Fishing without a rod is a critically important survival skill and it’s one that you may be forced to use if you’re ever stuck out in the wilderness and need to forage for your own food. It’s certainly not the easiest thing to learn, but there are also a variety of proven methods that are at your disposal.
The key concept to fishing without a rod is to improvise. Improvise to make your rod, your line, your lures and bait, and your hook. In addition, you can also fish without having to use any type of a rod at all. We’ll examine these methods as well, but first, let’s start with how you can improvise a complete fishing rod.
Improvising Fishing Rods
Fishing hooks can be made out of a wide variety of materials such as soda can tabs, nails, paper clips and safety pins, needles, and even bones and claws. In fact, you should have the easiest time improvising fishing hooks over everything else in this article. All you need to do is take your soda can tab, nail, paper clip, or whatever and then use either your hands or a pair of pliers to morph it into the shape of a fishing hook.
Improvising Fishing Lines
As with fishing hooks, you have a wide variety of options for improvising fishing lines as well. Everything from thin wire pieces to dental floss to clothing threads to sinew and vines are easy to find and work beautifully for fishing line. All you have to do is tie it tightly around your fishing hook, and you’re well on your way to assembling your improvised fishing gear in good order.
Improvising Fishing Lures
While the purpose of your fishing bait is to try to get a bite from the fish, the purpose of the lures is to attract the fish’s attention in the first place. Earrings and other bright pieces of jewelry, shiny metals, features, and colored pieces of cloth will all work as fishing lures. The colored piece of cloth will especially work well in clear water.
Improvising Fishing Bait
If you’re out in the woods, you should have no trouble finding fishing bait. Dig up the ground for worms, or try your luck at catching dragonflies or grasshoppers.
Remember that you have better chances of catching fish if your bait is alive and moving, basically imitating the natural food of the fish.
Improvising Fishing Pole
To use fishing poles, you should be able to easily find a makeshift pole or branch that will work if you’re out in the woods. Make sure that your selected branch is sturdy enough to handle a tugging fish but also light and thin enough so that you can move it around quickly, just like a real fishing pole. You should remove any branches or vegetation on your pole, and consider cutting a notch into the end of it to set your fishing line in so the line doesn’t go away.
You may decide that you don’t need an improvised fishing pole at all. You could just hold onto your line with your hands and reel it in and out that way, or you could wrap your line around a stake near the water or a branch that hangs over a running stream. You can be creative in how you do this.
Improvising Fishing Spears
Spear fishing is an art that has been used for thousands of years, and it’s one of the most viable alternatives to fishing with a pole. Spear fishing is best done at night in shallower water, where you hold a torch over the water in an attempt to attract the fish.
A fishing spear can be made out of completely natural materials, but it is different from a traditional spear. Rather than having a single sharpened point, it should instead have a gaping jaw with at least three or four sharpened prongs. To accomplish this, find a green sapling and split it six inches on one of the ends until you have four separated prongs. Use a knife or another sharp object to sharpen each prong. Then, use cordage or vine to tightly tie around where the base of the prongs meets the rest of the sapling. This way, the prongs will not splint further.
The reason why a pronged spear is the best option for a fishing spear is because it gives you a greater advantage for catching a fish. Whereas with a traditional spear you have to make sure that your score a direct hit on the fish with the end, by using a prong you can either trap the fish inside of the prongs or you can stab it through on any one of the sharp ends.
Improvising Weir Fishing
Weir fishing is an excellent way to fish because once set up, you can do other things related to your survival while the weir is in action. Weir fishing works best in rivers and streams. Use stakes or stacks of rocks that are taller than the depth of the water and place them in a V-shaped fence with the opening facing upstream. You’ll want your V to be long enough so that it cuts off a section of the stream, or if the stream is short enough in terms of width, you could even set up multiple weirs to run along the entire width. Have the edges of the V then circle back around towards the opening, without closing it off completely, so that a funnel is created.
Once the weir is set up, the fish will then be funneled into it. You can then either grab the fish by hand or spear them. It is advisable that the wall of your weir run to the bank, so that less fish can pass by.
When no other options are available, you can always resort to hand fishing. The best places to hand fish are in shallow areas in lakes, streams, and rivers inside hollow logs, or underneath large rocks and overhanging banks.