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If you happen to be in the wilderness, whether lost, on the run, or even tracking others that are on the run, you still have to eat.  There is a problem with many different methods of acquiring food, however.  If you are in a tactical situation, or a hostile environment, most food acquisition can paint a big red target on you.  It is a good place for people to surprise attack you, so we need to begin using covert methods of food acquisition.

Covert Fishing Methods

I am mostly talking about fish, just as an extension to my last fishing post.  I will be discussing two methods of covert fishing.  Stakeouts, which are underwater trotlines supported on both ends, and poisons, which are bad for the fish, but not for you.


Building a Stakeout for Survival Fishing

Stakeout for Survival Fishing

To build a stakeout, first, drive two saplings to the bottom of a shallow lake, stream, or pond.  The tops of the “sticks

” should be just a few inches below the water surface.  Then you tie a cord, or line if you have it, between the stakes and just below water surface as well.  Tie some shorter lin

es tha

t have hooks or gorges attached to the first one that are short enough, and far enough apart, that they cannot wrap around each other or the stakes.  Bait the hooks and wait just out of sight… or come back later to check on it.


Using Fish Poisons for Survival Fishing

Since you have this covert trap under your belt, let’s get a little more advanced with some poisons you can use.  The benefit AND downfall of poison over traps is the speed at which it works.  It is very quick acting, so even though it is a covert method of fishing, it is an active fishing method, requiring your attention.  Poison also has the benefit of catching multiple fish at one time.

Since you are doing this to be covert, you should collect ALL fish that you affect, so they don’t float downstream and arouse suspicion.

The main contributing substance for fish poison is rotenone.  This is quick and great for water greater than 70F or 21C.  Once poisoned, the fish will rise to the surface.  If you use it in water that is between 50F and 70F (10-21C) it is MUCH slower.  If you use it in water below 50F (10C) then it is ineffective.

To kill or stun the fish, use the following plants:

1. Anamirta Cocculus (Indian berry, fishberry, or Levant nut)

    1. a. Location: Southern Asia and South Pacific Islands
    1. b. How to use: Crush bean-shaped seeds and throw them in water
    1. c. Photo:
Anamirta Cocculus

Anamirta Cocculus


      • Key Characteristics:
        1. Corky Gray bark and White Wood
        2. Small, Yellowish-white, sweet scented flowers

2. Croton Tiglium (Purging Croton)

    1. a. Location: South Pacific islands
    1. b. How to use: Crush seeds and throw them in water
    1. c. Photo:
Croton Tiglium

Croton Tiglium


3. Barringtonia Asiatica (Fish Poison Tree, Putat, Sea Poison Tree)

    1. a. Location: Zanzibar east to Taiwan, the Philippines, Fiji, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, the Cook Islands, Wallis and Futuna and French Polynesia
    1. b. How to use: Crush seeds and bark and throw into water
  • Key Characteristics:
  1. Narrow obovate, 20-40cm leaves, all originating from a center point
  2. Fist-sized, spherical, sub-pyramid shaped fruit

4. Derris Eliptica

    1. a. Location: Southeast Asia and the southwest Pacific islands, including New Guinea
    1. b. How to use: Grind the roots into powder, mix with water, throw a lot of the mixture into water
    1. c. Long leave stems with 10-15, opposite leaflets

5. Duboisia (Corkwood Tree)

    1. a. Location: Australia
    1. b. How to use: Crush the plants and throw them into water
  • Key Characteristics:
  1. Alternate, glabrous leaves are narrow and elliptical
  2. Open cymose panicle of apically small white flowers
  3. Fruit is a small, globular, black, juicy berry

6. Tephrosia (Many species)

  1. Location: Throuought the tropical region
  2. How to use: Crush or bruise a lot of leaves and stems and throw them into the water

7. Lime

  1. Location: Commercially available, also may be made.
  2. How to use: Just throw it in water
  3. lime is calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide
  4. As long as it is dehydrated, it is a white powdery substance

8. Nut husks from butternuts (Juglans Cinerea, white walnut) or black walnuts (Juglans Nigra)

  1. Location: Eastern United States, Southeast Canada
  2. How to use: Crush green husks and throw them into water
  3. Butternut:

    Butternut Nut

    Butternut Nut

    1. Key characteristics:
    1. a. Alternate, compound leaves
    1. b. Odd number of leaflets – has a terminal leaflet>
    1. c. Fruit normally grows in groups of 2–3 and is lemon-shaped

9. Nut husks from black walnuts (Juglans Nigra)

  1. Location:Eastern United States, More available in southern regions than Butternut.
  2. How to use: Crush green husks and throw them into water
  3. Black Walnut:

    Black Walnut Nut

    Black Walnut Nut

    Key characteristics:
    1. a. Alternate, compound leaves
    1. c. Grey-black, furrowed bark
    1. d. Fruits usually in groups of 3
    1. b. Odd number of leaflets (15-23)

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Ken is addicted to fitness and mountain biking. He is such a thrill seeker, people are starting to be concerned!He enjoys MTBing, Hiking, Climbing, Geocaching, Orienteering, Weight Lifting, and Wilderness Survival.

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