This summer I am taking a small group of 12-14 year old scouts (including my son) on a 4 day camping trip. It’s going to be awesome! We are going to be focusing on building shelters, and basic survival skills like fishing. In preparing for this I helped put together some ultra simple fishing kits. I wanted to make these are simple as possible for them to use safely. They would be a little over simplified for an advanced angler but for the sake of young anglers I have made these super simple. They only require one knot to be tied and don’t require any tools to add or remove weights.
Here’s what I included:
3 - Red #8 hooks with leaders
1 - #8 spinner with leader
2 - 5/8” bobbers
5 - Swivels
5 - Small bullet sinkers
3 - Small dipsey sinkers
1 - PowerBait nuggets (not pictured)
The weights are all the kind that slide over the line which means you don’t need to use your teeth or a multitool to add or remove them. They also allows you to fish easily from a bobber or off the bottom with floating bait. I find the sliding sinkers preferable for fishing off the bottom. Be mindful that this options should be used only when you know what the bottom of the water is like. If there are lots of snags and down trees a bobber is going to be a better approach.
I chose to include the PowerBait nuggets because they are super easy to put on. I’ve tried to eliminate any possible way for these guys to get their fingers hooks. Putting bait on a hook is prime hooking territory. The nuggets are pre-formed in a good size and are very easy to slip onto the hook. I made sure to get floating bait to be able to fish off the bottom.
I decided to use the hooks that are pre-tied to the leader. I don’t usually use these because they take up more space in the tackle box. But I was thinking about these 12 year old trying to tie a a line onto these tiny hooks and imaging all the hooks in finger and I didn’t want to mess with that. These pre-tied hooks just need to be attached to a swivel. The only knot you need is to tie the line to the swivel. I picked the red colored hooks so, in a pinch, you could tie a bit of colorful paracord or something on and make it a lure.
I’m going to try a replacement to the tradition rod and reel this year. I got a hand reel, or Cuban reel. It’s basically a plastic line holder that has one lip formed at an angle that allows the line to come off easily. While holding the “reel” facing forward, throw your weighted line out and the line comes off the reel just like a spinning reel. The line is then wound around the reel by hand. It’s very small, light weight, and doesn’t have any of the breaking issues that can happen with the delicate fiber glass rod or small moving parts. Can you cast as far with this set up? Probably not. But I think the pros should out weigh the cons. I’m going to try it this year and I will report back on how it goes!
I did make one improvement to this product by cutting a small slit in the rim with my pocket knife. It gives me a place to hold the line securely when in transit.
In training for this outing I taught the boys how to tie a clinch knot. For this particular fishing set up, that’s the only knot you would really need. If fishing knots are your thing, or if you are looking to do fly fishing (which uses waaaay more knots), we make a handy fly fishing knot reference bandana that will help you refresh your memory on some of the knots that are farther back on the line and tied less frequently.
I am also going to be providing a “Stayin’ Alive Bandana” to each of the boys with reference information on the 4 top priorities for survival: shelter, water, fire, food. If you are teaching youth about survival, this is a solid way to make sure they have a lot of information in a format they can use for lots of other things and are more likely to take with them. Also it doubles as a bright location marker with reflective silver ink for high visibility at night.
Tell us about the amazing outdoor activities you have planned this summer! Are you teaching kids survival skills? What skills are you focusing on?