Home Survival StrategiesFood & Water DIY FISHING SETUP


by Survival Dispatch Staff

If you want to hold up in survival, you’ll need to feed your body with ample food and macronutrients. From filling carbohydrates that give us energy to leafy greens that provide us with plenty of vitamins and minerals. But of course, we can’t leave out protein. Protein is necessary for our bodies in top shape. You’ll be moving a lot in survival scenarios, which can strain your muscles. This is where protein comes into play to repair your muscles.

Meats are the best source of protein, but these are the most difficult to come by in the wild. This is what makes this type of food so valuable. Prepped meats are a good option to have but might not be sustainable when bugging out. So in most cases, you’ll have to source animal protein yourself.

When sourcing your food, it’s important to consider how much energy you need to spend to get a good yield. For one, hunting can take long hours of hiking in intense weather conditions. Not to mention the chances for success are pretty low. Trapping has similar odds. On the other hand, fishing can yield a large amount of animal protein with very little calorie expenditure. Plus, there are a lot of fats and oils that you can only find in fish that are important sources of vitamins and minerals.

But fishing supplies of good quality can run your money. So in this article, we’ll teach you how to be a bit more resourceful. Using only materials you can generally find from any wilderness environment, you can put together your own fishing setup–from poles and reels to lures.

  • Fishing Pole
  • Fishing Line and Pole Eyelets
  • Reels
  • Hooks, Lures, and Weights


The first element you need to have in your fishing setup is the pole itself. The standard fishing pole is around four to seven feet, with the same diameter throughout its entire length. It extends well beyond your hand’s reach, allowing you to search and lure fish deeper into water.

When a fish bites on your hook and pulls hard on the line, there’s a chance the line breaks. The pole “flexes” to soften the blow, transferring the energy from the fish to the pole’s flex. A good pole can do this when used even long after it dries.

These key characteristics can make building a fishing pole a challenge. So finding suitable materials is key. In general, they have to be pretty narrow, quite flexible, and of course, easily found for convenience. Willow branches are ideal rods. If you’re in a more tropical environment, you can use thin shafts of sugar cane or bamboo.

Once you have any of these materials, it’s safest to cut them longer than you think you’ll need. It can always be trimmed down and fine-tuned later in its length and flexibility.


A cane pole design is where a fish line is simply tied to the end of the pole. Any cordage can be used for this design. This option is best if you plan on fishing directly above deep water in spots like a bridge or rock outcropping. But this limits the distance of your casting and, ultimately, your yield. In survival, your best bet is to cast wider to get more fish. To cast your line out further, attach eyelets or guide rings to the rod and run the cable through them.

You can use any type of rigid loop as an eyelet. Various materials like vines, electrical wiring, and paracord can be used for this. You can also use drinking containers like cardboard, soda can tabs, or even plastic bottle caps with the tops punched out.

An adhesive is needed to attach the tabs. But glues aren’t usually a staple in survival preps. As an alternative, melt plastic or heat pine resin. If those are not available to you, you can also use thin cordage to tie the loop onto your rod’s shaft—space out the loops at least half a meter apart. Finally, secure them with interior strands from electrical wiring or paracord. After all this, you can now safely run your fishing line through the eyelets.

A decent fishing line itself should be made out of smooth cordage, especially when using eyelets. Also, make sure the line is as hidden and thin as possible. You can use the interior strands of paracord or thin electrical wiring for this. But the best option is to find a used fishing line. Discarded fishing lines can often be found tangled in shrubberies and trees along the banks of freshwater bodies like ponds, lakes, rivers, and streams.


Your fishing line can get tangled when you reel it back in. To avoid this, attach a reel to your fishing rod’s eyelet. The reel can be secured directly to the handle with cordage or placed on an axle attached to the handle.

Any cylindrical item can be attached to the handle and used as a reel. These materials can be plastic or glass bottles, aluminum cans, cylindrical rocks, or pieces of wood. You can fine-tune your design by cutting these materials down for better grip.


Now we need a hook for the fish to bite into. Decent hooks only have a couple of requirements. One, it needs to be small enough to fit inside the mouth of a fish. Second, it needs a point or a barb to stick into the fish before reeling it back securely on the line.

You can simply sharpen a small piece of bone on both ends to build your hooks. Hone it into a hook shape if you want to put in the extra effort. Thick wires and soda can tabs fashioned into hooks can also be used.

Next, you need to lure fish into biting into your hooks. Live bait like insects and worms are best for catching fish. These are easy to find if you live in moist environments. If not, you can go for handmade lures. Anything shiny is also a good option.  A shiny piece of plastic, bone, or parts of aluminum from a can works. If you’re open to trash digging, many survivalists also find brightly colored scraps of cloth. These can also work in catching fish.

Lastly, you’ll need something to weigh down your line. It’s okay to anchor your lure in a specific spot. However, it’s more important to cast your line out further. An ordinary light setup can get you a few meters out. But you can easily cast a weighted line 10 to 15 meters from the shore. Any heavy material like rock, wood, or pieces of metal can be used as weights.

Final Thoughts

Fishing is an excellent way to keep your stomach filled and to add variety to your meals. Not to mention, they’re also nutritious and filled with calories, protein, and healthy fats and oils. However, it can be intimidating to do fish without proper expensive gear. Hopefully, we’ve given you a few creative ideas to make your own DIY fishing setup.

So keep your eyes out in the wilderness for the found items we mentioned. With a bit of effort in honing these materials and practice with casting the line, you’ll feast on your very own fish dinner before you know it.

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