The history of fishing started when cavemen and women needed food. All fishing was done out of need and most of these people used vines for line and bone for hooks and often they would use clubs or primitive traps. Whatever it took to get the food was the idea.
The earliest recorded use of a fishing “rod” comes from a painting from Egypt from about 4,000 years ago. Many of the famous Greek philosophers, such as Aristotle, talked about fishing. American Indians also caught fish with traps and nets but they were known to use hooks and line as well, making them out of flint or bone and branches from trees. This was probably the beginning of the history of fishing as a sport in what we now know as the United States.
As humans became more efficient at gathering and storing food by various methods, they no longer had to worry about fishing just for food. They now had time to fish for the pure enjoyment of it. Boats not only gave commercial fishermen an advantage by allowing them to set nets and move fish toward traps, but also gave the person who fished for sport a way to fish in previously unreachable areas.
The history of fishing slowly developed over the years, with the gradual evolution of equipment showing that people were starting to enjoy fishing for sport more and more. Iron hooks were invented, as was catgut line. Reels were finally developed around the fourteenth century in Europe and eventually in America when the settlers arrived.
Fishing really didn’t change much for the next 500 years, although in Europe and America the rich perfected the art of fly-fishing. The history of fishing started to evolve rapidly around the time of World War II, when rods and bait-casting reels were finally mass produced. New lines were invented and made from synthetic materials that made fishing much more efficient and easy.
Fishing has blown up in popularity since then and the improvements in rods, reels, boats, and even fish-finding technology have been incredibly rapid. Rods and reels even started to get cheap enough for kids to buy and go fishing with their friends in their free time. The first bass tournaments started in the late 1960s and this also helped with both fishing technology and popularity. Catch-and-release fishing, which was never popular in the past, started to be the norm instead of the exception.
Fishing continues to be a very popular sport around the globe. Some professional fishermen and women make close to one million dollars a year fishing in tournaments. What was once a necessity has become one of the most loved leisure-time activities in the world.