Ancient humans had to struggle to find food and shelter through many centuries so they thought of lots of creative ways to survive. Among the many great things they left us, fishing is probably one of the most useful practices that dates back at least to the Upper Paleolithic period. At first, people started catching fish for food, but later on they thought of new, interesting methods to capture them and throughout the years it became a fun way to spend the day. But before we get to the fun part, it’s crucial to say that fishing was super important in those early ages, especially for the tribes that lived along the costs, and not just because fish was their main dish, but because they’ve developed a lot of new inventions that helped them in the process of catching the fish. It’s thanks to fishing when people started developing their basketry and knitting skills and there’s a possible theory that they developed their swimming skills in order to catch fish. According to Morgan, an American anthropologist, the advent of fishing was of great evolutionary importance for humankind. He says that during the period of savagery fishing had a particular role because people noticed that fish is independent of the climate, that they are universal in distribution and that they could find them in lakes, oceans or rivers at any time of the year. With the invention of the bow and arrow, fishing represented an important step in the human history because it was the beginning of a new chapter that heralded the hunting of terrestrial animals, according to many anthropologists.
Moving fast forward to medieval Europe, it’s important to note that people distinguished between three kinds of prey: fishing, fowling and hunting and among them fishing had a special place because fish was the most important medieval dish in every home. There are pieces of evidence from manuscripts, fishing artefacts and carvings that witness the importance of fishing in the medieval times. However, the most intriguing part for us is how did they catch the fish? They didn’t have quality fishing rods, metal fishing lures or metal hooks like we do today, but they did have some sort of fishing equipment. The use of the rod was not introduced until the 13th century in Europe, so until then people used fishing nets or fish traps to capture fish. When it comes to fishing lures, there has been almost no evidence in manuscripts of such item in the medieval times, but there’s one example of a gold fishing lure that dates from this period. However, it’s known to man that the first fishing lures were made out of bronze and bone. Throughout the history of fishing lures, creating them was mostly an individual pastime and many fishermen enjoyed making their own fishing lures out of bones, stones or bronze. With the development of the crafts, the introduction of new materials and the huge people’s imagination and creativity, fishing lures became a pure art form. That’s how from a leisure pastime this art form became a necessity in the angling world and that’s how today we can choose from so many metal fishing lures that are yet another useful item for a successful fishing day.
As years went by, fishing became more of a sport and a way to spend the afternoons peacefully than a way to bring food to the table. However, the problems of the modern angler are still those of his ancestor: how to approach the fish, where to find them, is the river or the sea a better place to catch fish, what sort of bait to use etc. It’s important for every angler to understand weather, to understand water and most importantly, to understand fish. Even though our ancestors didn’t have the fishing equipment we have today, it doesn’t mean they were giving up each time they couldn’t catch a fish, but thanks to the improved methods and modern gear, we’re still keen on this thousand year old activity that we want to pass it on to our descendants.