How to Be “MacGyver” with One of Nature’s Best Survival Tools
When it comes to survival tools, sometimes the best ones are just lying around.
Take Bamboo for example. Many people place it in their garden for its aesthetic value and the privacy you gain from this living fence. Unfortunately most people do not realize that there are many different species of bamboo and the way in which each specific one grows. While some species grow in tight clumps and are easily managed, others create runners that spread in all directions, quickly taking over a garden and become a pain to remove.
While this is a frustrating experience for the person overrun with the bamboo, it actually makes it quite easy for the practical prepper to swoop in and get more bamboo than he could possibly use, often times completely free!
Now why on earth would you want to keep bamboo?
- Bamboo is extremely fast growing; some species grow as fast as 2-4 feet per day. It is also ecologically friendly.
- When harvested, bamboo you can safely cut up to 20% of your total crop and it will be completely regrown in just over a year.
- Bamboo can grow just about anywhere and is extremely easy to transplant. While some species of bamboo have the ability to grow back from fallen sections, the easiest way to transplant is to take the whole stalk. Simply dig around a stalk and pull it with the root ball free of the soil and re plant. Some of the plant may die off but odds are you will have a healthy start to a bamboo forest in your own back yard.
- Bamboo can be quickly crafted into The big three survival necessities (shelter, water, food)
- With a little knowledge a survivor will realize the variable cornucopia of tools that can be fashioned out of bamboo.
Today I want to focus on creating a bamboo fishing pole. While simple in creation, it is still a time consuming endeavor.
These simple steps will allow you to create a tool for yourself that will both entertain you on any lazy day that you feel having a few beers and catching some fish the old fashioned way as well as feed you when you have no other choice.
Crafting a bamboo fishing pole does take some time, but only because they need time to dry. You can create dozens of them at a time with just a limited amount of space. I always recommend making at least 3 poles at a time as it is almost inevitable that at least one of them will have a weak point and break.
To build a bamboo fishing pole, you first need to select some suitable bamboo. I recommend a pole that measures at least 1 ½” in diameter at the base and is about 8-10 foot long, but your preference may be different. You need to keep in mind that bigger is not always better. A stalk that’s too large or too long in diameter will be heavy and unwieldy and you will have trouble transporting it to your fishing spots.
Trim the pole down it is free from leaves and nubs. Find a joint that is close to the final length that you want your fishing pole to be. Then, carefully cut through the middle of the joint so the bottom end of your pole is sealed.
You then need to carefully sand down any excessive nubs with sandpaper. Do not attempt to sand the pole flat as this will create weak spots at the joints and cause your pole to break.
You’ll now need to dry your pole. You’ll want it to dry so it’s as straight as possible. The best way to do this is to hang it and if you find that the pole is not as straight as you would have liked simply tie a brick to the bottom of the pole. This will allow your pole to straighten during the drying process. Keep your poles out of the direct sunlight or they will dry too fast.
Depending on the size of the pole, the ambient temperatures, etc., your pole may take up to a few months to completely dry out. You’ll know when your fishing pole is dry when it loses the normal green color and takes on a tanned hue.
If you want to expedite the drying process you can lay the poles flat in your car. If you have ever entered your vehicle on a hot day and thought it felt like an oven… you are not far off. Leaving the poles in your vehicle allow it to act like a low heat kiln and will speed up the drying process.
After your pole is thoroughly dried, give it a few good whips through the air, if the pole breaks, then it had a weak spot in it and needs to be discarded. Hopefully you made more than one. If not, you will need to start the process over again.
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Now, you’ll need to tie a length of fishing line onto your fishing pole. The line will need to run 2.5 times the length of your pole IE: if your pole is 8 feet long you will want to use 20 feet of line. This will allow you a good length to cast with as well as a few feet for depth.
Start at the base of the pole. Tie the end of the line into a secure knot about 3 inches above where you plan on holding the pole. Then, run the rest of the line along your pole until your reach the end lay the excess fishing line out of the way and make sure it does not get tangled.
Use smaller, additional lengths of fishing line to tie the line to the body of the pole. Tie the lengths into loops around the body of the pole and the line at several points down the length of the pole. These will act like the eyelets on most store-bought fishing poles and help to guide the fishing line. Be careful not to secure the line too tightly to the pole or you won’t be able to slide it up and down. Tying it too loosely will cause your fishing line to droop and tangle.
You can adjust the length of the fishing line by pulling it down through the loops you tied to the handle end. Wrap excess fishing line around the handle. Simply add your hook and bobber and you are ready to head off to the old fishin’ hole.
Many other tools and weapons can be crafted out of bamboo. You can create bows, arrows, atlatls, darts, blowguns, etc.
I look forward to bringing you more items that can be created through the art of bamboo craft.