills we hope we never need in that way, but just in case...

Blog content © Lloyd Tackitt
Member comments
Flyrodn, CO   2/9/2013 12:31:08 PM
Good thoughts
MathGeek, CO   2/9/2013 2:32:09 PM
Fish and game will likely go quickly during any extended survival scenario. I would look at the possible taking of fish and game as supplemental protein for the family rather than a primary source of caloric needs. Those with some interests in surivial should stockpile essential staples in the home or basement and also become skilled gardeners in the appropriate season. Water, rice, beans, peanut butter, and some canned fruits and veggies are a good start. Add some canned tuna to the mix for some high quality protein, we prefer the tuna in oil for the extra calories. I think the preferred game species of fish will go quickly and the CPW may have other priorities rather than restocking trout. The ability to harvest non-preferred species like shad, carp, and suckers would probably be more useful than skill taking trout and bass. Fuel may be in short supply also, so keep in mind that the ability to bring home supplemental protein without burning a lot of fuel is more valuable.
FISHRANGLER, CO   2/9/2013 8:42:39 PM
O would drain the lakes and rivers to feed the masses..
FISHRANGLER, CO   2/9/2013 8:44:00 PM
You have 1 month survival with that plan.
Dubtrout, CO   2/9/2013 9:25:56 PM
This is great read Loyd. I would imagine the greatest generation and even people before them went through similar thoughts as yours during the big D. They were much better at adapting and surviving, and more resourceful too! For me survival is about knowing your surroundings, exploiting what works and being confident...much like fishing. and much like life. I must admit I am a bit concerned for my generation, especially in times without tthe essentials, you know like smartphones and twitter, mcdonalds and c-stores... As you said, they wouldn't have the slightest clue. Me. I'll be fishing. and surviving.
Lloyd Tackitt (Lloyd Tackitt), TX   2/10/2013 8:49:41 AM
I wouldn't want to suggest that we don't stock up with long term storage food supplies, it's a gret idea. It's also an idea that until recently was considered not just normal, but essential. Only lately has it been considered a fringe activity. I think that in large part it has become considered so out of denial. I believe that most everyone is well aware of how fragile their food supply is and don't want to face the fear of fully acknowledging it I'm trying to give them the benefit of the doubt anyway. I wouldn't want to rely solely on fishing/hunting/gathering - but it's comforting to know that if I had to I probably could. At least I would have a much better than even chance of pulling it off. But - and this is a big but - there are literally hundreds of millions of our fellow citizens that would have a less than even chance, far less. Fishermen are way ahead of the curve on this, even without trying to be. Fishing skills bleed over into survival skills. Skills they may never have thought of having. It wouldn't hurt though to keep it in mind when out fishing, and to hone those skills not just for the pleasure of the sport - but just in case.
FISHRANGLER, CO   2/10/2013 9:56:50 AM
I am frightened by the thought of the trucks stopping for what ever reason. People will die and before they die they will try to take anything and everything you have to survive. Because they would not know what you know. My best advice in a doomsday scenario would be, stay as far away from others as you can for as long as you can. Let the masses kill each other off and do your fishing at night with a simple trout line. Oh and if this was to happen Lloyd ,keep this in mind. Everyone up in CO will be cold because we would not have power. How big is your house in TX? Good read.
nobassinsummit, CO   2/10/2013 10:26:10 AM
Interesting thoughts. Depending on how much of a disaster was happening and where your river's water came from would determine your ability to survive. A complete monetary collapse could stop water at many damns as well as people starting to make there own damns to store water. Whoever is farthest upriver or closest to melt off is more likely to succeed. If this happens though I would reccomend a large gill net over a "trout line" LOL.
esoxrocks, CO   2/10/2013 8:26:28 PM
I tend to side w/ MathGeek & Fishrangler. Fishing skills may buy you a couple weeks or something…maybe. Every guy with a rod, net, or stick of dynamite will hit the lakes and rivers, basically wiping out fish populations very quickly. Local authorities will also likely impose curfews so those of us in populated areas probably won’t get out our front doors. Unfortunately, pure dumb luck (being in the right place), access to monetized assets, or your contacts and connections will play a much larger role in ultimate survival than the ability to harvest fish and game.
JKaboom, CO   2/11/2013 1:11:52 AM
Certainly a skill of a group of skills that are related and others that are not related that we have. For example how to repair stuff, improvise, practial problem solving, etc... Good read and topic :)
Lloyd Tackitt
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