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Survival Fishing Kit

In a survival scenario, it’s critical that you have access to a steady food source. Although you may have a certain amount of dry food stored away in your survival food kit, supplies only last for so long. A survival fishing kit is one of the most important survival tools to have on hand, as it allows you to catch and prepare your own food in a pinch.

From survival fishing kit basics to building your very own kit, here’s everything you need to know!

fishing supplies and net with fresh caught fish
Catching fish can provide a steady source of food in a survival situation

What Is a Survival Fishing Kit?

A survival fishing kit is a small, lightweight, and conveniently packaged assortment of essential fishing tools and accessories that can be used in a survival situation.

As you’d imagine, a survival fishing kit features many of the same basic items you would find in a normal fishing kit—including a fishing pole, line, and a variety of jigs.

The main difference is that a survival fishing kit is packed into a much smaller compartment—such as a metal tin, plastic container, or PVC pipe—so that you can bring it with you wherever you go.

Why Do You Need a Survival Fishing Kit?

While a survival kit is an essential tool for every survivalist, camper, or adventurer, its food supply is typically very limited.

Once a few days or weeks have passed and this food has been depleted, you’re going to need to find a new source of food quickly—particularly if you’re unable to restock at a local grocery or convenience store.

With a survival fishing kit, on the other hand, you’re given all of the tools to survival fish repeatedly. Assuming you also have the requisite fishing skills and can find a body of water, having a survival fishing kit means you’ll have access to a virtually endless supply of food.

Even if you have a steady food supply, cooked fish is a delicious alternative to the cold, dry foods that are likely stored away in your survival kit.

What Items Should a Survival Fishing Kit Include?

There are all sorts of products and accessories you might wish for your survival fishing kit to include. However, there are certain pieces of survival fishing gear you shouldn’t go without in true survival situations:

Fishing Reel/Rod

A fishing reel might be the most important component in a survival fishing kit, as it uses mechanisms that can be a little more difficult to craft in the wilderness survival scenario.

Some survival fishing kits are complete with telescopic rods that collapse down to a manageable size. Other kits feature reels that can attach to a pole or stick. There are even certain kits—such as DIY fishing kits—that utilize the kit’s container as the rod itself. Make sure your kit features a survival fishing pole or reel!

Rings of a telescopic fishing rod.
Rings of a telescopic fishing rod

Fishing Line

Your survival kit should also come with plenty of braided fishing line—not only because it’s thin and lightweight but also because you may find yourself needing more of it than you anticipated.

If your line breaks or you end up needing to live off of fish for a few days, for example, you’ll be thankful to have an abundance of fishing line on hand.

There are many different types of fishing line, but the majority of survival fishing kits will include roughly 50–100 feet or more of 10-pound or 20-pound monofilament line—more than enough to get you through.


When it comes to choosing fishing hooks, there are a variety of hook sizes available. Many fishermen strictly use larger hooks, as they tend to lure larger fish. In a survival situation, however, you might not have the luxury of choosing the size of your next catch.

If you want the best chances of survival, you’ll need to lean on a variety of hooks. With assorted hooks in your survival fishing kit—small hooks, large hooks, circle hooks, and other types of hooks—you’ll be able to cast your bait to fish of all sizes.


set of fishing lures
Set of fishing lures

When you’re already running low on food, time is of the essence. You may not have the whole day to stand around waiting for a bite. By attaching a lure to the end of your fishing line, however, you can help attract a certain type of fish and even expedite a catch.

While lures aren’t the be-all and end-all of your survival fishing experience, they can be an effective alternative to traditional fishing bait. A good survival fishing kit doesn’t need to include a wide selection of lures—just a lure or two that will make fishing a little easier for you!


Similar to lures, artificial bait is an optional-but-helpful addition to your survival fishing kit. While most types of live bait can be found out in the wild, having a few fake worms or flies will allow you to save time gathering live bait.

What’s more, today’s artificial bait products are more convincing than ever! Not only are they often mistaken for live insects and grubs but they are also coated with scents that can help attract fish.


It can be difficult to spot your fishing line when your hook and bait are resting well below the water’s surface. While they are not necessary to fish, bobbers can help you spot your line’s location in the water.

What’s more, bobbers allow you to fish just above the water’s surface, offsetting the weight of large or heavy bait. Make sure your emergency fishing kit includes a variety of shapes and sizes.


Conversely, there are times when you may want your bait to sink further beneath the water’s surface. For this, you’ll need to add some extra weight to the end of your fishing line.

Sinkers are small, bead-like weights that allow your bait to sink lower into the water. Again, make sure your kit includes bobbers of various sizes and weights so that your bait can reach all areas of the water.


Particularly if you’re forced to use a makeshift fishing rod in the wilderness, you can expect your fishing line to become tangled fairly easily. Attaching a small swivel to the end of your line can make a world of difference, allowing your lure or bait to rotate freely without twisting the line.

What’s more, a swivel makes it easy to attach and detach lures as needed. Ensure that your survival kit comes with an assortment of barrel swivels, ball-bearing swivels, crane swivels, and snap swivels!

What Makes a Good Survival Fishing Kit?

There is a bevy of survival fishing kits on the market, and generally, you can expect most of them to include similar items.

There may be differences in quality from kit to kit, however. A top-notch survival fishing kit will include high-quality items that are unlikely to break, wear out quickly, or simply stop working. Kits that have low-quality items, on the other hand, will make it difficult for you to fish effectively.

What’s more, some fishing kits may be larger or easier to use than others. One kit may feature a nice selection of hooks, a wide variety of fishing lures, and additional gear, while another kit might only include the bare minimum of standard fishing gear.

For you, the best survival fishing kit will be one that you’re familiar with and are able to use in a survival situation. After purchasing or building your survival fishing kit, make sure you test it out so that you know how to use it!

How to Build Your Own Survival Fishing Kit

A small plastic box with a variety of lures and fishing hooks would work well for a survival fishing kit
A small plastic box with a variety of lures and fishing hooks would work well for a survival fishing kit

It’s worth noting that there are all sorts of survival fishing kits on the market. Whether you want a top-of-the-line type of kit or an affordable fishing kit, there’s sure to be an option for you.

As an alternative to a ready-made survival fishing kit, however, you can build your own! Particularly if you’re an experienced fisherman, you might want your survival fishing kit to include specific items that meet your unique fishing needs and preferences.

Here are three steps to building your own compact survival fishing kit from scratch:

1. Choose a Container

The first step to building your ultimate survival fishing kit is choosing a container for your survival fishing gear.

Of course, you’ll need to find something small enough so that it can easily fit in your pocket or survival backpack, but large enough so that it can hold all of your fishing accessories. While you may be able to bring a full tackle box and fishing accessories kit in non-survival situations, an emergency situation may require you to downsize to only the most basic equipment.

Depending on how much survival gear you typically use, your container might be as small as an Altoids steel tin or as large as a Tupperware container. You should also make sure that the container is both water resistant and durable so that it keeps all of its contents dry and safe.

2. Pack the Most Important Items First

When working with such a small container, it’s important that you prioritize the three most important items in any survival fishing kit—a reel, fishing line, and hook. With these three items, you have everything you need to start fishing in a survival scenario.

If you’re unable to pack a telescopic fishing rod into your container, consider purchasing a yo-yo reel. This small, plastic, or aluminum reel can attach to a pole, stick, or whatever makeshift rod you have on hand.

Be sure to pack at least 50 feet of fishing line (10-pound strength or higher). Finally, pack an assortment of fishing hooks that will help you target different types of fish.

3. Fill in Your Container With Other Fishing Gear

After your reel, fishing line, and hooks have been packed, feel free to fill in any leftover space with additional pieces. Start with larger items and fill in the tiniest spaces with smaller items.

Be sure to include bobbers and sinkers, as well as lures, fake bait, swivels, and extra hooks! Once all items are packed and you no longer have space in your container—voilà! You have a full survival fishing kit to take on your next adventure!

Catch Your Next Meal in a Survival Situation

Are you prepared to hunt for additional food when an emergency situation arises? Whether it’s your food supply that runs out or you find yourself stranded without anything to eat, having a survival fishing kit on hand might become a matter of life or death.

Purchase a high-quality kit or build your own today to ensure that you always have the means to catch a fish!