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Ronan's report

Friday 30th July, 2010

I was asked to write this article on survival kits for a Fly Fishing Bulletin Board that is local to Alberta. I present it here as my attempt at Expertise, I actually do not like the word Expert, I used to joke that to be an expert meant that you knew 1% more then your target audience and were given a platform to preach that 1%.

I have learned that someone can be an expert in their field, and totally inept in other areas of life.

The article was write by me from my experiences, I joined the Army at 20 years old, and spent 24 years serving Canada; I have taken Winter Warfare and, Escape and Evasion training and just good old CANADIAN ARMY TRAINING, with a bit of humor thrown in. Enjoy.

Making of a Survival Kit.

Survival kits are as personal as Fly Fishing gear and styles. This is my take on what could be carried in a personal survival kit while fly fishing. I carry two kits, depending on the season, summer and winter.

There are items that are with me no matter what season. They are my belt knife and bear spray, the SPOT, a Silva compass, map and Wading Staff, I consider my wading staff a piece of survival gear, it has more uses then to help me cross water.

I will start with a disclaimer , as I wrote in the opening line these are personal these survival kits, you can buy them just about any where or make your own, and include just about anything you want in it, limited by what you are willing to carry. They are survival kits not for everyday use. The two I am going to write about here are mine, with me when ever I go out fly fishing which for me is Walk and Wading remote rivers, streams and hike in lakes, and most always alone or with my German Shepherd Fischer and occasionally a fishing buddy.

The basics that are always with me, Belt Knife, I use a buck 470, 12 cm long heavy blade that is very sharp, I like this knife it has a handle that is moulded to the hand and is not slippery when wet, I figure if I need to use it in an emergency, I will be wet, cold and maybe scared. Bear Spray, not just for bears, also for wolves, cougars, and bland dehydrated foods. Wading staff, makes a great tent pole, splint, and dead thing poking stick. I also have a choice of a Leatherman FUSE, and a Gerber issued from the army one or the other is always along for the adventure.

One of my most important always with me items is the SPOT Satellite Personal Tracker, this devise is worthy of its own paragraph later.

My Summer Survival kit that is no bigger then two standard fly boxes and weighs 415g includes in no particular order ; small 1st Aid kit, water purification tabs, vital if you become lost and with out food, or potable water, drinking from unsafe water can make a bad day much, much worse, take a second and visualize it. I carry a one litre bottle full at the start of the day, with Tang or G-Aid. This is a survival kit for Fly Fishers so that indicates that we will be around water, that is why there is a pair of EMS gloves and a one way CPR mask, and the knowledge to use it, I may not be able to use it to save myself but to save you.

The standard matches’, fire starting materials, trail marking tape, paper, pencil, reflective blanket for warmth, the thing about the blankets is that they will make you sweat, so you have to watch that. Head lamp that has the batteries changed at the start of each season, summer and winter. A big orange plastic “call Police” sign this can be used as a SOS sign for helicopters. A reflector mirror to signal aircraft and ground searchers also to clean up for the post rescue photo ops. Whistle and x-zacto knife, Protein power bars round out the summer kit. Protein instead of “energy Bars” or Chocolate bars, the energy you get from the Protein bars lasts longer and does not leave you with a crash later.

The winter kit includes all of the above plus some seasonal items, you will notice a Primus stove, pot and cup, I consider this vital equipment, even warm water can save your life, if you have taken a dip in the river or through the ice. I carry packets of “Cup o soup” and Beef or Chicken bouillon cubes. The stove is faster and more reliable then trying to find burnable materials on a frozen river bank. I also carry extra poly-pro socks, gloves and toque. A glow stick and extra reflective blanket round out the winter kit, this weights in at about 2lbs or a kg, I also carry a hell of a lot less fly boxes in the winter and move much slower so the extra weight is not a problem.

The SPOT, Satellite Personal Tracker, devise was given to me two years ago as a Christmas gift, and has been on every fishing, hunting and hiking trip since. It is like my wrist watch and Silva compass, vital! When you get the SPOT you register it on the web site and this costs $100.USD, for a year, that is .29c a day! With the SPOT you can check in with your contacts and let them know that you are safe, have arrived at the destination or are coming home, or need their assistance, locked your keys in the car, or run out of gas etc.

You can also provide the rescue center with vital health and personal information; this is what I provided them for when I push the 911 button.

My Dogs name is Fischer, he is big and black, a German Shepherd, he is very friendly, but loves me...

He may not be with me all the time but..

If you see him tell him it is OK, and ask were is Dad or Ray...

Plse rescue him also

I also fly fish with Thor a Golden Retriever; he will be jumpy but very good...

If you see him tell him it is OK, and ask were is Dad or Ray...

Plse rescue him also

If you cannot get to me, rescue the dogs...

I have been in the canyons and valleys and on mountain tops in blinding snow and hail, pushed the “OK” button and this thing has not failed me yet. But and there is always a but, I will always carry a Silva compass and most times a map.

Ten common fishing terms explained

Catch and Release - A conservation motion that happens most often right before the local Fish and Game officer pulls over a boat that has caught over it's limit.

Hook - (1) A curved piece of metal used to catch fish. (2) A clever advertisement to entice a fisherman to spend his live savings on a new rod and reel. (3) The punch administered by said fisherman's wife after he spends their life savings (see also, Right Hook, Left Hook).

Line - Something you give your co-workers when they ask on Monday how your fishing went the past weekend.

Fly - An object that is semi-enticing to fish, but will drive an angler into such a frenzy that he will charge his credit card to the limit before exiting the tackle shop.

Reel - A weighted object that causes a rod to sink quickly when dropped overboard


Rod - An attractively painted length of fiberglass that keeps an angler from ever getting too close to a fish.

School - A grouping in which fish are taught to avoid your $2.99 Store bought Fliess and hold out for spam instead.

Tackle - What your last catch did to you as you reeled him in, but just before he wrestled free and jumped back overboard.

Tackle Box - A box shaped alarmingly like your comprehensive first aid kit. Only a tackle box contains many sharp objects, so that when you reach in the wrong box blindly to get a Band Aid, you soon find that you need more than one.

Test - (1) The amount of strength a fishing line affords an angler when fighting fish in a specific weight range. (2) A measure of your creativity in blaming "that darn line" for once again losing the fish.

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