Fishing, or angling, is the sport of trying to catch fish with a rod, reel, line and baited hooks. The sport goes back thousands of years, and it appears that fishing techniques were already quite advanced at a very early date. In the Stone Age, hooks made of both bone and stone were used to catch fish, but spearing, a more primitive method, was probably just as common. An engraving from an ancient Egyptian tomb shows that all four methods of fishing-that is, with spears, nets, rods, and lines-were in use as early as 2000BC. The Ancient Greek Poet Homer, Writing in about 800BC, also refers to the bronze hooks and horse-hair lines used by anglers. A very old fishing hook found in Britain is thought to date from about 500BC and was dug out of the Thames River in Essex (Jarman, 4). Fishing has been enjoyed for thousands of years and must incorporate three aspects: fishing equipment, style, and location to acquire a fishing success.
In order to fish you need to obtain the proper equipment: a rod, bait, and a few other accessories. The fishing rod is the most basic necessity to begin fishing. Although a fishing rod cannot be called a fishing rod unless there is a reel attached to the butt (handle) otherwise it is called a fishing pole. Most rods today are made from either hollow or solid glass-fiber (or graphite, sometimes-called carbon). The pole is divided into three parts the butt, middle, and the tip, so that they can be taken apart and carried very easily. From the butt, where the reel is attached, the rod tapers down to the reel. The beginner should consider a pole of the maximum length that they can handle (Jarman, 41). I would suggest that a beginner should use a medium to stiff action pole for starting out. The reel is another much needed part of equipment that one should have to fish. A reel may hold up to or more than 100 feet a monofilament line, and it enables one to let out more line while dealing with a very large fish. Reels will come in three different sorts: casting, open-face or spinning, and a closed-face. The open-face and or closed-face are the most suitable for the beginners. When choosing a reel one should remember that if you are left-handed you should buy a right-handed wind reel and vice versa (Jarman, 42).
Today the artificial lure is the bait that is used worldwide; ranging from as small as 1/8 inch long and 1/90 of an ounce in weight, or as large as 14 inches and weighing up to 4 ounces. In the world of lures, there are thousands placed into three different groups-spinners, spoons, and plugs. Spinners are torpedo-shaped lures that come in a multitude of colors, that spin as they are pulled through the water. Spoons are just that, handleless metal spoons that wobble as they dart through the water imitating the movement of small fish. Plugs are imitation plastic fish that vary in size and shape. When choosing a plug one needs to keep in mind that the one with the most color and glamour may not be the one that attaches and catches the fish (Jarman, 48). Fishing with plugs is the most fun from my experiences, because watching the lure “swim” in the water is just so cool. Now another type of bait is the live bait; it uses the common hook along with worms, minnows, and or maggots. These may be stored in the refrigerator for long periods if needed. Sometimes these small critters are dyed to make them look more interesting to the fish; this dates as far back as the 1490’s. Other popular hook baits are bread and cereals such as stewed wheat, barley, and hemp. Last the largest group of baits are the flies used to fly fish; they are divided up into four basic types: the dry fly, the wet fly, the nymph, and the lure, which is not used very often in fly fishing. The dry fly is designed to imitate insects on top of the water, and the wet fly sinks below the surface and imitates newly hatched insects. The nymph and the lure try to imitate small water creatures like shrimp. In order to catch fish you must attract the fish with something and to keep them you need a hook to keep it attached to the line. All hooks have a shank end and a barbed end the shank end is used to tie the hook to the line, and the barbed end it needed to keep the fish hooked so it cannot get away. There are three different types of hooks: the spade-end, the eyed, and the snelled (comes with a piece of a nylon line already pre-attached). Depending on the type of fish you want to catch, the hooks vary in size, 1 being the largest and 20 being the smallest. It is of the utmost importance that the hooks are very sharp, top anglers recommend carrying a small sharpen-stone for hooks that are dull (Jarman, 43). I agree with the pro angler in full, because once I was fishing with my father I got a hit so big that I nearly fell in the water. I tried to set the hook but I just yanked it out of the fish’s mouth because my hook was to dull. Once you have caught the fish, where may I ask are you going to put it? A net would be a good idea. There are two types of nets, the landing net and the keep net. The landing net is a net with a long handle that is used to lift fish out of the water. The keep net, which is placed in the water and is used to hold the catch until it is returned to the water at the end of the day. A small folding seat is used if you plan to spend the whole day at the water. Wood and canvas seats are better than plastic or metal, simply because the color of these materials may scare the fish (Jarman, 41-49).
Once you have obtained the proper equipment, you need to learn the proper way to catch the fish. There are several ways to do so: still fishing, fly fishing, spinning, bow and arrow fishing, ice fishing and trolling. Still fishing is the oldest and the most popular method of fishing. Most beginners are introduced to angling through still fishing. It is one of the less complicated methods of fishing, both in equipment and technique. The equipment needed while still fishing is a rod, a line, bait or lures, the sinkers, and bobbers and floats. While still fishing a reel is not essential, but does help when landing a fish. Sinkers pull the bait down into the water, and bobbers keep the bait from sinking too far. Baits include worms, maggots, minnows or other small fish, dough balls, and cheese. Still fishing may be done from the bank or shore, a dock, a bridge, or even from a boat. The angler baits the hook, drops it in the water, and waits for a fish to bite. The fish caught by this method are bluegills, crappies, perch, catfish, bass and walleyes. Fly fishing is a form of angling that the fish are lured to the angler’s hook by brightly-colored artificial bait, which resemble insects on which the fish feed. Making these imitation flies is a great art, they are made with fur silk and feathers to make the bait look as realistic as possible. The artificial fly is so light it cannot be cast as a normal bait would be, lead shot cannot be used as it would simply drag the fly underwater, instead of letting it rest on the surface. So this problem is solved by using a heavy line, which carries itself forward when, cast. A line this thick would easily be visible to the fish, so the fly itself connected to the heavy line with a piece of transparent nylon line. To cast this line properly requires an especially flexible rod and a center-pin reel. Spinning is a method of fishing used to catch a predatory fish-perch, pike, trout, and salmon. This form uses artificial lures that drag through the water to imitate small or injured fish. This form was made much easier by the invention of the spinning reel, which gives greater control over the line. Other types of fishing are trolling, ice fishing, bow, and arrow fishing. Trolling is used on large expands of water such as lake and reservoirs. Artificial lures and or natural baits are trailed on a line behind a slow-moving motorboat or rowboat. Ice fishing is very popular in the north and around the Great Lakes. A hole is made in the ice with a corkscrew-like tool called an ice auger. The bait is lowered through the hole into the water using a hand line or simple tackle. Bow and arrow fishing makes use of a bow, and special arrows. These arrows are connected to the bow by a line, making it possible to retrieve the arrows and the fish. Both ice fishing and bow and arrow fishing should only be done with an experienced adult (Jarman, 14-17).
Now that you have the proper equipment and learned the proper way to catch the fish, you need to know where to catch them. A few good spots are in Asia, Europe and the United States. In Asia the main sporting fish is found in India and Pakistan, this is the maheer, a massive fish with extremely powerful jaws. It thrives in cold fast rivers and is usually caught with a spoon or bait although, when younger, it can be taken with a fly. During the British rule of India, trout was introduced to the rivers of Kashmir and other mountain streams. In Europe, angling has always been somewhat different from the British sport. Now the two styles are gradually coming closer together. British anglers have, since the invention of the reel, have chosen to use rods and reels, preferably to catch the largest fish possible. However, European anglers have always preferred to use long, reel-less rods sometimes known as cane poles, or roach poles. The Europeans try to concentrate on quantity rather than quality: that is, the average angler would rather catch a large number of small fish in a short time than wait several hours for a good-sized specimen. The fish commonly caught in European and British waters are: chub, barbel, salmon, perch, pike, brown trout, roach, grayling, and bleak. The United States has a rich history, for fish was a natural part of the native Americans’ diet long before the Europeans arrived. A method of fishing used in the United States for hundreds of years is called “hand-fishing”. The angler wades slowly along in shallow, muddy waters, feeling for fish with his hands. When he finds one, he fingers it carefully until he gets a satisfactory hold, then flips it out of the water. This method of fishing is still used today in the Midwest and in the South. Another method that is strongly used in the United States is fly fishing. When fly fishing was introduced, there were many arguments over which type of fly should be used: an accurate imitation of the living insect, or a lure which resembles nothing in particular but attracted the fish because of the color, brightness and movements. Fish common to the United States are perch, carp, bluegill, crappies, bass, northern pike, eels, trout, salmon, muskellunge, pickerel, and catfish (Jarman, 30-36).
Millions of people all over the world has fallen for fishing-hook, line, and sinker! Although it is popular today as a sport, it was once essential, as a source of food, and everyone from monks to poets have been lured by its charm. Fishing techniques today have come a long way from a simple hook and line, and anglers now have a massive range of advanced equipment at their disposal.
“Fishing”. Britannica. 1993 ed.
“Fishing”. The Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia of Fishing. 1994 ed.
Group Limited, 1970.