Bass fishing – more than just a relaxing hobby?
By Bob Harte
Throughout the evolution of mankind, there are not many things that have remained still facing thousands of years, which have stubbornly refused to change and morph into something else. One of these few things is fishing, an aspect so familiar and common that it is often disregarded by such categorizations. What started off as a means of food providing has become over the centuries one of the world's favorite pastimes, attracting people of any age and from any corners of the planet.
Fishing is a very ancient practice that dates back at least to the Mesolithic period which began about 10,000 years ago. Archaeological features such as shell middens, discarded fish bones and cave paintings show that sea foods were important for survival and consumed in significant quantities. During this period, most people lived a hunter-gather lifestyle and were, of necessity, constantly on the move. However, where there are early examples of permanent settlements (though not necessarily permanently occupied), that are almost always associated with fishing as a major source of food. The Neolithic culture and technology spread worldwide between 4,000 and 8,000 years ago. With the new technologies of farming and pottery came basic forms of all the main fishing methods that are still used today.
In addition, fishing has always been a part of our evolving process, helping our ancestors survive through harsh times and feed their families, thus playing a crucial role in what we are today. Surprisingly or not, the industrial boom in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries has not managed to shake fishing from the place it occupies in our conscience. So what is it about this practice that makes us enjoy and feel drawn to it even in the twenty-first century, an era of absolute "laziness", where we can eat fish just by buying it from a local grocery shop?
Scientists believe that we feel the urge to relate to nature, to feel free in it, and that our instincts pull us into trying to communicate with nature once more. And what better way to do this than by going on a fishing trip? Another similar theory tries to demonstrate that man continuously searches to reassure himself that he is in control of nature, and that nature is merely a means, an ally into man's fight for survival. Clearly the two theories are bold and innovational but do make sense and explain many aspects of the matter, gaining more and more adepts worldwide.
The skeptics however, think that it's nothing more than an exaggeration and that fishing in the present day has nothing to do with its meaning in the past. They claim that it's only practiced for relaxation and that people have finally managed to find the entertaining aspect of fishing. To some extent, this theory could seem more "down to earth" but it also raises some questions. Why haven't we found modern means of relaxation? Why are we keen on keeping alive a practice of thousands of years? Can it only be our need to relax in a natural décor from time to time?
As it is the case with all of mankind's mysteries, the truth refuses to come out, come clean with us, and it is probably somewhere in between. What we know for sure is that we love fishing and that it has always played an important role in our becoming. Who cares about the reasons? Let that to the scientists' concern, grab your angling rod and enjoy fishing.
Summary: Fishing is a very old practice that has its roots deep within the human evolution process, helping our ancestors survive and evolve as an entity. Nowadays, fishing is seen, almost exclusively, as a relaxing or recreational habit, although there are many that believe we still do it instinctively, for food. We do not know for sure, but we do know we like to fish, and at the end that is all that matters.
About the Author
Bob Harte is a bass fishing enthusiast for as long as he can remember and his experiences, stories and tips, among other interesting stuff, can be read at www.amigomaker.com .
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