Who Invented the Fishing Pole? (Invention Timeline Explained)

Since the beginning of time, fishing has been an essential source of food and livelihood for humans worldwide. Fishing has evolved alongside human civilizations. Even some of the famous biblical characters like Andrew, Peter, James, and John were fishermen. Nowadays, people use fishing as a recreational activity. A way to escape reality or a way to clear their minds. Some fishing enthusiasts claim they create a more profound understanding of life when they fish. And psychology proves that fishing has several benefits for the human mind.

Fishing will not be complete without a fishing pole. And have you ever wondered how fishing poles were invented? When did people realize that they needed a fishing rod? How did they come up with the brilliant design? This article will walk you through the development of fishing poles.

Who invented the fishing pole?

The first fishing pole dates back to 2000 BC. Ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Romans, and other early human civilizations used the simplest version of a fishing pole.

The fishing pole’s key contributors (and evolution)

  • Early Humans
    Ancient Fishing

    Fishing, alongside farming and hunting, is one of the earliest signs of humans settling and building a community. They used their bare hands to catch fish but later realized that this technique was only good for shallow waters. So, they used a long stick and a string attached at the end to catch fish more effectively. This is the birth of the first fishing pole.

  • Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans
    Different Versions

    In 2000 BC, these people improved the ancient way of fishing. They built different versions of fishing rods using and utilizing the natural materials in their environment.

  • Chinese
    The Bamboo Fishing 

    The Chinese realized that an ordinary fishing pole breaks after catching big fish. So, they searched for a way to make their fishing poles more flexible. After many trials, they found that using thin bamboo sticks is effective. As a result, they were known for making thin, long (about 6 feet), and flexible bamboo fishing poles.

  • John Torrance 
    Fishing Pole Inventor

    In the early 1930s, an entrepreneur named John Torrance designed the first modern fishing pole. He was looking for the perfect activity to tie up with his steamboat business. And what better way to boost a steamboat business than modern fishing, right?

  • Robert Gayle and Mr. Mcguire 
    Fiberglass pole

    In the 1940s, Robert Gayle and Mr. Mcguire designed a fishing pole using fiberglass. After World War II, most people used fiberglass instead of bamboo to make fishing poles because it was easier to create and much cheaper.

  • Charles Kirby
    Kirby Bend 

    The fishing rod was almost perfect by the 1600s. However, there was little development in the hook design. So, in 1650, Charles Kirby designed a hook called “Kirby Bend,” which has a much better curve than previous fishing hooks. Manufacturers still use Kirby’s design to the present.

When was the fishing pole invented?

The first record of humans using poles to catch fish dates back to 2,000 BC.

A brief history of fishing pole: 

Fishing, alongside hunting and farming, has been practiced by humans since ancient times. This skill is one of the earliest signs of humans building a community and settling in one place. Early humans used their bare hands to catch fish in rivers and streams. However, they soon realized that this technique required a lot of work and energy and was only effective in shallow waters. So, they started to work smarter. First, they tried using a hook attached to a line or string. The first hook was made of a chunk of wood or a little piece of bone, and some people used shells or stones. However, they found several flaws in this setup – first, they had no control over where the bait would fall, and the fishermen would cut their hands while trying to pull the string once the fish was caught in the hook.

Early humans eventually tried to attach the string to a stick for more steady control. Finally, they devised a piece of equipment that could reach deeper waters and require less energy and effort to use, thus, the birth of the fishing pole.

From there, the development of the fishing pole became diverse. For example, the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans have different versions of a fishing poles. In addition, different groups of people used different indigenous materials to make their fishing poles. For example, some used twigs and branches of trees, while others used bones. But the Chinese realized that an ordinary fishing pole broke after catching a big fish. So, after trying different materials to make their rods more flexible, they settled on thin bamboo sticks. Today, many people still use bamboo sticks as fishing poles because of their flexibility.

In the early 1930s, John Torrance designed the first modern fishing pole. Acting like a true entrepreneur, Torrance introduced recreational fishing alongside his steamboat business. As a result, his steamboat business boomed, and recreational fishing became a trend amongst the rich.

In the 1940s, Mr. Mcguire and Robert Gayle looked for a cheaper and more fashionable alternative to bamboo fishing poles. They came up with the fiberglass design and launched it in the market. After the Second World War, most manufacturers were already using fiberglass to make fishing poles since they were cheaper, lasted longer, and were easier to design.

The fishing pole was almost perfect by the 1600s. However, there was little to no development in the fishing hook design. Finally, Charles Kirby designed a hook called “Kirby Bend” in 1650. His design has a much better curve than previous fishing hooks, making fishing more efficient.

There have been minimal changes in the design and structure of fishing poles.

The fishing pole timeline

  1. 2000 BC
    Out of Necessity

    Ancient people used to catch fish using their bare hands. Then, they tried to use strings and hooks but found them hard to control. So, they attached the line to the end of a stick, giving birth to the first fishing pole.

  2. 13th Century
    More Flexible

    The Chinese developed more flexible fishing poles from bamboo.

  3. The 1930s
    Recreational Fishing

    John Torrance designed the first modern fishing pole to promote recreational fishing alongside his steamboat business.

  4. The 1940s
    New Design

    After bamboo, fiberglass became the next big thing in making fishing poles. Robert Gayle and Mr. Mcguire created the design.

  5. 1650
    Now, the Hook.

    After several upgrades in the fishing rod, Charles Kirby made an upgrade in the fishing hook design in 1650. He called his invention the “Kirby Bend,” which has a better curve than the previous hooks.

Where was the first fishing pole invented?

There are no accurate records of where the fishing pole was first used. But, the earliest records were found in ancient Egypt and ancient Greece.

Importance of the fishing pole

  • Perfect Partner

    People who love to fish often have a preferred or favorite fishing pole. They feel lucky and confident while using it. Much like we have a lucky shirt or a favorite pen.

  • Don’t worry, It’s Safe

    There are several ways to fish. However, some are illegal, like using extremely small nets and explosives. Fishing with a pole is the safest and most therapeutic way.

  • Fish and Grind

    Fishing is also a form of exercise. Using a fishing rod can help your body engage in physical activity.

  • Patience is a Virtue

    Using a fishing pole while fishing can help increase your patience. You can also use the time to reflect on life.

The fishing pole by the numbers

  • 4,600 We live by our choices and expenses. If you want an expensive fishing pole, check the Oyster Bamboo Fishing Rod; the minimum price of this rod is $4,600. 
  • 10-20A fishing pole’s weight will always depend on the materials and length. The average weight of a fishing rod is 10-20 lbs.
  • You should choose your fishing pole ideally. Length is just one thing to consider, the average length of a fishing pole is at least 6 ft. However, you can also use 7 ft. Long fishing pole if you are comfortable enough to utilize it. 
  • 13,000The luxury brand, Hermes, launched its very own fishing pole. And it costs a whipping $13,000.

Five facts about the fishing pole

  • Trust the Process

    Whenever using a fishing pole, do the step-by-step process of catching fish. It would be best if you were very meticulous and patient in each step to have a good catch. 

  • Good for Bonding

    If you are looking for a new adventure, try fishing. It is a good hobby that creates a special bond with friends and family. 

  • Choose your Lure

    To catch fish effectively, you should choose your lure carefully. You can use a live worm, insect, or an artificial to serve as bait or to lure the fish. 

  • DIY Fishing Pole

    If you wish to make your fishing pole, try searching for the materials that can be used to assemble your fishing pole. For example, you can use a stick made of wood or plastic but ensure it is stable, nylon thread, and a hook.

  • It is Recreational

    Fishing can be a recreational activity that can be a hobby, leisure, sport, and exercise.

FAQ about fishing pole   

  • What is a fishing pole called?

    The fishing pole is very known as the fishing rod. The purpose of this rod is to be used by anglers to catch fish. 

  • Is there a difference between a fishing rod and a fishing pole?

    Fishing rods and fishing poles are, in fact, the same. In North America, when they say fishing poles, they also refer to a fishing rod. 

  • What are the different types of fishing poles?

    There are three main kinds of fishing poles. We have the spinning pole or spinning rod, fly rod or fly pole, and trolling rod or trolling pole. 

  • Why do people use fishing poles?

    Fishing poles generally make fishing easier. They provide more control and make pulling the fish out of the water easier.

  • How do I use a beginner fishing pole?

    The first thing to consider is the weight of the fishing pole. You must be comfortable with the weight of the chosen rod. Design is just a secondary thing to consider. 

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