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act of catching fish for consumption or display. Fishing—usually by hand, club, spear, net, and (at least as early as 23,000 years ago) by hook—was known to prehistoric people. It was practiced by the ancient Persians, Egyptians, and Chinese, and it is mentioned in the Odyssey and in the Bible. It is a major means of subsistence and livelihood today, not only in societies such as those in the South Pacific but also in most nations of the world (see fisheriesfisheries.
From earliest times and in practically all countries, fisheries have been of industrial and commercial importance. In the large N Atlantic fishing grounds off Newfoundland and Labrador, for example, European and North American fishing fleets have long taken cod,
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Sport Fishing

The development of fishing as a sport or pastime is comparatively recent, although books on the art and philosophy of angling have been published since the early 16th cent.; the most famous work is Izaak Walton's The Compleat Angler (1653). The basic equipment of modern sport fishing consists of a barbed metal hook at the end of a nylon or Dacron line, and a wood, fiberglass, or metal rod, or pole, that usually has some type of spool, or reel, near the handle around which the line is wound. Recreational fishing, which is practiced throughout the world, may be done in either fresh- or saltwater. The most popular game fish are salmon, trout, bass, and pike in freshwater, and sailfish, tuna, marlin, tarpon, and bonefish in saltwater. In the United States each state issues fishing licenses and sets regulations as to the season in which a certain species of fish may be caught, the minimum permissible size, and the number that may be taken per day. There are two basic types of freshwater tackle, those for fly casting and those for bait casting.

Fly Casting

Fly rods and reels are light and require that a hooked fish be "played" rather than reeled in by force; they are used to catch fish that inhabit running streams, such as trout and salmon. Live bait (worms, insects, minnows, or frogs) or artificial flies and lures are cast into or on the stream as an enticement for the fish to bite.

Bait Casting

A sturdier rod and reel are used for bait casting, which is done mainly in lakes and large rivers. Live bait or a variety of plugs, spoons, and other artificial lures can be cast and pulled in, "popped" along the surface, trolled from a moving boat, or allowed to rest near the bottom. Spinning tackle, which greatly simplifies bait casting by allowing the line to unwind more evenly, has become very popular.

Other Methods

Heavier rods and reels of the bait-casting type are used in saltwater fishing; trolling and casting from the surf are the usual methods. In big-game fishing, sport fishers troll the open ocean for large fish such as tuna, swordfish, and shark. The familiar bamboo pole, without reel, continues to be used for still fishing. Fishing with handlines through holes in the ice and spearfishing underwater are also popular. High-tech devices such as underwater cameras have been introduced, but are regarded by many as unsporting.

Competitive Fishing

There are many annual tournaments both for catching fish and for accuracy and distance in casting; records are kept for the largest catch in each species. The International Game Fish Association (founded 1939) standardizes rules for saltwater fishing throughout the world. The largest ratified catch of any type is a 2,664-lb (1,208-kg) white shark caught off the Australian coast in 1959.


See W. Radcliffe, Fishing from Earliest Times (1921); A. J. McClane, McClane's New Standard Fishing Encyclopedia and International Angling Guide (1974); A. von Brandt, Fish Catching Methods of the World (1984).


In drilling, the operation by which lost or damaged tools are secured and brought to the surface from the bottom of a well or drill hole.
References in periodicals archive ?
Already a popular haven for sport fishermen, it is also being discovered by nature enthusiasts, scuba divers, surfers, honeymooners and soft-adventure seekers from all over the world.
The DSM400's hands-free operation provides sport fishermen with more flexibility as they head out on the water.
Raymarine allows sport fishermen in the SKA tournaments to fish more effectively through powerful multifunction displays featuring HD Digital fishfinding technology and SIRIUS Satellite Weather Services.
The council also recommended cutbacks for sport fishermen, halting the season at July's end instead of August and reducing the quota of coho salmon from 75,000 to 40,000.
In December, the sport fishermen submitted a petition to the ASMFC that would have enacted a ban on all modern menhaden fishing in the Bay.
Now a lot of research has come back to say we need to change our direction, to make the port more user-friendly to visitors, tourists, sport fishermen - people who like water sport uses like kayaking.
The episode takes an in-depth look at the deadly hurricane, which spawned a tornado that ripped a one-week-old baby from a father's arms, caught many unprepared including sport fishermen on a boat in Biscayne Bay, Florida, and resulted in unparalleled death and destruction.
The quota for Washington, Oregon and California sport fishermen is 1.
We remain committed to manufacturing and selling a product that is high-quality, worry-free and that sport fishermen will agree is the absolute best trolling battery on the market.
The lack of rain and the resulting brackish water in the bay have prompted the large hard-shelled ocean crab to move in, much to the delight of sport fishermen.
Now all sport fishermen and wannabe's can have a chance at "THE BIG ONE".
FISH COMMITTEE GETS MEMBER: Charles Lang of Salem has been appointed to a four-year term representing sport fishermen on the state Fish Restoration and Enhancement Board.