There is no way around it- Mother Nature can be brutal at times. Close to 2,000 people get lost in the woods each year, and you could be one of them if you are not careful. You might be an outdoorsy type of person, but can you survive off the land if you need to? Learning about plants helps and knowing how to fish will prove vital if you are not found for a while.
Survival Rod and Lure
The first thing you want to do is try to make a rod and lure. This might sound intimidating at first, but it will get easier as you continue to practice. Make a number of these fishing rods by hand a few times so that you are an expert
The following steps will teach you how to make a rod and lure:
- Grab a tree branch, and make sure it is about seven inches in length. The diameter of the widest end of the branch should be the size of your thumb.
- Break the branch until it is the length it should be.
- Cut away all side branches.
- Bend the tip to make sure it’s strong. Do not worry about it breaking because it just means your tip is strong.
- Look for green vines as they will be your fishing line. The fishing line should be around 15 feet. You can tie a few vines together with a strong knot.
- Wrap the line over the branch a few times, which should give you time to grab the vine if the branch breaks while fishing.
- Tie the vine to the end of the stick using a strong knot.
- Look for a small V-shaped stick, and carve the ends until sharp. Tie this hook to your vine.
- Look for live bait, such as earthworms or crickets.
Those who cannot find the tools to make an emergency rod and fishing line might need to rely on hand fishing. This way of fishing is primitive. Look for shallow waters where you can stand, and use all of your strength to catch a fish.
Some fishers look for a hole in the water and stick their hands inside. These holes may be inhabited by fish such as catfish. All you have to do is stick your hand in, and wait until the catfish tries to defend itself by biting you, which is when you can grab it. Catfish do not have teeth, so it shouldn’t be too uncomfortable.
Others like to form a hand trap in the water by creating a small passage with their hands so that a fish can swim through it. The passage needs to be small enough so that you can feel the fish swim through, which is when you grab the fish and pull it out. Do not handle the fish because it will struggle. You want to just throw the fish out the water.
Cooking the Fish
Okay, so you might know how to gut a fish with your knife. You have probably brought fish home with you and cooked it in your oven or stove-top, but survival cooking is a little different.
What you want to do is prepare the fish and fire. Wait until the fire is reduced to coals and embers before you actually start cooking. This should give you enough time to prepare the fish. You do not want to place your fish over the fire directly because it will likely scorch or carbonize.
Grab large leaves from bushes or trees. Make sure these leaves are as green as possible. Wrap your fish in these leaves about three times. The reason you are doing this is to ensure that the fish is cooked evenly, and avoid the hot spot issue associated with fire cooking. The fish is not done until it looks opaque and has cooked thoroughly.
Fish to Avoid
There are a number of fish you need to avoid such as sea bass due to its high level of mercury. You might also want to avoid mackerel for the same reason.
Walleye is another type of fish you should avoid due to its mercury level but also because it contains toxins. The toxin compounds in this fish are known as PCBs, and you do not want to get sick in an emergency situation.
You do not know how long it is going to take for you to find your way back home so you might need to make preparations for the long haul. This means you should learn how to dry fish for later consumption.
The first step is to prepare fish like you would normally, and clean it. The next thing you want to do is remove the blood using salt water. You want to have about three hundred grams of salt in one liter of water, and submerge the fish in this solution for 30 minutes before cleaning it off again. Then, you want to place the fish in enough salt water to make the fish float. Place a clean piece of wood and a stone over the fish to submerge it. Cover the container for six hours. Hang the fish to dry in sunlight. You can set it near fire so the smoke keeps bugs away, or add some salt to the fish as it dries.
These are just some of the things that you can do to eat fish during an emergency. Be sure to learn how to do this before the emergency happens so that you are prepared.
Heather is a contributing writer for Davis 5 Ranch. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and outdoor activities.