Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fishing preps

There's something that I hardly ever see in preps and then only in passing, is fishing gear. Seriously. Go down to your local sporting goods store and buy yourself a spinning rod and reel combo and some hooks of various sizes, different weights, and a shitload of cheap, basic, all species lures like Daredevels, Mepps spinners, beetlespins, plastic grubs and worms, shit like that. Go small on the lures - you can catch a big fish on a small lure but you can't catch a small fish on a lure bigger than it is, unless it's a largemouth bass, that is.
Why buy lures when natural bait abounds? Because it won't be abounding when you're at your hungriest. You're preparing, remember? Buy some artificial lures.
Buy a shitload of different sized hooks - I can't say this enough. Their very purpose is to snag shit so you're going to lose a lot of them. Not only that but once people start getting the munchies, you've got some serious trading material.
Buy a few spare spools of line of different weights. When you snag those hooks, you lose line, too. Some fish are spooked by heavy lines so as a general rule of thumb for clear water you'll need a light line, for murky waters you can damned near use rope.
Bobbers are nice but you can use anything that floats for one. Don't waste the space.
For you fly fisherman, use whatever works. Successful fly fishermen are experts are reading the water and I'm not even going to try to tell you your business. I have spent many hours flailing the water attempting to catch fish on a fly rod and am humbled by the fact that you can even hit water when you cast.

Nets. Not the kind you land your fish in but seining or gill nets.  You can catch more with one throw of a net than you can in hours of pole fishing. Seining takes some practice but the basics can be accomplished in a few hours in your back yard.
Gill nets are constructed so that they can be stretched across the river with the netting large enough for the fish to swim into but can't back out of due to it's gills, hence the name. I've seen them used on the rivers up in Washington by the Indians on their reservations. I don't know if you can buy them ready made or not, it seems the Indians were using them according to their treaty.

Crawdad and fish traps - easy to buy or make and use. If you're crawdadding, bait them with some meat and toss them in. Come back the next morning and pull them in chock full of tasty crawdads. Obviously you've got to know where to put them - read up on it, but here's a tip - look along muddy riverbanks for little mud chimneys. Them's crawdad holes.
You can buy your crawdad traps online at BassPro or Cabelas cheap and if I'm not mistaken they're even collapsible. Don't quote me on that  - I've always made my own out of chicken wire and tomato cages.

So now, if you've never fished before,  you're going "Holy shit, how much room is all that shit going to take up and how much am I going to spend?"
You can fit everything I mentioned with the exception of nets and traps into a small household toolbox. Your fishing rod(s) stand straight up in a corner. Throw the traps under the doublewide with your duck decoys. Be careful you don't poke a hound's eyeball out when you do that. Total cost? Fifty to one hundred bucks, tops.

There's a lot more food in the water than most folks realize without even going into plant life. That little bream that you wouldn't give a second glance to today is going to look pretty fucking tasty when your kids haven't eaten that day - same thing with bullheads and carp and suckers. But that shit ain't gonna catch itself.

You would be fucking surprised on where you'll find fish. Obviously lakes, streams and rivers, but how about those irrigation ditches that crisscross my valley? Stock ponds, ankle deep creeks, old dredge fields that are holding water, quarries, even cattle tanks under windmills. Eggs are carried on the feet of waterfowl from water to water - or so I'm told, I've yet to see a fish egg on a duck's foot or a duck in a stock tank. But I have seen minnows in cattle tanks, I've caught bass in dredge ponds that you could spit across 500 yards away from the river, and fishing for stripers in the some of the concrete canals is pretty popular around here.

If you're not a fisherman, talk to a friend who is and see if he won't take you to show you the basics. Go online and find a site for novice fisherman. Fishing is no great science but it does take some basic knowledge. Shit, you might realize that it's actually a great way to spend the day even if you don't catch anything. I don't know about other states but one of the few cool things that California does is have 2 or 3 free fishing days - no license required. Go one one of those days and save you the cost of even a 2-3 day permit.
Hey, if you don't like it at least you'll have an idea of how it's done.

If you already fish and have all the gear, take some of your spare shit and set it aside in a dedicated box for prepping. If you have to grab all your essential stuff and evacuate, you might not have room for your 4 tackleboxes and 12 different baitcasters. Besides, if you're a bass fisherman you've got one box for plastics, one box for surface lures, one box for divers, one box for..... myself, I'm narrowed down to 3 boxes for my largemouth fishing and 2 for smallmouth. But if you don't have a sample of everything in one box, you're fucking yourself. You're not going to always catch fish on a stickbait, you know.