I agree it's usually a combination of attitude, smarts . . . and some weird combination of gear
Callahan ("Adrift") was a great improviser, but without his two solar
stills, he would have died of thirst in the first few weeks (not enough rain in the mid-Atlantic). He also would have had a very hard time catching fish if he hadn't stowed a speargun in his ditch bag. After over a month of drifting he entered the outskirts of the Sargasso Sea and could haul in patches of seaweed that had baby crabs and shrimp, which augmented his diet. He drifted 76 days all the way to Guadeloupe
The Robertsons ("Survive the Savage Sea") might have survived 37 days without their gaff hook, as they did catch turtles by hand, but the gaff allowed them to "spear" dorado with an upward motion. I recall
some of those dorado held them over in times of no turtles.
I think in both cases the dorado were way too strong for any fish hook and line that had been on board the raft. For stocking your raft you should include wire leaders and 100-lb line and some big hooks.
Of course now in the day of satellites communications
and EPIRBs, the odds are less that anyone will be in this situation, but you never know.
It sounds like these boys had very little gear
, if any. So I'm especially curious to hear their story.