The History of Fishing with Hook and Line

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Being an avid recreational angler, I never really thought about the history of the sport. Who came up with the concept of using a hook connected to a line to catch fish? Where did this ingenious idea come from?

Fishing History Hook Line Rod

Originally, fishing was not for sport or recreation at all. It was all about catching food to survive. The “caveman” that invented the fish hook was not thinking of how to have a fun time, he was thinking how can I catch those fish to eat. It wasn’t until later that they realized fishing was actually enjoyable and did it for recreational purposes.

The earliest recorded fishing hooks were from around 7000 BC. These primitive fish hooks were crafted from wood, bone, and other materials that were available at that time. So, we know that there was some sort of (hook and line) fishing going on as early as 7000 BC.

Ancient Egyptians used hooks and line to catch fish from the Nile River as early as 2000 BC. Many tombs had depictions of fishing with hook, line, and rod. The Chinese fished with hooks made from needles, line made from silk, and bamboo rods as early as the 4th century BC. Native Americans of the west coast were also known to engage in fishing with gorge hook and line tackle from about 5500 BC. The ancient Greek, Roman, and Macedonian civilizations used hook, line and rod tackle to catch fish.

I thought fishing with hook and line was a relatively recent invention. I guess I was wrong. Although equipment has evolved tremendously with today’s fishing hooks being far stronger and sharper, fishing has been around for quite some time.

All of us anglers should be grateful to all the people that developed fishing into what it is today. (from the ancient to the recent) Without them we would still probably be trying catch fish with our hands.

Read about our fishing hook safety here or our guide to choosing the right size fishing hook.

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