The History of Sportfishing

The History of Sportfishing

Chapter 5

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CHAPTER 5
PUSHING THE LIMITS
Across the globe, anglers share in a passion fueled by the spirit of the sport. It embodies the very essence of sportfishing and forms a bond that transcends time and distance. Throughout the ages, wherever the challenge, and whatever the species, extraordinary moments occur when fishing that few other sports offer. The exhilaration experienced during the presentation of a bait, leading to the bite, are unique to each angler, and when they happen, everything else becomes secondary.
CHAPTER 6
THE ART OF THE FLY
Use the words “fishing” and “art” in the same sentence, and one might picture a pristine stream with a wading angler gracefully swinging a fly rod in the morning mist.
Fly fishing is one of the oldest recorded forms of fishing. It came to the colonies from Great Britain in the 1700s, but the practice today would be almost unrecognizable to those early pioneers. Today’s freshwater fly angler has the best of both worlds…centuries old traditions and all of the advantages of modern rod, reel and line technology. Often called the purist form of the sport, it is also one of the fastest growing of all fishing disciplines.
CHAPTER 7
THE ARTISANS OF THE FLY
Fly fishing began as a sport of kings and aristocrats. Costly equipment and the rarity of leisure time prior to the industrial revolution kept it that way for centuries, until a determined group of men and women brought fly fishing into the mainstream of European and American culture. In sportfishing, few things are more beautiful and productive than a well-designed fly. The individuals who create them, and those who teach others how to use them, are an essential part of the history of fly fishing. If the discipline of fly fishing can be described as an art form, then these pioneering individuals are truly, The Artisans of the Fly.
CHAPTER 8
SALTWATER FLY FISHING
The earliest recorded evidence of anglers attempting to fly fish in salt waters dates back to the mid-1600s, but fishermen soon found that rudimentary fly tackle could not stand up to the harsh conditions and strength of big gamefish. Little more was heard about it until the early 1950s, when a small group of innovative men and women in South Florida started a trend that that is now practiced in salt waters around the globe.
CHAPTER 9
BASS, THE GAMEST FISH THAT SWIMS
Bass are one of the most prolific game fish in the U.S. waters and are also found throughout Europe, Asia, South & Central America and Africa. Always a popular food source, they were not considered a highly sought-after sport fish until the mid-20th century, when advances in modern spinning and baitcasting reels, monofilament line, and artificial lures would bring bass fishing to legions of new fans. A 2018 American Sportfishing Association survey found over 50% of regular freshwater anglers prefer to fish for bass, and in 2020, bass fishing contributed more than $115 billion dollars to the U.S. economy.
CHAPTER 10
THE COMPETITIVE EDGE
Some of the earliest recorded fishing competitions took place in late 1800s with anglers from local clubs competing to win buttons for capturing fish of record sizes. With the founding of The International Game Fish Association in 1939, that competitive spirit rapidly spread as anglers sought to have their names entered in the books as official world record holders. Initially, they earned modest trophies or merchandise prizes for their efforts. Today, competitive prize money can be in the millions for a single tournament. With an estimated 40,000-plus tournaments annually, there is plenty of healthy competition to go around.
CHAPTER 11
CONSERVATION AND CHILDREN, THE FUTURE OF SPORTFISHING
Today, sportfishing is enjoyed by millions of individuals around the globe. With this popularity, comes great responsibility. Fisheries are seeing unprecedented pressure worldwide, the majority of which can be directly attributed to massive commercial operations and environmental challenges. Recreational fishermen, local guides and industry leaders were some of the first to recognize these issues, and they remain at the forefront of those seeking solutions. The key to successful management of aquatic ecosystems must center on science and education, especially of youth. It is only by teaching children to be stewards of the history, resources, and the valuable life-lessons found at the end of a fishing line, that we can ensure the future of the sport, and of the planet itself.