Freshwater Fishing

Brody Hackbarth


Fishing, which is also called angling or sport fishing, is when you try to catch fish for enjoyment. It is a very relaxing, and enjoyable activity. Many people participate in the sport worldwide.

People Throughout History

Fishing goes back very far in history, further than one would think. According to Dr. Ben Sherman "an Egyptian angling scene shows figures fishing with rod and line as well as nets" (Sherman 1). Because of the fact that fishing is so old, there have been lots of people that changed and influenced the techniques and equipment of the sport that we know today. Fishing was a lot different back then. Chinese people started off using a bamboo rod, silk line, a hook made from a needle, and cooked rice for bait. That was in 4th century BC (Sherman 2). Ancient Greek Assyrian, Roman, and Jewish writings also have references to fishing. Ever since then there have been more of inventions in fishing, rather than just doing it one way. For example the Macedonians made their own flies and caught trout with them. The Macedonians also did lots with different things with rods as well (Sherman 8). In the 1660s a man by the name of Charles Kirby made a hook that had an offset point, this hook is still used worldwide (Sherman 13). Another man named William Shakespeare invented a mechanism that distributed the line evenly on the reel in 1896 (Sherman 20). Ben Sherman states, "In 1880 the the firm of malloch, in Scotland, introduced the first turntable influenced the reel invented by the English textile magnate Holden Illingworth" (Sherman 21). So as you can see there have been many people throughout history that have changed the sport of fishing.

Equipment Throughout History

Fishing is done with a stick like object, some type of string, bait, and something sharp. With that said, you can only imagine how many different things people have tried. "The history of angling is in large part of the history of tackle, as the equipment of fishing is called" (Sherman 5). The biggest part of the equipment is probably the fishing pole. The first setup was a bamboo pole, silk line, and a needle for a hook (Sherman 2). Hooks were the first thing to get improved though. Dr. Ben Sherman says, "One of mans earliest tools was the predecessor of the fishhook, a gorge: a piece of wood, bone, or stone an inch or so in length, pointed at both ends and secured off center to the line." When metals started to come around they got much better and stronger (Sherman 6). Moving on to the rod of the fishing poles now. Rods started out very small only a few feet in length, and got bigger in the 1660s to improve strength. At this time is also when a loop was developed at the tip of the rod which let a running line so it could be longer (Sherman 7,10). Now with the longer line it got hard to handle which led to the invention of the reel. "The first rudimentary reel had consisted of a wooden spool with a metal ring that fit over the anglers thumb" (Sherman 14). Line was improved to silk covered in linseed oil as well. Lures were made of wood and hand painted (Sherman 19). After that things started to get much more modern.

Modern Equipment

The equipment of fishing has come a long way since the bamboo pole and silk line. Fishing enthusiast Karl Hackbarth says, "Rods are made out of fiber glass and some are even made out of carbon fiber." They are about 5 to 7 feet in length and are very strong. Lures are now very realistic, and are able to imitate things really well (Hackbarth). They are made from plastic and have very fine detail. Line is made of high quality mono-filament and can be very strong or weaker to challenge the fisherman (Hackbarth). Reels are made of high quality metals nowadays, and have precision ball bearings instead of a guide (Hackbarth). These are all the ways how fishing equipment has gotten very fancy and have higher quality (Hackbarth).

Methods of Fishing

There are many different methods and types of fishing. There is fly fishing, ice fishing, bait casting, trolling, and big game fishing. "Fly fishing originally involved the use of live flies, and its art was to lay the fly as lightly and obtrusively near a fish as possible, usually a trout," says Dr Ben Sherman. There is a very heavy line that is used to cast the very light fly. It is usually done in rivers (Sherman 29). Ice fishing is done through holes cut in the ice on rivers and lakes in the winter time. A very small rod is used for this, usually only 2-3 feet long (Sherman 28). Bait casting or spin casting is the most common type of fishing. It is when you cast out an artificial or sometimes live bait and reel it back in trying to get a fish to bite it. Many people will try to reel it in different ways to trigger a fish to bite it. Another kind of fishing is trolling,or bait trolling. Dr. Ben Sherman says "bait trolling involves the use of live bait or artificial lures that are drawn through the water behind a slow moving boat." This type of fishing is usually done on big bodies of water and it catches big fish as well. The last type of freshwater fishing is big game fishing. Big game fishing is very challenging, because the fish caught are tuna, marlin, swordfish and even shark. It is done in the deep sea and requires very heavy duty equipment (Sherman 32).
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There are lots of different types of fish in freshwater fishing. There are game fish and rough fish. There are many other fish also but these are just the most common ones. In the category of game fish there are northern pike, bass, walleye, trout, muskie, and catfish. For rough fish there are ones like bluegill, suckers, sunfish, carp, and bullhead. The record for northern pike in Wisconsin is 38 Lbs. For largemouth bass it is 11 Lbs 3 oz. Walleye 18 Lbs, lake trout 47 Lbs, muskie 69 Lbs 11oz, and catfish is 74 Lbs (Landbigfish).


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Sunset Fishing. N.d. Photograph. Web. <>.
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Northern Pike. N.d. Photograph. Web. <>.

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River Monsters. N.d. Photograph. Web. <,,20494173,00.html>.

Hackbarth, Karl P. "Freshwater Fishing." Personal interview. Wednesday Oct. 2012.

"LandBigFish." LandBigFish - Fishing Tackle Martketplace. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2012. <>.