History of Fishing – Ancient Fishing Methods

Fishing is a fun pastime that can be quite rewarding if you use the proper equipment, which you can learn more about by visiting this website. Fishing has been a source of food for humans for thousands of years, and it continues to be so now. People used to fish with their bare hands back then, or they would train other animals to catch the fish for them, or they would use spears to capture the fish.

Fishing is one of the few pastimes that people all across the world participate in. As was expected, individuals turned to fishing as a means of obtaining sustenance. However, as the world has progressed and new methods of capturing fish have been discovered, angling has evolved into a recreational activity that many people enjoy in their spare time as a way to unwind. How did it all begin, and when and where did it take place?








From survival to commence

Archaeological excavations have revealed that Homo erectus discovered fishing approximately 500 000 years ago, and that it was a successful activity. Scientists, on the other hand, have claimed that fishing most likely emerged during what we now refer to as the Upper Paleolithic period, which occurred between 40 000 and 10 000 years BCE. Even though we are aware of these facts, there are still some questions when it comes to evaluating the fishing tactics that our forefathers used to practice.


The majority of the time, humans used to catch fish by hand or with the use of instruments made of natural materials back then. As a result, these simple instruments have been fully phased out of existence since then. In Egypt, around 3500 BCE, the rod, the net, and the spear were all invented and put to use for the very first time.


During the Graeco-Roman period, the subject of fishing was problematized and discussed in Halieutika, one of the earliest treatises on sea fishing that was written by Oppian of Corycus, a second-century poet who lived during the famous reign of Marcus Aurelius. Oppian of Corycus was a poet who lived during the famous reign of Marcus Aurelius.


It appears that the Romans were important traders and eaters of fish during their time. For catching the fish that they sold, the Romans utilized a variety of nets that were both large and little. Those parts of the fish that were not consumed immediately were fermented and turned into garum, a very delicious condiment that is still used today.


The trading of fish carried on throughout the Middle Ages. Feudal lords used to enforce severe limits on who was allowed to fish in lakes and rivers, and who wasn’t. With the construction of man-made ponds in the middle of the 11th century, individuals began to engage in the practice of fishing.


Furthermore, beginning in the 15th century, the fish trade had a significant expansion. For example, the Dutch were well-known for employing fleets of herring drifters when fishing, with some of these vessels remaining at sea for several weeks at a time. Ventjagers, or freight boats, were used to provide the required food and water supplies to the fishing boats. The ventjagers were also tasked with the responsibility of carrying the fish back to port.


The earliest trawlers were built in Great Britain in the 17th century, and they were soon put to use for commercial fishing operations there. However, it wasn’t until the introduction of the steam engine in the nineteenth century that these boats became widely employed extensively.


The use of steam power provided the impetus for the construction of larger and better boats, which were utilized for fishing in deeper waters at that time. As a result, the seafood trade grew exponentially, and Grimsby, a little town in Yorkshire, rose to become one of the most important ports in Europe.


In the 18th century, recreational fishing as we know it now was first introduced to the public and was initially restricted to the upper classes. This sort of fishing became increasingly accessible to individuals from all walks of life as technology progressed and angling equipment got more inexpensively produced.




Cormorant fishing

Cormorant fishing is a method of catching fish that is popular in nations such as Japan and China, among others. In order to collect fish, it is necessary to use trained cormorants, which are a species of birds that are known for diving into bodies of water to catch prey.


They have wire wrapped around their throats to prevent the birds from eating the fish that they have caught and released. In the past, this approach was frequently adopted; however, it is now only occasionally used.




Flounder trampling

This excellent solution, too, has become out of date. People used to travel to Palnackie, a small village in the Scottish Highlands, to participate in a practice known as flounder trampling, which was practiced many years ago.


Once collected, the large group of people would use their feet to capture flatfish in the muddy water by standing on them. Having captured a fish, each person would then kill the fish using an implement that looked similar to a triangular trident. Scots were relatively accustomed to using this strategy.


However, it has fallen out of favor in recent years as a result of widespread criticism and condemnation from animal rights organizations. On the other hand, the World Flounder Tramping Championships, which are held in Palnackie on the first Saturday of August every year, continue to be a popular community event. As was to be expected, numerous organizations have attempted to prohibit it.








Bajau sea bed fishing

In Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, the Bajau people are an ethnic group that is well-known for spending practically all of their time in and around the abundant waters of the region. They are referred to as “sea nomads” because of their unconventional way of existence. They live in buildings that have been constructed on coral reefs, and they are intimately acquainted with the water.


One of the things that distinguishes them from other ethnic groups is their ability to catch excellent deep-sea fishing. For nourishment for their families, the majority of them spend up to five hours every day in the water, hunting for fish with spearguns and spears, a traditional fishing technique that has been passed down through generations. They have demonstrated that they can hold their breath underwater for up to 13 minutes without the assistance of breathing devices.





The earliest known recordings of spearfishing extend back to 16,000 years, according to some estimates. In fact, the approach itself is detailed in a variety of religious scriptures. Spearfishing, in contrast to the practice utilized by the Bajau people, relates simply to the act of throwing spears into the water, rather than actually diving into the water and hunting for fish.


The Bahamas, as well as the states surrounding the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, continue to employ this practice, despite widespread opposition to its use.




Trout tickling

If you’re a fan of Shakespeare, you’ve probably heard about the practice of trout tickling. When it comes to trout tickling, it simply means touching the underside of the fish with one’s fingers, as the name suggests.


As long as the technique is utilized correctly, the fish will enter into an almost trance-like state, allowing the fisherman to pick it up and place it on the ground. Today, trout tickling is not widely practiced, and it is even prohibited in some locations.


Unsurprisingly, this novel way of collecting fish has attracted the interest of journalists and scientists alike. Even Mark Twain’s works mention the approach, which is found in Aelian’s Halieutica and De Natura Animalium, among other places.




Otter fishing

Since the 6th century, otters have been trained to capture fish, and the practice is being used today in Bangladesh. Northern Africa, central Europe, Scandinavia, and Asia were among the regions where this strategy was widely used.


Even though otters appear to be friendly creatures, they are incredibly tough to train. Otter fishing was recorded in literature from the Tang dynasty in China, which dates back to the 1300s. In addition, Marco Polo noticed people utilizing it in the 13th century, which is significant.









The usage of hooks and baits while fishing is a very old technique that has been around for a very long time. Some believe that it was originally employed during the Neolithic period. Hooks used by the first fishers were unearthed in Japan, at the Sakitari Cave on Okinawa Island, where they were believed to have been buried. It is estimated that these hooks have been in use for more than 22,000 years.


The first hooks were fashioned from bones, animal horns, and shells, as well as bird beaks, among other materials. The use of weights to submerge the hooks in the water was discovered by fisherman not long after.




Ice fishing

Ice fishing was invented by the people who used to reside in the region of Canada and North America where it is now practiced. It is not certain when the approach was first employed, nor how long it has been in use. Ice fishing used to be as simple as breaking the ice over a river or lake and dropping a wooden bait in the water in the shape of a fish. That was a long time ago.


When a real fish came close to the bait, people used to kill and capture it using spears made of ivory and bone, which they fashioned themselves. As time progressed and the art of fishing became more refined, spears were eventually replaced with fishing rods, line, and hooks.





The usage of nets in fishing has been around for quite some time. During the period of the ancient Greeks, fine threads were employed to weave the nets that were used for fishing.


They were formerly placed in regions where the fishermen were aware that the catch was passing through on a regular basis, or they were thrown onto schools of fish swimming in shallow water, depending on the situation.