The Outback II
Our most versatile hiking boot. This is the boot that can do anything. Tried and tested for hiking, yet not too bulky for your off-trail adventures. Constructed with technologies that create enhanced durability and comfort crossed with great looking design.
How to catch a fish without a rod
Having to find your own food in the wild can be part of the excitement and adventure of hiking and camping. But catching a fish for the fun, and doing it because you have nothing else to eat are going to be very different experiences.
Knowing how to improvise so you can catch fish for your supper can be useful whether you are in a survival situation or not. After all, do you want to carry a rod and line with you everywhere you go? Thought not!
Here are some ideas about how you can net yourself some fish – whether it’s for the heck of it or because the ants got to your packed lunch before you did!
Make your own fishing line
- Look for any item in your pack that can be made into a hook and twist the item into a hook shape. These can work:
- Safety Pins
- Broken soda can tops
- Sharp Twigs
- Bobby pins
- Earrings (only cheap ones, though!)
- Attach "hook" to a line. Things that make good improvised lines include:
- Unravelled thread from clothing
- Twine, string or yarn
- Long strong grass, flax or seaweed stems
- Put some bait on your hook - food items or anything shiny will do. If you find some worms, that's great. Other things that can make good bait include:
- Food scraps (if you have it, meat is ideal)
- Bits of colorful plastic or torn pieces of foil
- Leaves (or torn sections of leaf)
- Dead insects
- Throw your makeshift hook into water such as river, pond / lake or even the sea if you are near the coast. The best places to find fish are in shadowy areas, such as beneath overhanging parts of banks, below overhanging trees, among water plants or seaweed, or near rocks. Be patient but caste your hook into new areas if you do not get any interest from the fish. That’s it. Just wait for a fish to bite.
- Once a fish does bite, scoop it up with your hands, some kind of cup or bowl, or an improvised net made from clothing. Don’t try pulling it in just with the rod and line as either could easily break. Also, the fish can wriggle off the hook if you let it dangle for too long, or if you pull too hard.
Use a tarp
This is a variation on fishing with a net. It’s a great way of catching fish if you don’t have anything on hand that you can turn into a rod or if the water you are fishing from is shallow and still. The idea is to set your trap and wait for the fish to swim into it, then scoop them out in one swift movement.
- First, you need to make a container for trapping your fish. Good items to use include:
- Clothing (something that allows water to escape fast is ideal i.e. light knitwear
- A bucket
- A jar or some other kind of light container
- Plastic bags
- Lay your trap somewhere where you have either seen fish or think they are likely to be (under rocks, banks, in the shade of trees etc).
- Wait for a fish to swim into or over your ‘net’. Keep very still so the fish are not alarmed by your hands and so they get used to them being in the water. You need to be very patient to use this method!
- When a fish swims into your net, pull out your container or pull up your bag or fabric trap – hopefully with the fish inside it.
Cornering the fish
This method works best if there are a few people to work at it together. It also works best in shallow water where you have good footing and can see what you are doing.
- First, you will need a length of cloth so you can block and corral the fish into a small space.
- Stretch out the length of cloth between you and the other people so it forms a barrier in the water. Make sure the fish cannot escape underneath the improvised net.
- Move slowly towards the fish, backing them into a small, confined area. A bend in a river, the end of a tide pool, or a shallow beach area are all good areas to aim for.
- Once you have trapped the fish into a sufficiently small area, you need to get them out. Make sure you have two containers on hand: one for scooping them out of the water and the other for tossing them into so they do not get back into the water.
If the fish you are hunting are big enough and you can trap them sufficiently, you can spear them with a knife or scissors or bludgeon them while they are still in the water. Fish are hard to grasp with your bare hands as they are slippery so gloves can make them easier to hold onto.
While the above hacks will help you catch a fish without a rod - there is no great adventure companion than a pair of Ridgemont Outfitters hiking boots. Shop the range here:
How to start a fire without matches
Being able to light a fire without matches is an essential survival skill. If your matches get damp or you lose them, you will need to know how to start a fire so you can get warm and dry. If you are not using a camp stove, having a fire will mean you can cook hot food, too.
Lighting a fire without matches takes skill but there are many ways to do it and having a number of different options to use means you can choose the way that will work best for you and the situation you are in. There are three key ways of making fire: friction, flint and steel, and by using a lens. Each is appropriate for different situations, for example, if there is no sunlight, you cannot use a lens. If everything is wet, you can’t use the friction method.
FLINT AND STEEL
This is an old standby. It’s always a good idea to carry around a good flint and steel set with you on a camping trip. Swedish FireSteel Army model is a good set to use. The best and most reliable fall- back if your matches are too damp to use is a flint and steel, and it is well-worth investing in one to carry with you on any hiking trip should the worst happen. It is also worth practising with your flint and steel before you find you need it when out in the wild. Make sure you have your tinder nest and fire set up and ready for your flame.
If the sun is shining, it’s easy to start a fire using a lens. All you need is some sort of lens in order to focus sunlight on a specific spot. You can use a range of materials to create a lens including a magnifying glass, eyeglasses, or binocular lenses. Adding some water to the lens intensifies the beam and makes the process faster.
The method is very simple: just angle your lens towards the sun so that you focus the beam into as small an area as you can. Put your tinder nest under this spot and wait for the heat to create a flame.
FRICTION-BASED FIRE MAKING
This is probably the most difficult of all the non-match methods for lighting a fire. If you are going to get this right, you need to make sure you have the right type of wood for the fire board and spindle. Basically, you spin a twig in another piece of wood (the fireboard) to produce friction. This friction produces heat then a spark from which you can light a fire.
The best woods to use for this are cottonwood, juniper, aspen, willow, cedar, cypress, and walnut. However, the critical factor is the dryness of the wood. Your spindle and fireboard must both be bone dry. If it isn’t, you’ll need to dry it out first.
- Prepare your fireboard by cutting a groove in a flat, long piece of wood. This groove will be the track along which you rub your spindle.
- Place your tinder nest at the end of the fireboard so that you can plough embers into it when you start rubbing.
- Take the tip of your spindle and place it in the groove of your fireboard. Start rubbing the tip of the spindle up and down the groove fast. Rub as hard as you can until the friction has created an ember.
- Once you have an ember, catch it in the tinder nest and blow on it gently until your ember turns into a flame. Use the tinder nest to get your fire started.