Monday, July 28, 2008

History of Fishing Rods

In the last few decades fishing rods have undergone a transformation from the heavy beasts they once were to light finesse rods we now take for granted. While heavy rods still have their place most anglers are switching to light graphite models.

The earliest fishing rods can be dated back to ancient Egypt, China, Greece, Rome and medieval England (they were called angles which is where we get the word angling and angler). The first accepted pictures of angling with a rod date back to 2000 BC from Egypt. These early fishing rods were made of wood, bone or stone. The simplest rods were made out of a tree branch.

By about 800 BC fishing with a rod, line and hook was a common practice and is well recorded. The rods were made of different types of wood that was tied or bound together. The line was made from horsehair or finely woven flax. There is even evidence that a form of lead sinker was used at around this time. This is also around the time that fly fishing was developed after anglers learned that certain fish would eat flies off the surface of the water.

Throughout the years fishing rods changed very little until the 17th century when a wire loop was added to the tip allowing the line to be let out and back in very easily. By the end of the 18th century rods with guides along the length of the rod were common and this lead to the invention of the fishing reel.

In the 20th century rods underwent their most important transformation when the commonly used bamboo was replaced by fiberglass and, the lighter, carbon fiber.