Fishing is one of the oldest sports or hobbies of humans, dating back to the Upper Paleolithic period, as was shown by drawings discovered by some scientists. When humans first discovered it, it was not for fun that they fish but to sustain their needs for food. In fact, fish became the main source of food for people during this early period. Their basic style in fishing was using a spear or harpoon where they would wait for the fish to come near them before spearing it.
When people adopted farming and turned to other food sources, a more modern method of fishing was also developed. The Egyptians used nets and boats to catch fish in the Nile River. However, there were already people during this time that used wooden hooks in fishing. It was not until around the 12th dynasty that metal hooks were first introduced.
For many centuries, the fishing rods that people used were short, probably not more than a few feet. The earliest reference of people using a longer jointed rod is during the Roman times at about the 4th century A.D. It was from an account by Aelian about the Macedonians who were catching trout using artificial flies. The rod they used was six feet in length and the line was of the same length. From this account, they may have used the dapping method where the bait is gently laid on the surface of the water.
Starting in the 14th century, there was already a gradual improvement in the equipment used for fishing. Although fishing was still primarily done for food, some people have already developed the fly-fishing method where they used rods from bamboo and hand-made fly reels.
In the US, it was the Native Americans who first used rods and lines to catch fish for food. It was not until 1496 when fishing as a leisure or hobby was first identified. During this time, there were already books about fishing, mostly written for gentlemen so that they could have fun while fishing.
The age of industrialization saw a great improvement in the fishing equipment used. Bait-casting reels and better line and rods with guides were already invented. But some of the biggest changes came out around WWII when reels and rods were mass-produced because of the big demand for them. The spin-casting reels as well as spinning reels were also introduced and became popular. As of this time, synthetic lines have also been gaining in popularity.
But even with the popularity of the different types of reels, these first reels were originally designed just for holding the line, while the line is being cast from the rod as fly equipment. It was in the 1830s when reels that were capable of casting a lure were first used.
At the end of WWII and until 1960s, there was a rapid improvement in the reels, rods and types of lines used for fishing. More and more people have engaged in fishing for sports or leisure. And we don’t have to use spears now or fish just for food. Thanks to modern equipment, fishing now is more enjoyable and fun.