Fishing is an ancient practice that dates back, at least to the Upper Paleolithic period, which began about 40,000 years ago. Isotopic analysis of the skeletal remains of Tianyuan man, a 40,000-year-old modern human from eastern Asia, has shown that he was, regularly, consuming freshwater fish. Archaeological features such as shell middens, discarded fish bones and cave paintings, showed that sea food, was important for survival and consumed in significant quantities. During this period, most people lived a hunter-gatherer lifestyle and were, of necessity. However, where there are early examples of permanent settlements such as those at Lepenski Vir, they are almost always associated with fishing as a major source of food.
After several investigations and researches done, proved that fishing methods routed from the ancient Egyptians civilization. Egypt can be defined as the bedrock of fishing, because the Egyptian civilization at the time has been one of the first to introduce this practice in the world. Fish were very abundant in Egypt, as Egypt is located on both the Mediterranean and Red Seas, along with the river Nile. Fishing was typically practiced on the river Nile, either by nets from a boat, using dragnets from shore or using bow nets in narrow banks of the river. On the other hand, fishing was also practiced as a sport for pleasure. Spear fishing and angle fishing were two types of fishing as a sport that required a lot of patience and skill.
Fishing, also called angling, the sport of catching fish, freshwater or saltwater, typically with rod, line, and hook. Like hunting, fishing originated as a means of providing food for survival. Fishing as a sport, however, is of considerable antiquity. An Egyptian angling scene from about 2000 BCE shows figures fishing with rod and line and with nets. A Chinese account from about the 4th century BCE refers to fishing with a silk line, a hook made from a needle, and a bamboo rod, with cooked rice as bait. References to fishing are also found in ancient Greek, Assyrian, Roman, and Jewish writings. There were 2 common methods of fishing: Angling and Spearing.
The history of angling is in large part the history of tackle, as the equipment for fishing is called. One of humankind’s earliest tools was the predecessor of the fishhook: a gorge—that is, a piece of wood, bone, or stone 1 inch (2.5 cm) or so in length, pointed at both ends and secured off-center to the line. The gorge was covered with some kind of bait. When a fish swallowed the gorge, a pull on the line wedged it across the gullet of the fish, which could then be pulled in. Similar to modern fishing, angle fishing was a very common fishing technique, which requires a hook, however, no fishing rods were used at the time, instead, thick hand lines. Angling was mostly practiced among commoners and not upper class Egyptians. it was an important means of obtaining food. The picture evidence available does not show upper-class people practicing angling. However, usually the pictures display commoners using angling to fish from a boat, with their masters watching. Evidence of the first fishing rod appears in the Middle Kingdom period, in the tomb of Beni Hassan.
With the advent of the use of copper and bronze, a hook was one of the first tools made from metal. This was attached to a hand-operated line made of animal or vegetable material of sufficient strength to hold and land a fish. The practice of attaching the other end of the line to a rod, at first probably a stick or tree branch, made it possible to fish from the bank or shore and even to reach over vegetation bordering the water.
For over a thousand years, the fishing rod remained short, not more than a few feet (a meter or so) in length. The earliest references to a longer, jointed rod are from Roman times, about the 4th century CE. As with the earliest rods made from streamside branches, the first longer rods were made of wood, which would continue as the dominant rod material well into the 19th century.
Spear fishing with barbed poles (harpoons) was widespread in Paleolithic times. It was a demanding and challenging method of fishing, that requires certain attributes in the hunter, as patience to decoy the fish and a certain amount of accuracy to end up with a well-aimed throw. Spear fishing, in ancient Egypt, had greater value as a sport than angling did. Originally, in pre-historic and early times, spear fishing only served to provide food, and then it evolved into a recreation for the upper class. According to archaeological evidence, spears used in sports could be divided into three types; spears with a single head, two headed spears and harpoons.
Over-fishing (via net-fishing) and illegal fishing methods, continues to destroy the Red Sea's ecosystems, endangering coral reefs and all the marine life. Among the most recent efforts to combat over-fishing in Egypt's Red Sea, is the Hurghada Declaration. It was suggested, done and signed, in June 2009 , by the Hurghada Environmental Protection and Conservation Association (HEPCA), in cooperation with the Red Sea Governorate, the South Sinai Governorate, and the Suez Governorate, along with the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment. This declaration of principles, aims to ban all net-fishing and trawling in the Red Sea, with the exception of the area north of the Gulf of Suez.