Fishing can be an excellent source of calories during a survival situation, so it's wise to plan ahead and practice fishing with limited resources — especially if you live near a large body of water. This usually means including a small fishing kit in your bug-out bag, with hooks, line, sinkers, and maybe even some lures. But it's also important to prepare to be unprepared, so to speak. What can you do if you're stuck somewhere without any of these tools? You'll need to improvise.

Agave plant fishing line hook food cordage 2

There are a few solutions for catching fish with natural materials, such as weaving a fish basket or spearfishing with a sharpened stick. However, if you find yourself in the southwestern United States, Mexico, Central or South America, there's another resource that can come to your aid: the agave plant. Yes, they're good for more than just tequila. These spiky succulent plant species are closely related to yucca, so it should be no surprise that they're full of potential survival uses.

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In the following video clip from the National Geographic TV show Primal Survivor, survivalist Hazen Audel gives a quick demonstration of how the Rarámuri native tribe of northwestern Mexico created fishing line and hooks from agave plants.

While we suspect that the limp fish shown at the end of this clip may be the result of some TV magic, there's good information to be found here.

Much like the yucca plant, the hard spikes at the end of each leaf can be carefully sliced and pulled away from the plant, creating a needle and several strong fibrous threads. Another variety of the plant, black-tipped agave, can provide fish hooks. The spines on the perimeter of each leaf can be peeled away and bound to each other, creating a strong natural hook. Scrounge up some insects or animal guts for bait, and you'll be well on your way to a fish dinner.

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For more info and video clips from Primal Survivor, check the National Geographic Channel web site.

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