Emergency Fishing Kit – Ron Licari

Ever wonder what fishing gear would be good to add to your 72 Hour Bag? I’ve only brushed upon the subject a few times because I consider myself a black thumb when it comes to fishing. I’ve only caught a handful of fish in my time. There have been times I’ve gone into outdoor stores with the intent of building a small fishing kit I could add to my 72 Hour Bag but have always walked out a little overwhelmed. There’s just too much gear and I can’t make heads or tails of it. So for this article I enlisted the help of a friend from work:

Ron Licari has been fishing for as long as he can remember, growing up fishing with his Dad in fresh and salt water however in 2003 he began to take sport fishing seriously and began tournament fishing.  He joined the Castaic Bass club in 2003 and is currently the Vice President and Tournament Director for the club.  Ron has fished many different tournaments from team events to Pro/AM’s.  Here’s what he said about creating an emergency fishing kit to add to your 72 Hour Bag.

A list of very basic components are provided below:

  • 1 – Container (altoids tin, prescription bottle)
  • 2 – #10 Bait holder Hooks
  • 2 – #8 Bait holder Hooks
  • 2 – #6 Bait holder Hooks
  • 2 – #16 Snap Swivels
  • 2 – #14 Barrel Swivels
  • 1 – 50+’ 15 lb. Seaguar Braided Fishing Line
  • 2 – Non-Lead #7 Removable Split Shot
  • 4 – Non-Lead BB Removable Split Shot
  • 2- Dry flies
  • 2- Salmon egg flies

(Note: This is just a very basic kit with just the minimum stuff your kit will vary on its size and what you want in it)


To start your kit find the container that best fits your needs with the gear you want to carry. This container could be anything from a small metal tin such as an Altoid tin, snap cap plastic bottle, prescription bottle or even a small Tupperware container. There is no right or wrong to this just what works best for you.


Examples of emergency fishing kits, these kits can be found and bought on line. Here a re a few:

pillbottle kit ebay


Many kits out there are provided with monofilament line, which has terrible line memory when you try to unwind it from a tight bobbin. This leaves you with a mess when you try to use it. Therefore, in my kit I started with 50′ of Seaguar 15 lb. braided line, which can be wound on a bobbin without retaining memory and has the diameter that of 8-pound mono or fluorocarbon line. Defining the best all-purpose survival fishing line is a matter of personal opinion, but I would recommend a braided line. Which generally has 3-5 times the breaking strength of a monofilament or fluorocarbon line. For example, a braided line having a 50-pound breaking strength can have a line diameter equivalent to a 10-pound monofilament or fluorocarbon line. Even with mild abrasion damage, such a strong braided line would continue to be useful for fishing as opposed to most lightweight monofilament or fluorocarbon fishing line of equal diameter. Not to mention that braided line can be used for so many other applications as well.


I like using sewing machine bobbins just for the reason of keeping the line in order and the fact is if you wanted to carry different size lines the bobbins store well in a tin or pill bottle.


As for keeping my hooks from being all over the place, I use the snap swivel to hold all my hooks.


There are many ways to catch fish using hooks and line. How ever the best way to start is to know how to tie your hook onto the line. One of the easiest and simplest fishing knots to use is the Palomar knot.


Known consistently as the strongest knot. It’s great virtue is that it can safely be tied at night with a minimum of practice.

  • Double about 6” of line, and pass through the eye.
  • Tie a simple Overhand Knot in the doubled line, letting the hook hang loose. Avoid twisting the lines.
  • Pull the end of loop down, passing it completely over the hook.
  • Pull both ends of the line to draw up the knot.
  • Trim tag end

Almost anything can be used as bait:  worms, crickets, various bugs of all types, as well as pieces of raw meat.  (Catfish find spoiled raw meat to be especially appealing so retain the entrails of any fish caught for this purpose.)  Small fish can be used as bait to catch larger fish.  Food such as fruit, bread, and kernels of corn can attract fish.  The other is with artificial bait like fly-fishing flies, which are lightweight and fit very nicely into a survival kit. I like the salmon egg flies and just about any fly that looks natural. What fisherman hasn’t caught trout on salmon eggs before? Well by using fly-fishing flies you don’t have the worry about plastic baits breaking down and melting or rotting away in you kit. Trust me it’s a mess when you have plastic baits start to break down in your kit due to heat or just being old. Now with the flies you can fish them just like live bait. Flies are inexpensive and will last a long time in your kit.



Don’t expect instant results as several hours might pass before you catch a fish, if at all. Using baited hooks one can catch pan fish and trout, as well as small bass and catfish.  If weight is needed to keep the bait on the bottom and you have lost the weights that were in your kit then rocks can come in handy for this purpose. Simply find the size with the appropriate weight that you need to get your line down to the bottom. Wrap your line around the rock like a cocoon and tie it off.  On the other side of that thought if you want to keep bait only a few inches below the surface, a small stick will work as a bobber. Figure out just how far you want your bait to drop down and then tie off the stick.


The only other thing that would make our survival kit really complete would be the use of a rod and reel. Yes, I know that these don’t fit in to our survival kits that well. However these two items can be found around us if we just think out of the box. For example what really is a fishing rod? Why it’s nothing more than a 4-5’ stick or young tree sapling. Think of the cane poles our fore fathers used. They were nothing more than that sticks with the line tied off on the end of the pole. Then we have the reel options. Well let’s look at what is a reel? A reel is nothing more than a smooth storage device from which the line can be cast and retrieve from. So with that being said what would make a good reel for you. I’ve seen water bottles filled with sand to keep them from crushing or glass bottles, soup cans, and large prescription bottles. These items all work for hand tossing a line with a little bit of weight on it. I’ve watched the fishermen down in Cabo out on small ponga boats use some of these methods.

For those who keep 72 Hour Bags in their cars there is a really nice mini rod and reel combo for around $12-$40.00 that will handle just about anything you can ask of it.  Check it out on Amazon.com it’s called a pen fishing rod pole and reel. These little guys are amazing there is record of some guy catching a 20-lbs carp on one of these with only 4-lb test fishing line.



So to sum this all up for you just keep an open mindset when building your kit or if you decide to purchase one on line. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Just be sure what you do is right for you.


One comment

  1. AndySound

    Ron’s a great fisherman. What about taking it one step farther and using something like the Pathfinder Pocket Hunter w/fishing arrows. I guess that would be more of an aggressive approach.

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