Fishing is an ancient practice, and the history of fishing dates back over 40,000 years. Better known as angling, fishing with barbed poles was common practice in the upper Paleolithic period and was an excellent source of nutritious food for large families. Since then it has developed into a hobby, an industry, and a sport.
Around 38,000 BC, it was discovered that fish from the sea could be caught and eaten as a form of nutritious food. The earliest way to kill a fish was with a spear, which required great speed and skill. Children grew up learning to fish like this, and very soon, people were able to feed their families with what they had caught. This remained the standard way to catch a fish, until around 7500 years ago, when the pole and hook was introduced. This proved to be a far more effective method of catching fish, because the fish were attracted to the bait, rather than the hunter having to seek the fish. Many people now use this method to catch fish as a hobby or a sport, although the equipment is rather more sophisticated than a hook and pole.
As people began to acquire a taste for seafood, methods moved on, and people developed ways to catch fish on a mass scale: an industry was born. This was largely developed as trawlers came into use in the 1900s, although netting was used far before then, when driving fish downriver. Trawlers work by dragging a net though the ocean where there is known to be fish. Today, this industry is worth hundreds of billions of dollars; fascinating, when you think that it started from hunters with spears.
Most people now include seafood in their everyday diets, and people also enjoy it as a hobby. Although the equipment has changed, the method has stayed the same: floating something that the fish will be attracted to on the top of the water. In some countries, people have stuck with more traditional methods, and harpoons are used. These are a similar idea to spears, but they are shot rather than thrown, so it is easier to hit the fish.
Fishing has grown into a global industry, so it is interesting to know its history, how it originated and how it has developed.