This is why you should keep a bow over a fishing rod in your survival kit
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I’m a keen bowman, I love the sport and I’m always trying to come up with a new perspective on why bows are great tools for different situations, so I’m here to give you my perspective on why I think you should consider a bow or a survival bow as part of your survival cache instead of, or possibly as well as the survival fishing kit you may already have.

You need fish, you need food

You need to fish, you need to eat, you need to hunt sources of protein to keep you alive. Did you know you can fish with a bow? Well you can, the practice of bowfishing is pretty common nowadays (in countries that allow bow hunting) and the equipment available to the bow fisherman has evolved to include reels attached to bows, specialist glasses, torches and other useful aids but most prominently bowfishing arrow tips with barbs that allow prey to be hooked much like a fish on a line and then reeled in.

Nearly all modern bows such as the Martin Saber pictured here come with the fitments you need to attach bowfishing reels.


Bow fishermen normally target freshwater or saltwater fish in the shallows where they can either wade into the water and stand ready to fire, or they take position on an elevated surface overlooking the water and anything you can shoot is game, not just fish but alligators, sharks, you name it, so long as it doesn’t have a hard shell you’d be able to spear it with an arrow. You can’t do that with a fishing rod.

I can make a bow

So if you know how to fish and you have yourself the kit you need, great, but what happens when you run out of lures, floats and hooks? Given some string for line, yeah you can make survival fishing hooks to use, I’m sure there are ways, but I doubt they’ll be as effective as modern metal hooks, they certainly won’t be as strong. Give me 30 minutes, that same string and I can fashion a bow and some sharp arrow that will allow me to catch fish and other prey with nothing but a knife.

Admittedly it won’t be as good as any of the best beginner bows available today, but it will get me by.

Know how to fish?

Now I don’t know how to fish. I’m not a fisherman. Apart from the basics like knowing that you need a line, a hook and some bait I’m really not sure exactly which types of fish like which types of bait, where to cast a line, and I really don’t know which types of fish I’d even expect to find in any given water. I’m sure I could figure it out given time, but I’m also sure that if I could find somewhere to fish, somewhere shallow and clear and I could actually see some fish, I know I could spear some with a bow.

Points for the fisherman

Yep, I’m not going to deny it there are some things that fishing is better at. You don’t need to be able to actually physically see fish to fish for them, you can cast your line into murky waters, deep waters and you can fish at night without any issues. That’s one for the advantages of fishing.

You don’t need so much time and patience to fish (if you’re any good at it), you can cast a line and just relax until you get a bite. The same isn’t true of bowfishing, it’s more of an active sport you need to get into the water, find the fish, spot the fish, aim, hold and fire, retrieve the arrows you miss with and all these things require you to expend energy which isn’t a passive activity like fishing. Bowfishing is certainly more of an active sport.

A collapsible pole and reel to fish with and certainly a basic survival fishing kit is going to take up far less room in your survival bag than a bow. Survival bows are compact, but they’re nowhere near as compact as some basic line and lures would be.

Bows for defence

Now I’ll get this most obvious point out of the way. If you’re packing supplies to catch fish you’re probably planning for survival in a pretty hostile environment, one where you’ve removed yourself from society or where society no longer exists as we know it today. A hostile environment will have predators and you will be the prey, and a bow is a ranged weapon. I don’t think I need to elaborate on that any more.

Convinced yet?

Well if you are, then please, take a look at archery, there’s lots of resources available and nowadays there are lots of different types of bows available from traditional to compound, bows are easy to get hold of and there a clubs all over the place that will teach you the skill. Learn how to shoot and you’ll find yourself a better prepared person than you were before. If you’ve any questions or comments please let me know!