Survival Fishing Kit: Worth the Time or Useless Gear?

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Imagine a gathering of 10,000 preppers at a convention somewhere in the heart of Las Vegas and at that convention every single prepper had brought their own fully stocked bug out bag. The same bug out bags that each person had diligently packed using checklists gleaned from various prepping blogs, YouTube videos and their own personal experience. I would bet that a high percentage of them, maybe 90% or greater would have one very simple piece of gear in there somewhere along with the fire-steel, water filters, emergency blankets and survival knives. They would all have a survival fishing kit.

The survival tin, which is usually the container for the survival fishing kit is I think one of the most discussed pieces of gear in prepper circles. A quick search on YouTube finds well over 100,000 videos of preppers showing the contents of their tins, opening up the survival tins they receive from internet shopping and discussing the range of life saving implements they have been able to squirrel away in the confines of these small boxes.

I think the survival tin is so popular for a couple of reasons. They are really simple to make, just grab an assortment of items that you think can help you out if you are ever faced with some life or death survival scenarios. All you need, generally speaking are items that many of us already have lying around our homes somewhere. I put the contents of a sample survival kit below.

Most of us can see the utility in having these items in our possession. The survival tin is designed to hold this potentially life-saving gear in a relatively compact form that is easy enough to slip in your pocket everyday as you head out the door. This is a mandatory part of many prepper’s EDC gear and I agree that if you had this in your pocket and were dumped in the middle of nowhere, next to a river at 0 Dark 30, you would be much better off than someone who had nothing. At least you could use the flashlight to see your way to using your flint and tinder to make a fire. Then you could take the survival fishing kit to catch a nice big trout for your sustenance. But for the rest of us who aren’t subjected to the life of a hypothetical Bear Grylls episode and aren’t dropped anywhere, does a survival fishing kit make much sense at all or is it wasting space in our bug out bags, backpacks and pants pockets? Is it giving you a false hope for food that might never materialize?

A survival fishing kit doesn’t have to be complicated or take up too much space.

Does it make sense to have a survival fishing kit in your Bug out Bag?

I am not a big fish eater to be perfectly honest, but I grew up fishing with my friends in the neighborhood where we lived. In our area we had two fairly decent sized lakes within a short walk through the woods. In these lakes, we caught plenty of brim, crappie, bass and even a catfish or two. I completely understand the rationale behind having a way to catch fish as food and if you get lucky, a decent sized fish or even several smaller fish could provide a nice meal which if you are starving, could save your life.

There are dozens of survival fishing kits already assembled.

But fishing isn’t just as simple as throwing a hook into the water. Along with that survival fishing kit, you need the right bait, a good bit of luck and a small amount of skill and patience. Come to think of it, a lot of hunting activities share those traits. I think that many preppers assume that if they only have that handy little survival fishing kit in their bags they will be bringing a feast back to the campsite with ease. This is yet another one of the myths that I think preppers believe about bugging out to the woods.

I think that having the ability to even try your hand at fishing during a survival situation is going to come down to several factors but the top two that come to mind are your location and your availability to fish. Are you bugging out where there are any lakes, ponds or rivers with fish in them? Are you on the move? Can you stop and risk the exposure of fishing? Can you afford to alert others with a fire and the smell of fresh fish cooking? How large is your group?

You might argue that the supplies you need for a good fishing kit are so small and insignificant when it comes to weight that they are good to have anyway. I can buy that, but I think that some people are hanging their hopes on their perceived ability to put food on the blanket and simply having some hooks, weights and fishing line in your survival tin doesn’t guarantee you will catch anything or even find a place to fish in the first place.

What goes into a good survival fishing kit?

The contents of a survival fishing kit are pretty basic and true to the survival tin idea, they don’t need to take up much space. Could you fashion your own hooks with a soda can tab or natural materials and leave the fishing kit at home? Sure but for the size and weight I would rather have the real thing. Fishing line is hard to replicate in nature and it really doesn’t cost much at all to put these supplies together.

A good survival fishing kit should have at a minimum:

  • 50 ft. of sturdy mono-filament fishing line. 20lb test or higher will reduce the chance of it breaking. You can use a stick to wrap your line around similar to how a kite string works.
  • Assorted hooks for the fish in your area
  • Bobbers or you can use any material that will float like a piece of Styrofoam or wood.
  • Sinkers
  • Fishing lures or fake worms, whatever works best for your area. If you don’t know just ask the guy behind the counter at the place you are buying the fish hooks.


If you have fishing supplies at home, this should be easy to pull together or if you would rather buy a pre-built kit they have plenty of survival fishing kits online and most are less than the price of a meal out. Knowledge of basic knots that won’t come undone easily will help you here also. It would really suck to finally catch a nice fish only to have the hook come off the line as you are nearing shore and your dinner swim away into the deep.

So what is my answer to the question I posed at the beginning? I think because they are so compact and could give you the ability to catch fish if the right situation presented itself, a survival fishing kit makes a good addition to your bag. I would only expect to be able to use this in certain situations/locations though and not as a reliable source of food for survival. It’s the same with snares and traps, they can catch game for you but you have to be incredibly lucky to have an animal wander through the woods to your trap in the first place so don’t bet the farm on these two methods unless you are already living remotely well before the collapse. These make good supplies to have in my opinion, but not realistic food gathering options unless you are extremely lucky in a bug out scenario. Once the dust has settled and you are all living like nomads, then a good fishing kit would be a great idea.

What do you think?

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