Military Fishing Kit


I think this is an excellent little kit! (Of course, just about everything on my website…I consider to be excellent or it is not really worth my time and you probably won’t see negative reviews here. Anyone can do crap reviews.)


I wanted to do a mini-review on it…it deserves an article of its own, but it is not going to be a huge article, that’s for sure. I just want to let you know they are “out there” and if you can obtain one, get it!


This is a well thought out kit to be sure. Could they have put more in it to make survival an even greater possibility? Yes, they could have. But, to be honest, if you cannot catch fish with this kit, you can’t catch fish with $400.00 worth of rod, reel and tackle in my opinion.


They could have placed a few British Lifeboat Matches in a baggy, they are available, and they are NATO items. The designer(s) of the kit figured there would be other things in larger kits to make fire to cook fish with, but they should have had a little redundancy built in.


They could have also added a small pocketknife or, they could have added more single edged razor blades instead of the one that is included. But, one will do.


A small spool of brass wire for snares would have been a useful addition as well. (Don’t you love a critic?)


Here is how it breaks down.


Here is a picture of identical fishing kits; the dented one is from my USMC Survival Kit, just for comparison. These two articles are companion articles. The article on the “Demo Knife” is a companion piece to both of these articles too.



Here is a picture of the label on the kit, that way you can hunt some down for yourself.



Here is a picture of the edge of the kit with the green duct tape.



The lid removed from the tin, this is the first layer. Instruction manual, etc.



Second layer, two different strengths/weights of fishing line and the safety pins and cloth they are pinned to.



Leaders, assorted fishhooks and the yellow cloth that contains sewing needles are pictured in the next photo.



Notice the rust contrasted by the yellow cloth? This was a brand new, still sealed, and never opened, undamaged fishing kit. The sewing needles had rusted just as they did in the kit included in the dented fishing kit enclosed inside the USMC Survival Kit.



Full picture of rusted sewing needles.



A knot card, two very large barbed hooks/gaffs, treble hooks and other equipment are to be found in this next picture.



Here are some interesting and informative excerpts from the tiny “Fishing Under Survival Conditions” manual included in these kits. As a matter of fact, I have copied much of the fishing tips…

Artificial Lures


Your kit contains three different sized spoons, which is excellent for trolling from a moving raft or boat. They also may be used with a pole or branch in a jigging action. In a stream the current will keep the spoon moving and will give it a lifelike action. If you fish in still water, however, you must impart this action to the lure, through the use of line or rod. The spoon will take many types of fresh and salt-water fish. The large spoon can be fished in water where there are weeds if the weed guard wire is kept at an angle above the point of the hook. Often fish are found lurking in weedy spots try them if open water does not bring results. You also have a red and white striped spoon which can be used in open waster but not so effectively in other areas. In using either of these spoons be sure to attach one of the wire leaders to it by means of the snap and tie the other end of the leader firmly to the line.


There are also pieces of red and yellow flannel in the kit. Small stripes of this material can be tied to the plain hooks in the box, and an excellent artificial lure will result. Such a lure must be moved through the water, to give the appearance of a brightly-colored, wounded minnow. Either the red or yellow cloth, or a combination of the two may be used. Be sure that the cloth is tied securely to the hook using a piece of your parachute shroud line to tie with. Other materials can be used to make artificial lures. A sliver of wood, tied to a hook and worked in the water, often looks very much like a small, injured fish, and will cause larger fish to strike.




You have both nylon and steel leaders in your kit. The nylon should be used for small fish. The steel leader should be used if you stand a chance of hooking larger fish, particularly those which have sharp teeth might cut your line.




Your plain hooks may be used for bait fishing, either from rafts, boat or shore. They may be baited with various types of worms and grubs, dug from the ground or found beneath rotting logs or in old stumps. If you are afloat on the ocean, small pieces of fish, cut from a fish you have caught with one of your artificial lures, often will be more successful than other bait. Bite of biscuit, or meat from a bird will also serve this purpose. Always keep a piece of your last fish as bait for the next one.


In fishing with plain hooks, you may want to use the sinkers, which are in the kit; it seldom is necessary to use these with artificial lures. It is not necessary to use the sinker unless you wish to troll your bait deep, from a moving boat, or unless the bait will not sink on its own weight. Wrap the sinker around the line or leader, and bend the nipples into plat to secure it. Be careful not to lose the clinch sinkers.




You have both heavy and light line. If you are trailing a lure behind you in open water, it probably will be wise to use the heavy line and the steel leader, for you’re likely to hook into something big. If you are working small streams or lakes, and can see that the fish are fairly small, it is reasonably safe to use the lighter gear.


Don’t tie the line to your finger!


A big fish may cause you injury or may break the line.


Secure the end of the line to a grip in the raft, or to a belt loop in your trousers if you have no one else in the boat with you. If there are two or more in the boat, let one man hold the end of the line, while the fisherman uses the body of the line to impart action to the lure or to hook the fish when they strike.


Sometimes, when fishing with meat or similar bait, it is necessary to let the fish take the bait in his mouth before you give a sharp tug on the line to set the hook. With artificial lures, set the hook as soon as you feel the strike.


Try for small rather than large fish. You have some idea of the strength of the line. If the fish is so large that you are afraid he’ll break the tackle if you try to pull him straight into the boat or shore, feed him a little line through your fingers, always keeping a steady pressure on the line. The fish will soon tire, and you can bring him in easily.


Watch for schools of feeding fish. Often flocks of gulls, diving into the water, will indicate the presence of such a school. Small fish jumping out of the water are another indication. Get as near to the school as possible and stay with it if you can.


In a stream, the upper end of the pools will most likely give the best results. Feeding fish gather there to grab the floating food as it enters the hole. Work the flies, spoons, or baits in those spots. The lower end of the holes also are often productive. Watch the water carefully. Note where the fish are feeding then fish there. Some fish are easily alarmed, and will not strike if they see you. Be careful in approaching a pool. Don’t disturb the water or cause anymore disturbance than necessary. Some fish, on the other hand, are not afraid and will strike near the boar or near the feet of fisherman. This is particularly true of salt-water species.


In addition to the equipment named you have two treble hooks. Sometimes you can see fish in clear water. By attaching one of these treble hooks to one of the wire leaders by means of the snap and tying the leader to your heavy line you can make a rig that can be used to snag fish. Probably it will help to use one or more of the sinkers on your line or leader fairly near the hook. This will give you added weight and help you to throw the line well past the fish so it will sink over him. If it is given a quick jerk when this occurs you have a good chance of snagging him. You also have one large hook. This can be tied to a pole using some of your parachute shroud line, and used as a gig to snag fish, it also can be used if you hook an exceptionally heavy fish to help in landing it.


You also have two extra snap swivels. Those can be used with one of your nylon leaders and the larger spoons if you find the fish you are catching do not have sharp teeth.

I have taken my two fishing kits and pillaged them for use in various other survival kits and tins – primarily my favorite tins, Penrith Tins.


Right now all of my “Survival Gear” is in a completely fluid state. I have these little fishing kits, the larger USMC kit, I have Penrith and other kits, and I am trying to make them into a few kits that I can then stop screwing around with. But I am carrying various things and incorporating and testing, etc.


I was able to salvage some of the larger needles that were rusted in both of these kits. I used the sanding drum attachment on my Dremel Moto-Tool for this task – it removed the rust quite easily. I simply clamped the needles one by one into a pair of vise-grips and went about removing the rust, leaving plenty of steel and sharpening them somewhat in the process.


Excellent sewing needles and thread used to be commonly available where I am. Over the past few years, it has been hard to find anything but the cheapest garbage that bends in your hand – when it comes to sewing needles. Heavy-duty sewing needles that are large with triangular shafts are even harder to get here. That is why I wanted to salvage as many of these needles as I could. There are a total of eight (8) heavy-duty needles with triangular bodies. Very tough needles, seemed a shame to let them go to waste because of some rust.


Likewise, “Carpet and Upholstery” thread – a very heavy-duty grade of sewing thread, is not as easy to find anymore. For survival needs, the heaviest thread you can find is what you want in the kits. You can always fall back on ParaCord inner strands if you have to, for extreme needs like repairing shelter (bashas) tarps and packs, etc. But it is good to have the best, toughest, thread you can find and place a good amount in your kits.

So…to wrap this little article up nicely, I would say that if you get the chance to get one (or more!) of these kits, DO IT! Keep them as stand-alone kits and add to them (British Lifeboat Matches, button compass, a few more razor blades, etc.) to round them out, take the contents and add to your other kits…do whatever you see fit. But they are very well done and with the instruction booklet and the inclusion of some “Life-Like” types of fishing lures and other, assorted items, you could do a lot worse for a pocket survival kit. 


Don Rearic


copyright 2003 DonRearic.Com

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