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The History of Fishing Bookmark and Share

People have been fishing as long as they have been hunting. They fished with hooks 5,000 or more years ago.

Since you're reading a fishing site, you're not surprised by a lot of pulls, losses, jumps, singing drags, fishing politics, scary regulations, wonderful friendships, a place to talk fishing, blah blah. If you're really into fishing, you would read hieroglyhics about fishing if you could. Stick you in the right place without web sites like ours or GregPoland.com or SpanishFlyTV.com, and you would figure out what little picture said "Fish of the Red Pharoah" and which one that meant "God of Striped Fish", You would build rods from sticks and hooks from stone and skin. Like this one.

Ancient Hook

"Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken: And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him."

-Luke 5:4-11

"The kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."

-Matthew 13:47-50

The History of Sport Fishing

The history of sport fishing can be traced back to the late fifteen century, to a work written by Dame Juliana Berners, a prioress of St. Albans in England. This work was ahead of its time, as it goes into great detail on many of the issues which still trouble anglers today. The same equipment, albeit manufactured with completely different materials, is in use today as it was then, and there is plenty to be read on rods, line, bait, hooks, and of course the waters in which fishing took place. The book proved very popular, and was reprinted many times during the following century.

This book was followed by a rise in the sport’s popularity in the next two centuries. During the seventeenth century another landmark book was published, this time “The Compleat Angler” by Izaak Walton. This book is one of the most reprinted in the history of English, and was the book which first took up the cause of angling as a sport, as opposed to commercial or subsistence fishing. The book is full of old style poems and songs and is a celebration of the whole of country life, not just of sport fishing.

Big Game Fishing Comes to Life

The history of sport fishing took another leap forward with the invention of the motor boat. This allowed the development of big game fishing around the start of the twentieth century. Now, the sport is well developed and increasingly popular, although it does face new challenges. The dwindling stocks of fish in so many of our waterways have led to new practices being developed where fish are no longer killed as part of the catch, but are measured and released back into the water. In some cases, electronic tags are used to identify catches, and even to send data back to government agencies.

The history of sport fishing involves both individual and team competitions. Individual competitions are mainly found when fishermen congregate on the water’s edge, and the prizes are normally awarded based not only on the number of fish caught, but also on the weight of those fish, and in some cases even the species of fish which have been caught. Competitions involving teams are usually carried out with the teams in boats, and with each team assigned an area of the water in which to operate. The judging criteria are usually the same, with numbers, weight, and species being considered towards an overall points total.

Sport fishing will doubtless face many challenges in the years ahead, with the ever growing awareness of the need to protect the environment and the species which inhabit it. The sport has made an excellent start in dealing with any criticisms which may have been leveled against it, by adopting the methods of releasing fish back into the water once caught, and sport fishing is now actively contributing to conservation by reporting data back to government agencies. The next few decades are going to be a crucially important time in the history of sport fishing.

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The Online Fisherman

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