Two Letters Re: Prepping for Fishing in TEOTWAWKI

This is in response to the articles on fishing. Depending on where you are, I would assume that everyone and his relations will be sitting on the bank and hoping for a fish to bite. Fishing is hit or miss, unless you have a boat and have spent a great deal of time on the water, you will starve to death waiting for a fish to bite. You will be sitting exposed and probably looking over your shoulder.

I have a better solution and it is one that will work every time it is tried. Assuming you are operating in survival mode, a device my dad and, now I, have is a simple thing called a crawfish (crayfish, or freshwater lobster) rake. You make a rectangular wire basket with a long pole on the top and the end facing you open. You thrust it out into the water and let it sink. Then you rapidly pull it back in by letting it drag along the bottom. You dump it on the bank and poke through all the leaves and sticks for all the small fish (occasional big fish), crawfish, frogs, mussels etc. You not only have bait, you can also add this to a pot of stew or gumbo, it may not look good but I assure you it will be good for you. I am attaching a picture of one I’ve used for 25 years. You can probably describe it better than I can for your readers.

You can easily supply the protein needs of a family with what you can drag out of a ditch, or most any still body of water. The murkier the water the better.

Another devise is a minnow seine, one or more persons will have to get in the water. One end is secured on land, the other is walked out into the water and then in a wide arc as it is slowly walked until you get the other end on shore. Then you simply keep walking until the net and its contents are on shore. I recommend at least a 20 foot one.

There is also a device called a cast net, it requires practice, but is very effective at catching fish.

Webbing is very effective, this requires a boat or shallow water and is extremely effective at snaring fish, turtles, etc. I have a 100 foot one stored in a duffle that will go with us when we bug out.

A hoop net is another type of net. There is a company in Jonesville, Louisiana called Champlin Net Company. They have been making and selling nets for as long as I remember (Hoop, webbing, gill, and even baseball). [JWR Adds: OBTW, the large mesh commercial fishing netting (1.5-inch squares) is also perfect to use for the base layer for assembling ghillie camouflage ponchos.]

Although bulky, fish and crab traps are also effective. They can be hidden and out of sight, just remember where you deployed them. And don’t forget the trot line and simple lines tied to tree limbs that you run at intervals during the day and night.

Everyone likes to get out the rod and reels, but ask anyone who goes fishing how many trips they make to Wal-Mart or Academy Sports for supplemental gear for every trip. There may not be a sporting goods store to go to, so keep plenty of hooks, line and sinkers. Don’t just keep monofilament line, it goes bad from old age.

Hope this helps, catching a mess of fish is great and the eating is good. But using any or all the techniques I have described above will feed you every day. Thanks, – Ken G.


Mr. Editor,
No offense to W. in Atlanta – but that isn’t a TEOTWAWKI fishing article, it is geared more toward “what to consider before your weekend fishing trip” article.

First, my nephews catch just as many pan fish (from shore) on their $12 SpongeBob Squarepants and Batman poles as I do with my 10x more expensive Shimano/St. Croix rods. So while it’s a good idea to have some more expensive/reliable equipment, you might also consider getting a number of bubble pack rod/reel units too. More hooks in the water, lots of spare parts,
and cheap.

Regarding fly fishing – It’s difficult enough to remain semi-hidden when fishing from shore, but a fly fisherman flipping a 9′ rod around while wading in waist deep water can be seen from a great distance. It also puts you at a serious disadvantage tactically. Another advantage of the cheap bubble pack rods is their short length, making it easier to cast from the cover of weeds, trees, or rocks – albeit at less distance.

Some additional equipment I’d add would be:

1) Gill nets with mesh sizes appropriate for the fish species in the nearest bodies of water, and nylon rope for trot lines. Draped under the waterline after dark, these hopefully go unnoticed during the day for retrieval the next night. These also allow you to be ‘fishing’ while you’re performing other activities.

2) Minnow nets/traps for bait (and pet food).

3) Ice fishing gear, if applicable (or again, another use for the short bubble pack poles).

4) Devices capable of producing an underwater shock wave. (‘Nuff said).

Lastly, don’t forget to store lots of brine ingredients, seasonings, and freezer bags/wrap, cause at TEOTWAWKI we’re going catching – not fishing.

Merry Christmas, – Off-Grid Al