Survival Spider Web Fish Net

If you’ve taken any hikes lately you know that the spiders are out in full force.  This time of year it seems you can hardly take 2 steps before you do a spider web face plant.  A spider’s web is really one of nature’s most amazing exhibitions of strength and design.  Spiders are the ultimate survival trappers – catching their meals with elaborate snares.  For it’s size, a spider web filament is one of the strongest fibers on the planet.  To a survivalist this presents a challenging opportunity – how to harness this bounty and use it to provide basic survival needs.  Today, I decided to take on that challenge and create a Survival Spider Web Fish Net.

First, I needed a frame.  I cut a nice thin maple branch and bent it into a net frame shape.  I used the fibers from a nearby milk-weed plant to lash the frame together. So far so good…

Spider Web Fish Net - FRAME ONLY

Spider Web Fish Net – FRAME ONLY

Next, I headed to the nearest water source – a creek about 400 yards away.  I took the long way and went off trail so I could capture as many spider webs as possible.  In route I swept up 1 web after another – eventually forming a pretty solid net around the frame.  I turned the frame each time and swept up webs from both sides.

Spider Web Net - In route to water source

Spider Web Net – In route to water source

After about 30 minutes and 25 or so spider webs later I came to the creek in the woods.

Spider Web Net - Arrival at creek

Spider Web Net – Arrival at creek

I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to try and catch.  I thought maybe crayfish, tadpoles, frogs or minnows.  I am an opportunist so I decided to walk the creek bank and see what I see.  I decided to test the spider web net in a little current to see how it would handle water.

Testing the Web Net in water

Testing the Web Net in water

Once I tested the net in the creek I thought… this might actually work.  I kept walking and came upon a little pool of water that had 1 little bottle neck inlet.  I noticed quite a few minnows in the pool.  I blocked off the bottle neck with some rocks and went to work.  Within 5 minutes I had caught my first minnow!

First minnow with Spider Web Fish Net

First minnow with Spider Web Fish Net

I would toss rocks on one side of the small pool and drive the minnows into a frenzy.  After about 20 minutes of slowly running my nearly invisible net through the water, I had caught about 15 minnows.  Not bad.
3 minnows at once

3 minnows at once

Another successful sweep!

Another successful sweep!

Eventually my net started to fail.  I could have gone back into the woods and replenished but I felt pretty good about the haul already.  You can create a viable fish net from spider webs!

What to do with MINNOWS?

You can use minnows for several survival functions actually.  First, you can eat them.  A general rule of thumb is that any fish under 2 inches you can eat whole.  I could have boiled them in a stew or steamed them over a fire.  Second, you can use them as bait.  Minnows make excellent bait for catching larger fish, frogs or turtles if you have a hook and line.  You can also use them as bait in land snares.  They would be irresistible to almost any furry animal that lives near water.  A little pile of minnows wouldn’t last very long in the woods – that’s for sure.

What I learned?

  • It is possible to catch small minnows with a spider web fish net
  • The net does not last long
  • Sweep more webs next time : 30+
  • Have to move the net SLOW through the water.  The web actually creates quite a bit of drag.

 Unanswered Questions?

  • Could I have netted a frog?
  • Could I have netted crayfish?

Any other ideas about how to harness the power of a spider web?

Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,

Creek

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