Build Your Own DIY Fishing Kit

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Alright, if you’re checking out this site, chances are you are well aware that you can find guides on building many different handy survival kits and other survival items right here on Know Prepare Survive.

Let’s take a moment to speak about a Do-It-Yourself minimalist fishing kit.

You can stash this fishing kit in your glove compartment, your backpack, your RV, or anywhere you might find yourself in need of a good fishing kit.

I have a great plan that can fit into a small space and go anywhere in your pursuit of that monster fish!

Saltwater fishing kit



Any great minimalist fishing kit starts with a simple, lightweight rod and reel. Using a telescoping rod and reel combo will ensure you can pack this down into a small bag or backpack and have the right equipment no matter where your adventures take you!

In the event you do not decide to go with a telescoping rod be sure to find a good all-purpose rod that breaks down into sections for easy storage. I have a preference for the telescoping rod due to its small size and convenient action.

Telescoping fishing rod and reel combo

A few years back I was fishing the middle fork of the Feather River in Northern California. At the point where the trail crossed over the river, there was a massive rock gorge and suspension bridge. The river passed through the gorge and had created a natural maze of waterfalls and rock walls. I had been hiking for a few days, so the first thing I did was take a swim in a quieter part or the river, then I laid my clothing out on the rocks to dry in the sun while I went in search of trout.

While traversing the rock walls of the gorge, I could compact my rod fully and at times even held it in my mouth. Once compacted all of the line was easily retrieved and by setting the drag the rod stays compacted. When planning my minimalist fishing kit there is really no better option!


You might be tempted to purchase an all-inclusive kit, which have been heavily advertised as of late. This is not a bad option; however, be sure to beef up your selection with the essentials before you stash your minimalist fishing kit for use in the future!

You can use anything for a tackle box. Used mint boxes make great separators and so do zip-lock bags. If you prefer a more conventional tackle box, what you need to look for is a compact size without bells and whistles, good division of compartments, and a quality clasp to keep the box contained and closed while bumping around in your glove box or backpack!

On that note, make sure to take a good look at your backpack before purchasing a tackle box. Some backpacks have handy exterior strapping compartments that could do well holding a small flat tackle box, which could help you preserve some space inside of your pack.

Once you have a quality, compact tackle box, it is time to fill it! Check out the following sections for the absolute necessities to include in your minimalist fishing kit.


survivalist fishing kit

Everyone knows you need to include floats, weights, and hooks to be able to cast out and catch a fish using bait. A quick solution to filling the compartments of your minimalist fishing kit is something like the Eagle Claw combo of hooks and sinkers. However, I usually have some hooks and split shot sinkers filling the main compartments of my primary tackle box at home, so for my satellite tackle box I use some of those.

This probably goes without saying, but a survival knife can go a long way in many different situations. If you don’t have one included, this is also an extremely desirable item to have on you when trekking through the wild.

Before we discuss the additional components of your minimalist tackle box, let’s discuss where you will be using the box and what fish you will be trying to catch!


If you are planning to fish lakes in the Southern US, your minimalist tackle box will look very different than if you are going for trout in the fast-running streams of the West.

Decide where the majority of your fishing will take place and pack the lures and artificial baits that will work in your area.

What I try to do is keep a variety to cover any situation in my area of the South because my minimalist fishing kit stays in the glove box.

I have favorite sweet spots in parts of the Chattahoochee, the Nantahala, and lakes from Oconee to Hartwell to Allatoona.

The majority of my catch is bass or trout, so if you are driving around saltwater areas, be sure to include some heavier tackle to land those prize salties!


DIY Minimalist Fishing Kit

If you fish fresh water, there are some essentials you need to include in your minimalist fishing kit, particularly when it comes to bait or lures.

I am a fan of plastic worms as long as I have a good rod to cast with so I always include some bullet weights.

Crappie jigs, a spoon, a rooster tail or two, and some salmon eggs round out my tackle selections. Here are some more tips for crappie fishing.

I find that in the South, nothing pulls the big bass in like a Texas jig with the right worm!


freshwater fishing gear

In saltwater you have the potential for larger fish, so you need to be prepared. In my minimalist fishing kit for saltwater, I always include saltwater leaders and heavier egg or pyramid weights in anticipation of the stronger currents.

Try brighter colors in saltwater conditions. The salt in the water will refract the water slightly differently and so something on the brighter side can perform better than in fresh water.

If you have a way to catch shrimp (e.g. a cast net, a trap) this is one of the most effective baits I have used in salt water. Everything in the ocean likes to eat shrimp. With a smaller hook, use a section of the tail, and with a larger hook, use the entire shrimp.

INSIDER TIP: When baiting with shrimp, including the head will increase the staying power of your bait. With a larger hook, be sure to run the length of the hook through the entire body of the shrimp and weave the barb through the shell several times to make sure your bait stays put!

Lastly, if you find yourself using any of your items in saltwater conditions, make sure to give them a rinse in fresh water when you have a chance, and dry them immediately. This will help extend the lifetime of these items, especially ones that are prone to corrosion, such as pliers or a knife.

Good luck and happy fishing!

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