Episode 179 S5-16

Fishing Basics


Dark Days in Denver Ch 16

Special Guest:

Ellen Kerr

Dark Days in Denver continues as Erika spends time at the homesteads, fishing with friends. Fishing can be a reliable food supply in a long term survival situation. Here to talk about fishing strategies and the bare minimums needed to catch fish is Ellen Kerr, Leading Seaman in the Australian Royal Navy.

Whether you are fishing in a lake or a river, fish like to hang out in basically the same areas. They like overhangs and trees that touch down in the water. It is their natural habitat. Fish also like activity on top of the water, like bugs gathering for water. The fish will eat the bugs. In rivers fish will congregate in eddies and then dash out into the faster water. In flatter calmer water, look for structures under the water. They'll be bigger fish there. Rivers usually have salmon and trout all of which travel upstream to breed. 

To fish, technically all you need is a stick and a line. Ellen likes to carry a hand reel with line. Check it out here at Amazon. It is a small circular spooler that is very lightweight and compact. It can easily clip to your pack. To cast the line, you just grab the line swing it around and throw it. 

Alternatively, they make telescopic rods that collapse into much smaller poles for ease of carrying them. Also, they make rods that break into multiple pieces to make them easier to carry. The also sell a rod that is as small as a pen. The rod choice depends on the size of fish you are trying to catch. Even if you catch small fish that may not be appropriate to clean and eat, you can put a bunch of them into a stew pot and eat them. It is also a good idea to carry a net to catch smaller fish or help you land bigger fish. 

The line you use is also important. You want the line to be thin enough that it is not visible to the fish but strong enough that it will not break when the fish is on the line. Fishing line is measured in pounds. For most mid-sized fish a 10-15 pound line should be sufficient. Nylon line is good but it can be abrasive. Braided nylon is stronger but it is easier for fish to see. Use the braided line then put 3-4 feet of single line on the end so it's not visible but still durable. You can use the inside of paracord. Certain types of paracord, like Titan cord, have fishing line included in the inside strands. Really any sort of line will work: tooth floss, cotton, etc.

Lures are another essential for fishing, unless you are lucky enough to attract one with just a hook. In your evacuation (bug-out) bag you should keep an assortment of soft plastic lures, metal slicer lures, and lures with rattles. Look up what attracts fish in your area and plan accordingly. You can also use natural bait: grubs, worms, smaller fish, etc. Powerbait is another popular bait. It is like stinky playdough that is applied to the hook. In your evacuation pack you should also keep an assortment of floats or bobbers. These could be the classic red and white plastic balls that clip to your line. Alternatively, you can get creative and use anything that can attach to your line and float. Use a bobber when the fish are biting in higher water. If not, use a weight to sink your line. If one method isn't working, try another.


Fishing traps that capture large amounts of big fish are illegal in most parts of the world. However if it is a long-term survival situation, finding a way to harvest the fish may save your life. It is legal to use a trap to capture smaller fish or crayfish in most parts of the world. These smaller fish can be used to catch bigger fish or put into a stew. You can also use a trout line to harvest fish while you attend to other necessities. A trout line is a fixed line with other lines attached to it. The hooks on the ends of these lines are baited so many fish can be captured over a period of time. A makeshift smaller fish trap can be made with a clear tube like a soda bottle. You put a whole in the other end and a piece of bread inside. The fish swim in and can't swim out.

You can use any type of netting to create a barrier and catch fish. Use your imagination, you could even use a lace tablecloth. Anything that creates a barrier will do.

Fishing could be a viable long term food supply in a survival scenario. Make sure you look for contaminates in the area. Nuclear plants, chemical factories, sewage treatment facilities are all potential threats. Overfishing may be a big problem as people scramble for survival. If you find other people's set lines, you could cut them. 

Make sure you are prepared with your, hooks, line, lures, bobbers and sinkers. You can always make whatever rod suites you. If your method is not catching, change it. Keep the water calm so the fish are not scared.  

Hand Reel
Telescopic Rod
Multipiece Rod
Pen Rod
Plastic Bait
Fishing Trap
Hand Reel
Telescopic Rod
Multipiece Rod
Pen Rod
Plastic Bait
Fishing Trap

Featured Quote From Today's Chapter:

"See, you can teach an old dog new tricks."

Featured Survival Product:

Road Warrior Deluxe -10° Below (78 Piece) Road Warrior Deluxe -10° Below (78 Piece)

This Deluxe Kit comes equipped with everything you need for a Roadside Emergency in the freezing cold.


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Character Origins


Ellen Kerr

Born in 1980 in Australia, Ellen Louis Kerr, has been married for 16 years to her wonderful spouse, Brian. They have two daughters Miriam and Emma. Plus, 2 spoiled cats, 2 ducks, 1 budgie and two lizards. (What is a budgie you ask? A budgie is a native Australian Bird short for budgerigar. They are a popular pet in Australia.)

Ellen joined the Royal Australian Navy in 2003 and served for fourteen years. She has earned the rank of Leading Seaman and is an Electronic Warfare Director at sea. When she's on the shore she works in the field of electronic intelligence. Ellen was deployed to the Persian Gulf in 2005 as part of the allied task force on board HMAS Darwin for which she is now recognized as a veteran. She has also deployed to and took part in numerous exercises in New Zealand, Hawaii and South East Asia.

In her spare time she practices Hapkido and works on staying prepared for whatever may come our way. Ellen enjoys camping, fishing, shooting and four wheeling. She loves SIFI and end of the world genre material. Her favorite TV show is Firefly. She loves her ducks and motorbikes.

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Copywright © 2014 by Sara F. Hathaway.

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