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