Here’s a cool concept for you: The “Survival Fishing Tin!” One of my first posts on this site is Backpack Gear Load Out where we cover the things you should be carrying when heading into the woods. At least if you want to stay alive let alone comfortable for those SHTF moments. Recently, we added Fishing Basics which covers basically everything you need to know to start fishing. Now it’s time to bridge these two worlds and dive into the survival fishing tin.
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- What is a Survival Fishing Tin?
- Why Should Anyone Care About a Survival Fishing Tin?
- Components of the Survival Fishing Tin
- Can You Actually Fish With So Little?
- Water is Everywhere!
- Snare Wire: The Hunting Component
- Other Items and Uses
- Can You Buy a Survival Fishing Tin?
- Level Up With Handline Fishing
- The Survival Fishing Tin
- Purchase the Items in This Post
What is a Survival Fishing Tin?
Well, let’s start with the box. Before you toss out that metal sucrets tin, think twice. It’s the perfect size and shape for a pocket size survival tin. My sucrets one actually got beat up, I’m onto a “Barkley’s Naturally Fair Mints” box. The brand doesn’t matter, it’s just size, shape and material.
In this tin we can literally toss in, cancel that we don’t toss anything… We can neatly place the most basic items needed to catch fish. It’s placed neatly as it holds a lot more this way. The tin is then easily carried in your pocket, mine just goes into my pack and has a permanent home there. It’s light enough to never notice it’s there.
Why Should Anyone Care About a Survival Fishing Tin?
Well, ask yourself what’s in your pack when you head into the woods. Perhaps some snacks. Maybe even some MREs. Most people I know don’t carry much of anything. So what happens if you get stranded or if your ATV breaks down? What happens if you are injured and can’t self rescue? What if no-one knows where you are? I can tell you the trails around my area see some action on the weekends but they are awfully quiet during the week!
A human can actually survive for 1-3 months without food! That’s kind of cool in a weird way. Unfortunately, it takes a big psychological toll on people. Most would probably panic. While there is nothing to panic over with a short term situation, it certainly is comforting physically and mentally to be able to source some additional food. As we eat, breathe, even sleep, we consume calories. When we are out in the woods doing chores, even if setting up an emergency camp, we are naturally consuming a lot more calories. That being said, not replenishing those calories will take a toll. Add cold weather into the mix and things get a lot worse as feeding helps the body with thermal regulation.
Components of the Survival Fishing Tin
If I caught your attention now, hopefully, let’s take a look at what’s actually in this tin.
- Small pack of plastics. I honestly don’t know what, looks like fake maggots:) But there’s 5 of them which is appealing.
- Rubber worms (x 2 in different colours)
- Yellow jig x 1
- White jig x 1
- Mini Rapala (fake minnow)
- A Red & white spoon
- Yellow and red Mepps spinner with a silver spinner, triple hook
- Smaller beaded spinner, triple hook
- Swivels and weights
- Single hook assortment
- My infamous rubber worm rig (in a ziplock)
- Hank of fishing line (in a ziplock)
- Small safety pin x 1
- Snare wire!
Can You Actually Fish With So Little?
Yes! It doesn’t take a $60,000 bass boat nor a $400 fishing rod to go fishing. Take the line from the tin and tie it to a branch and you have all you need. If you need to get out farther, attach that line to the snare wire or some paracord and you are golden. All you need is something to grip and bring that fish in.
With this tin, we have enough of a variety of lures to catch the attention of whatever fish are nearby. Even military kits will often have less, sometimes as little as some hooks where you find your own bait such as worms. Speaking of which, always have a variety of hooks. Small hooks can hook a bigger fish but not the other way around. If you are hungry, even that little sunfish starts looking like a big meal.
Let’s not re-invent the wheel with this post. Fishing Basics already covers all the techniques and tips on how to actually fish. The point here is what components you’ll need for the tin and the other things it can do.
Water is Everywhere!
Travelling through the Muskoka’s or Kawarthas, you’ll notice there’s water everywhere! Forget cottage country in Ontario, Canada is the land of the canoe and you can literally travel across the country in a canoe. Even if you are in the city, pay attention to how many rivers and streams exist. They weave above and below ground as they pass through the city. The point is where there’s water, there’s a good chance there’s fish.
In a survival situation, don’t discount land locked water bodies. A friend of mine built a pond on his land and he notices one day it has a ton of fish in it! What happens is the birds carry the fish eggs in their feet and as they move around the eggs fall off into other water bodies. My friend had so much fish, he opened to the public as a fish farm.
Snare Wire: The Hunting Component
The snare wire in the survival fishing tin is really there for catching small game. Technically the post should read hunting and fishing survival tin… A small piece of snare wire is a lot less to carry than a bow or firearm. For anyone not licensed, firearms are out anyways – and it can be a lengthy process to go through. Snare wire you can buy at the hardware store right now and get yourself some peace of mind for your next adventure. In fact you don’t even have to get off the couch, you can order snare wire online.
For snare wire, any light wire should do the job. Brass is ideal, it’s soft enough to mold into a snare yet strong. 24 gauge is a good start, the one linked above is slightly heavier for rabbits. You’ll want to tie a slip knot on one end and feed the other end through. The loop you just made should be sized big enough to allow the head of whatever animal you are after to fit right in. For a bunny, that’s about the size of your fist. It should also be set off the ground at the height of where the animal’s head would be. Use sticks to position your snare. Then you leave and wait…
Nothing Was Stirring, Not Even a Mouse
I know, it’s not Christmas. But that line is also a hunter’s worse nightmare. My last hunt was for deer during black powder season with this giant 54 caliber muzzleloader. I mean 175 year old, heavy metal cannon that would kill any animal within a hundred yards of its old sights. I sat in the cold that afternoon and nothing was stirring, not even a mouse! Fine by me, I enjoyed the scenery and ended up shooting the side of a hill to empty the gun. It’s the only way to do it safely:) Anyways, it got me thinking about a survival situation and I’d be pretty hungry if that was one! I was also so damn cold, I don’t know if I could even hit a little squirrel while shivering so badly.
The snare is something you setup first and then go fishing or take care of chores around camp. That snare is working for you 24/7 and all it takes is a little piece of wire. It’s too easy, so we add it to the survival fishing kit and don’t look back.
Other Items and Uses
The safety pin is an added bonus and if you have room, a razor blade wrapped in gorilla tape with a tiny fero rod won’t hurt either. It’s a means to a fire. If you don’t know what a ferro rod is, I highly suggest reading How to Use a Ferro Rod. As pictured, I don’t pack these items myself into the tin as it’s already well covered elsewhere in my pack. But the option is always there. The point is if you have any extra room, now’s the time to add any other critical items you may need.
At the very beginning of the post, we mentioned material. The tin itself can be used to char natural material for a future tinder source. That’s a post of its own for another day but it aids in repeated fire making. As a last resort and I mean you are really desperate and unprepared here, you can boil a tiny bit of water in it for safe consumption. And at last, the reflective inside can double as a signal mirror if you kept it clean and out of fire… That’s why we use a metal tin.
Can You Buy a Survival Fishing Tin?
Yes, however, if you already have fishing supplies, it’s FAR more economical to make your own. If you don’t, I suppose by the time you add up all the little bits and pieces in here it might be a wash in terms of price.
I cannot speak to the quality of a pre-fab survival fishing kit as I made my own years ago and don’t plan on spending money on something I already have. But it is out there. In all honesty, I didn’t even know it existed commercially until now. Curiosity took over before posting and I’m pleasantly surprised to see it exists. Doubly pleased as it’s very similar to mine. Although, you’ll really want to add the snare wire if you go this route.
Level Up With Handline Fishing
I’ve fished for almost 40 years and never heard of handline fishing until recently. A quick search on the internet and you’ll find that it’s the oldest form of fishing, predating fishing rods. It’s also still commonly practiced throughout the world to this day!
In its basic form, it’s about holding the line with your hands. Speaking of which, I literally cut my hand on fishing line just a few days ago and it particularly hurts so this concept doesn’t sit well with me:)
I did however see a guy on YouTube years ago showcasing a metal stove he sells. Looking into this stove, I found he is big on handlining and sells a product called Cabuya. We have zero affiliation to any of this but I have to embed a video here to show you what I mean.
Like everything else, handlining has evolved and this is a far better approach than wrapping your hands in line. Adding a rig like this to the pack takes the survival fishing tin to the next level. This little contraption even allows you to cast and all off a tiny handheld device. I’m itching badly to order one, believe me but my wallet is screaming at me to stop buying gear!!! Does it make things easier, absolutely yes. Is it necessary, no. The point is that every time we “think” we know it all, something else pops up and re-defines how we look at things.
The Survival Fishing Tin
The survival fishing tin is something every survivalist, backpacker or anyone serious about the woods should consider carrying. It’s super affordable, light and doesn’t take up much space. It could even save your life one day!