Tagged: Fish

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.



Onamonawoc isn’t a real thing, it’s a fictional town in Wisconsin where the town looks like the Andy Griffith Show, there is no pollution, no crime which can’t be solved in a 1/2 hour and the fishing is the best in the world where the fish jump on to your hook. I’m not going to talk about my fictional town, I want to write a quick post about fishing in a survival situation and my experience at NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) when I was 17. Most people have heard of Outward Bound, well lets just say that NOLS is a very similar type of organization. The final four days were perhaps the darkest most difficult time I have experienced.

When I was on my course in the Wind River range in Wyoming we were out for 31 days and it rained – and I mean hard for 21 of the 31. Everything we had was at it’s best damp the whole time. When the sun would pop out and if we were lucky enough to be at our destination we’d lay our sleeping bags out to get them to dry in what ever remaining sun was left in the day. I learned most of the valuable skills I know today from this experience on this course. Including how to deal with hunger.

During the final four days of the course we were broken up into three or four man teams and all sat down to show where the rendezvous point was on the map. That point was up and over the continental divide and approximately 80 miles from our current location. Oh yeah, and by the way if you hadn’t been paying attention, the stuff sack with all your food is now empty, so I hope you were paying attention to the lectures on edibles… which by the way, I wasn’t.

For the next four days we hiked 20 miles a day from sun up to sun down without anything other than water and the two plants I could remember from those edibles classes: Bluebells and Shooting Stars.


After three days of eating only these two tasty plants I needed to get something else in my belly. That third night we were at a small lake at the top of a saddle where we were making our way over the divide and there were hundreds of fish rising making rings on top of rings. It was getting late in the day and I was a little light headed and sat for a moment while my hiking buddies were laying in their sleeping bags with their bug nets over their heads because there were so many mosquitoes. I knew I had to get something into my stomach. I up ended my pack and began to take inventory of anything I had in the pack which could be made into a fishing kit. I found a safety pin and some dental floss. Quickly I fashioned a hook and line. I scrounged for about 5 minutes and tried to come up with something which could be bait. I found nothing. No worms, no bugs, nothing. At the bottom of my pack along a seam I found some fuzz which had worn away – it was blue but I thought I’d give it a shot. I kept throwing the hook with the fuzz on it trying to simulate a fly but time after time the hundreds of fish ignored my hook and while mocking me ate the mosquitoes. I tried to use my head net to trap the fish while getting eaten alive by mosquitoes but it too failed. With the sun setting my posture slumped in defeat and I sat there during magic hour looking at the bountiful lake while my stomach growled. I was so frustrated and hungry I went back through my food back and found four things, a jar of margarine,  salt, pepper, and a bottle of Mrs Dash. I took a huge spoonful of the margarine and used the spices to make it palatable and downed it. Other than the Shooting Stars, and Blue Bells that spoonful of Margarine was the only thing I ate for the four day trek out to the rally point. It was one of the lowest points I had been at emotionally and physically in my life, but it taught me to endure hunger in a survival situation and to keep going even when you think you are at the end of your rope.

The problem with fishing in a survival situation is that it takes time. You have to have patience and you must be stealthy. After many years from that time in the Wind River Range I’ve learned some other techniques which may have helped me in that time of need, but I’m not sure I could have implemented any of them or if I had the energy to have pulled them off. What is needed is some device which you can keep in your pack allowing you to fish while you are doing the work needed to set up your camp or tend to the emergency needs which present themselves. You can’t dedicate the time to sitting there watching a bobber for an hour. Your time is just too valuable. So here’s the ticket. It’s a device which allows you to set it and continue doing the work you need to do, when a fish snags the bait the YoYo retracts and reels the fish in. It can be used over and over again. I’ve seen them on line for as little as $3.99 at Willow Haven Outdoors and you can even rig a little bell on the YoYo to let you know when a fish has been caught. These rigs are illegal in some places so they aren’t recommended for recreational use but in an emergency situation I always say it’s better to survive and then ask for forgiveness. So when you aren’t in Onamonawoc and the reality has hit that the fish won’t just jump on your hook you might want to get one of these for your 72 Hour Bag. Was that a long road to go to talk about the fishing YoYo?

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