I knew I had to have some way to hold a fish once it bit, and a safety pin seemed to be just the thing! My Aunt had hundreds of these, and I picked out a shiny steel safety pin half the length of my thumb. I knew I needed some kind of line to fish with, and it occurred to me my Aunt had tons of string, (Like kite string), so I borrowed a ball of string. Armed with my new fishing tackle, I headed for the pond. All excited with visions of monstrous fish in my mind, I quickly spied a caterpillar on a leaf at the pond, and I tied the string around the head of the safety pin (double knot), then stuck the sharp end of the safety pin through the caterpillar.
I unwound about 15 feet of string, and cut and tied the end of it on a large stick so I could hold it, and I gently tossed that caterpillar on a safety pin into the water under the shade of that big old oak tree. Not two seconds passed when the water exploded under the worm, and I watched in tremendous excitement as the caterpillar disappeared, and the side view of a huge (in the eyes of a ten year old) greenish scaly fish rolled over in the water. and dived under. I counted to five (as my Aunt had suggested to give the fish time to swallow the safety pin) and then a gave a sharp pull on the string. 5 minutes later I was holding a largemouth bass! (looking back now, I believe the fish was perhaps a pound to maybe a pound and a half). I caught two other bass that afternoon, with just kite string, and a safety pin.
Bass, catfish, perch and carp are not the only survival food sources. Most bodies of water also contain turtles, and crawdads. In shallow brackish streams and shallow ponds, crawfish can be collected by the bucketful, by hand, in a short period of time.
A popular method of catching many crawfish at one time is to build a small wire mesh cage (2ft x 2ft x 1ft) or a box with a hinged, closeable lid, cutting a 2″ round hole in one side, near the bottom of the box or small cage. Next, tie a raw chicken leg, or wing, or dead perch, or chunk of fish on the inside, on the bottom in the center of the box, or cage, and submerge where ever crawfish are present, wait 30 min. to an hour, and pull the box or cage out of the water. Crawdads (crayfish) are best boiled in salted, or seasoned water. after cooking, just separate the tail from the body, peel the shell off the tail, and enjoy.
During spawning times, carp, and catfish can be found close to the waters edge in lakes and ponds. Some may be caught by hand, if you are quick and agile, otherwise, fish in shallow water can be speared with a simple long knife tied to a pole, or scooped up in hand held fishing nets (if you own one). If you find yourself in a populated area, and can do nothing else, hang out at shores edge by other anglers, and watch what they are doing, and watch how they are doing it. If you see someone throwing fish back because they are “junk fish” ask the angler for the fish, chances are, He/She will be happy to let you have them. If you are fortunate enough to live in isolated areas, or have access to such, remember that bodies of water draw an abundance of game, both in early morning, noon and early evening hours. Isolated ponds offer an excellent chance of bagging game to bring home to the dinner table as well as offering alternate food sources of the freshwater variety.