Evolution of Fly Fishing: 2

Before we get to the history of the sport of fly fishing, we’ll be taking about the history of fishing in general, simply for the sake of interest (or your general knowledge if you happen to be into pub quizzes).

While we don’t recommend using weapons when you get frustrated by an unsuccessful day on the water, your predecessors (and indeed some cultures to this day) were fond of fishing with spears. Spearfishing with barbed poles (also known as harpoons) was widespread the palaeolithic era. Cosquer Cave in Southern France, for example, contains cave art over 16,000 years old, and the subject matter includes seals which appear to have been harpooned. Neolithic culture and technology spread across the globe between 4,000 and 8,000 years ago. With the advances of farming and pottery came basic forms of the main fishing methods which are still used to this day.

From 7500 to 3000 years ago, Native Americans of the California coast fished with equipment such as gorge hooks and line tackle. In addition, some tribes used plant toxins to induce torpor in stream fish to enable their capture. Copper harpoons were known to the seafaring Harappan people well into antiquity. Early hunters in India including the Mincopie people, aboriginal inhabitants of India's Andaman and Nicobar islands, have used harpoons with long cords for fishing since early times.

Health warning: harpoons should not be used against your luckier opponents in fly fishing competitions, and you can forget about using plant toxins to make your prey drowsy – totally illegal!

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