Trying to survive the second Great Depression on a dwindling budget? Why not try fishing your way to a full meal? It’s a great way to get that protein in your diet without having to shell out money for it at the grocery store.
Fishing is relatively simple and easy for anyone to pick up. You need a rod and reel, hooks, bait, lures and fishing line to do the fishing. If you’re going after bigger fish, bring an appropriately sized net for the fish you’re going after. Processing your catch will require different tools depending on how you’re going to preserve it.
Feed your family in a tough economy
Salmon fishing is very popular and has the advantage of being a big enough fish to feed a whole family for several days or weeks on just one catch. Salmon can be 10 to 40 pounds with some species like the king salmon getting up around 90 pounds. Popular places to fish for salmon include Washington, Oregon and Alaska in the states, and estuaries between Britain and Ireland have some great North Atlantic salmon fishing as well. Fishing for salmon can be done from the river bank, in the river in waders, on a boat, or even from a bridge.
When salmon fishing, there is no need for bait, but adding scent to your lure with something like Smelly Jelly is a good idea. It really is a fly fishing sport using a variety of lures. The brightly colored, silvery spinning lures have a high percentage of success in catching salmon as these aggressive fish are compelled to go after the lure. Ultraviolet colors are hard for humans to see, but the fish see them just fine especially at darker depths. The lures can be a single hook, but tend more towards being a triple hook design for more likelihood of hooking the fish.
Best areas for salmon fishing in the United States are Washington State (Puget Sound, Columbia River and tributaries, Neah Bay, LaPush, Sol Duc River, Cape Flattery, Sekiu, Port Angeles, Willapa Bay, the San Juan Islands, and Marine Areas 1-4). Fishing in these areas is strongest at different times of the year based on the migration and spawning patterns of the different types of salmon.
Oregon has some great fishing in Astoria, Warrenton and Hammond, where there are plenty of charter boats to take people out to fish for salmon. Taking a charter boat costs money; that’s not a good tactic if you’re trying to save money during the economic downturn. The Columbia River divides Washington and Oregon, so you can find fishing available on either bank. In Southern Oregon and Northern California, the salmon fishing is excellent in the Smith and Klamath rivers.
Now, what if you don't live in either of these areas of the country, where salmon run in large numbers? Do you your research on the area of the country that you do live in -- where is fishing big at, and what types of fish can be caught, and when? Native Americans fished (as well as hunted) for food in many parts of our country. And they survived, and fed their families, and even fed them well probably much of the time.
What Native American tribes were originally in your area? What did they fish for?
These could be the same fish you go after today.
Choosing a rod
The different rods you use depend on what type of fishing you do – for trolling a ten-foot, five-inch G. Loomis SAR1265C is nice. If you’re jigging (using a lure and weight in a vertical motion, fishing from deep to shallow), a shorter stiffer rod like the G. Loomis WBR813C would be good to use. For reels and line weights, you’re best off spending some time in your local tackle shop – they can point you in the right direction depending on the type and size of fish you’re going after. Remember, not all fish are created the same. Fishing for a Chinook salmon is an entirely different experience than fishing for a king salmon!
Salmon can be fished for almost year round – catching just 30 pounds of fish every weekend could feed your family all the time with no need for going to the store for meat. That could save hundreds to thousands of dollars a year! Some people like to put their fish on ice (a cooler with ice in it) right after they catch them and gut, clean and filet them when they get home. Never store your fish permanently in a freezer without cleaning and preparing them first.
You also have the option of smoking or canning the fish. If you’ve prepared ahead of time, you can soak your fish in a brine back at camp for 15 minutes for every inch of thickness, and smoke the fish in a smoker for two hours at 150 degrees F (this will allow the meat to absorb the smoke flavor), and then finish it off at about 200 degrees F, making sure the internal temperature of the fish gets all the way up to 165 degrees F – better safe than sorry.
By canning (or jarring) fish, you can preserve the fish for up to a year. Pressure canning is required to safely preserve the fish for consumption; this will require a pressure canner, jars with sealable lids and a knife. There are specific instructions for different sized jars according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. The canning process can take several hours and is usually easier to accomplish at home rather than at the campsite.
By reeling in the bounty of the sea, you can reduce your food expenses, and even put food on the table when you're out of work and have little money coming in. However, taking on this type of activity comes with a risk - you could get hooked on fishing!