When did fishing become a hobbie?
Fishing is a well-established past-time and sport, loved for its versatility and all-inclusive nature. But how did it become such a popular hobby?
The History of fishing
Believe it or not, the fishhook’s predecessor was one of the most ancient manmade tools, known as a ‘gorge’. It was formed from wood, bone and stone, measured 2.5cms, with two pointed ends. The gorge was covered in bait to attract some unassuming fish, and when swallowed it would end up wedged against the fish’s gullet, allowing the fisherman to pull it in. This ancient precursor established the foundations and evolution of the hook.
Ancient fish “gorge”
For more than a thousand years, the fishing rod was no more than a few feet long until the Roman Era. As the earlier rods were made from streamline branches or sticks, the longer rods were also fashioned out of wood. Wood remained the material of choice until the better part of the 19th century when manufacturers started toying with materials to assess their properties.
The fishing reel was invented out of need to take up more fish and store longer fishing lines. Modern fishing reel designs hark back to 18th century England. At the time, the reel was known as the Nottingham reel; This was designed to be a wide drum, free spooling reel which made it ideal for letting the line float with the current.
Nottingham reel from the 18th century.
The gear multiplying reel was also invented - a turn of its handle would move the spool but this design found its popularity in the United States rather than England. It was the multiplying reel that inspired the Bait Casting Reel that came about in the early 19th Century.
There has been a fair amount of experimenting with materials. For instance, gut and lute string were explored as fishing lines; these gave way to silk, cotton or linen as they provided more distance when casting the line.
Example of an early silk line from around 1915
Lancewood and greenheart wood were used to make rods, replacing the heavier woods that were being used before. In the 18th century, bamboo became the material which was predominantly used because it was strong without the need for great thickness or weight.
19th Century Bamboo Rod
Eventually, in the 20th century, even bamboo was overtaken by carbon fibre or graphite as it allowed lighter, shorter rods that didn’t compromise strength.
Whether you’re an avid fisher, or someone who’s only just testing the water, Gone Fishing is the perfect place to find the best equipment, accessories and advice – the perfect way to enjoy your fishing experience with trustworthy, quality gear. Find out more here!