In a survival situation, a quick-and-dirty fishing rig can mean the difference between a shore lunch and a growling belly. That said, suitable live bait can be challenging to locate, particularly in colder environments. In a pinch, you can fashion an effective fishing lure or fly out of a short strand of parachute cord, a long-shanked fish hook, and a lighter or a match.
1. Begin by cutting a 3-inch section of parachute cord. Bright-colored cord is best, and it needs to have a core that you can pull from the sheath until about a half-inch of it is exposed, creating a tail.
2. Insert the eye of a long-shanked #6–#8 hook into the sheath through the ‘tail’ until the bend of the hook seats against the sheath material. Cut the parachute cord to length at the junction where the hook eye terminates.
3. Use a lighter to melt the fibers of the cord away from the hook’s eye, exposing it enough so that it can be affixed to a line or a leader. Note that the melted nylon will be extremely hot. Once the eye is clear, move the lighter quickly over the head and body of the lure to shrink the cord around the hook and secure it in place.
4. Use a pin or knife point to separate the exposed inner yarns, making a fine, feathery tail.
5. Tie the lure to your line or leader, and fish with a jerky, jigged retrieve. A bright paracord lure can prove deadly on all sorts of panfish and brook trout, as well as the odd pike or pickerel.