A Primer on Handline Fishing

Most survival kits include some sort of fishing line and hooks. However, if you have ever tried to fish with just these items, you know it’s a quick way to end up with a tangled mess. To effectively fish, you need some sort of line management, and if it allows you to cast further and reach better fishing locations, even better. This is where handlines come into play.

While this type of fishing might seem foreign to some avid anglers, in many parts of the world, handlines are used to target fish species of all sizes. As a matter of fact, certain types of handlines are commonly used to catch relatively large saltwater species.

Speaking of types of handlines, they fall into several categories. Fishing yoyos or Cuban Yoyos are usually larger than other options. They’re popular in coastal areas, and you can find them made from wood or modern materials like plastic and aluminum. While they aren’t as packable as other options, you can find them at some bait shops for $10-20.

The baton style of handline can have great variance in fit and finish. It’s essentially a round piece of wood, or sometimes other materials, that provides a handle and a spot to store your line. This type can easily be improvised in the field with a stick and a bit of time with your knife. Or you can go fancy like this example from our beloved Bushcraft Kelso. he included a reel to help rewind the handline.

The next type is a bit harder to pin down a name for, but for the sake of this post, let’s call them knuckle handlines. This style dates back several centuries in England. They come in all shapes and sizes, and you easily make one from a split of wood. They can be scaled to your kit, ranging from small handlines inside of tins to larger versions for packs and pouches.

One of the nicest handlines on the market is also one of the easiest to use. The Exotac xREEL provides a convenient way to store your line, cast it, and also keep hooks and other tackle handy.

To fish with the xREEL, you slip a couple of fingers through the TPE strap, point the reel where you plan to cast and hold the end of the line in your other hand. After a few quick spins of the bait off to the side, you release the line, and the momentum pulls the line off of the xREEL. It takes a bit of practice, but in no time, you should be able to cast twenty feet with relative accuracy. Once you have a fish on the line, you simply spool it back around the xREEL.

The process for casting is essentially the same for most handlines, but some are easier than others. Regardless of what style you decide to go with, it’s nice to know that you have a reliable way to catch some fish when the opportunity arises.

5 Easy Plants/Mushrooms for Hygiene

There’s great joy in staying out in the woods for days and days. We reset our internal clocks to the natural flow we evolved with, rather than the artificial time created by electric lights and glowing computer screens. But one potentially good, modern obsession is that of bathing. True, many Native American people and also Vikings were known to take pride in the cleanliness of their bodies. But many modern bushcrafters consider washing to be the thing they do when they return to civilization. Keeping clean in the woods is too difficult or uses chemical soap that shouldn’t be introduced into the environment (including so-called “camp soap”). However, there are some plants and mushrooms that provide natural and easy cleaning power.

Don’t Miss the 10th Annual GABC Gathering

Well folk, it’s that time of year again. The time of year when we start preparing for our annual Fall Gathering. This year is going to be extraordinarily special. This fall marks the 10th year of Georgia Bushcraft, bringing people together to enjoy outdoor skills as a community.

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The Best Bushcraft Knives of Blade Show 2022

If you have never been to Blade Show, it’s difficult to describe the sheer number of blades that are all under one roof. From cases of classic Randalls to new designs that incorporate cutting-edge materials, there’s truly something for everyone. We scoured this massive event to pick out the best knives for bushcraft.

Our intent was to find a wide range of blades that could be used for bushcraft tasks and projects. We visited with old friends and met some new brands while making our selections. Continue reading to see what we found at Blade Show 2022. 

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Instructor Spotlight: Gabe

One inspiring aspect you’ll find at a Georgia Bushcraft event that truly stands out are the familiar faces you see year after year. While GABC is in its tenth year, some of these familiar faces are relative new comers that were hooked from the start. Gabe Giovannetti is one such individual. In the last couple of years he’s attended nearly everything class, workshop and large event at GABC. Between his fast growing online following with tons of great content and his enthusiasm for bushcraft, Gabe has inspired many in the bushcraft community.

The crazy part, he’s only 15 years old!

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Exploring Skills: Understanding Blade Angles

If you have spent even just a moment on the internet trying to understand what angle to sharpen your knife, you’ve probably encountered millions of “experts” that claim their way/method is the ONLY way to arrive at sharp. Bullspit. ANGLES are less important than APEX. We are going to uncover a sharpening reality that will help you make a genuine breakthrough in your quest to have the sharpest knife possible. 

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Beginner’s Guide -Raising Backyard Chickens

A hundred years ago, chickens and their eggs were a delicacy of sorts, and large chicken farms didn’t exist like they do today. Backyard chickens didn’t really become a popular ‘thing’ until the late 1920s & 30s, thanks in part to the discovery of vitamin D (which helps chickens survive longer during winter months) and the Great Depression. As WWII hit in the mid-1930s, it became a sense of pride and American duty to grow Victory Gardens and raise chickens. As time went on and technology advanced, the industrialization of chicken farming grew into a multi-billion dollar industry.

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5 Easy Vitamin C Rich Wild Plants for Georgia Bushcrafters

You may remember from school that vitamin C is a critical nutrient, but our body cannot synthesize or store it. We need approximately 175g of this multipurpose molecule to avoid scurvy and other health issues. Vitamin C, aka ascorbic acid, is the glue that attaches cells to each other, the signal flare the innate immune system uses to call for help, protects against cancer-causing free radicals, and much more. In plants, it helps redirect excess sunlight energy into non-destructive pathways. Pretty amazing! Granted, you could carry vitamin C tablets along on your adventure, but considering the ascorbic acid in these tablets is always synthetic, there are better choices for bushcrafters.

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Wood and Fire

A common yet very true statement in bushcraft is the more you know, the less you have to carry. This really is our core belief, with the goal of many to be reaching the point of heading out a knife, pot, and wool blanket, then making it back home again days later! One thing key to this wild survival is fire. This has been a core skill, possibly dating back to 1.5 million years ago. Fire is one of the things that made humans human and played a huge role in our expansion around the world, even into the most inhospitable environments. If we could build a fire, we likely survived.

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