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Bass Fishing Throughout History

Jul 17, 2008
Bass fishing in the United States has a rather interesting history - instead of being influenced or derived from the European sport, US bass fishing has developed mainly on its own. In fact, Europeans - especially the British sea bass fishermen - have actually adapted many US freshwater fishing techniques to improve their own performance.

Bass fishing first for sport first became popular in the early 1800s. While many sport fishermen sought out trout and salmon, it was the sustenance fishermen - those fishing to eat or to sell their catches at market - who caught bass. They used poles and live bait, and it was these fishermen who "invented" the sport of bass fishing. In fact, most of the terms, concepts, and literature of today's bass fishermen have their roots in this historical form of bass fishing.

Artificial lures first became available in the mid 1800s as the sport of bass fishing evolved. While the first artificial lures developed were used for trout and salmon, fly patterns specifically aimed at bass were soon developed. These lures were heavier and built to be used with fixed-spool casting rods. These artificial lures were updated even more in the late 1800s as poppers and other types of floating lures were first developed.

Another major development in the sport of bass fishing was the expansion of the US railroad system to cover a larger portion of the country in the 19th century. This newfound mobility not only allowed humans to cross the US more quickly, but also led to new types of bass being shipped across the states. Fishermen discovered that bass were capable of surviving in barrels, making them the perfect fish to transport on trains. Largemouth bass were stocked in the many artificial lakes and ponds created by the dams that were built to provide water for the trains' steam engines, while smallmouth bass were released in rivers from states in New England all the way to California.

From 1890-1895, the US Department of Agriculture actually suggested farmers stock their ponds with largemouth bass as a means of sustenance and economic incentive. The department even assisted some farmers with constructing their farm ponds, bringing these bass to new areas around the country. Following World War II, fishing became even more popular, leading to the first large-scale bass fisheries. Even the introduction of fishing licenses and fees for them did not discourage bass fishers - especially in the south where the largemouth bass multiplied quickly in waters that were simply too warm for other game fish.

Another cause of an increased interest in bass fishing occurred in the east. Many rivers had been dammed up due to industrialization, which caused their waters to become polluted or warmer than usual, killing off a large number of trout. With waters too warm for most game fish, smallmouth bass were brought to the rivers as a replacement. While the pollution did cause a decrease in the smallmouth bass population over the years, improvements in water regulations have seen the smallmouth bass regain their popularity and their large numbers today.

The 20th century has witnessed the creation of specific bass fishing rods, reels, and other tools to assist fishermen in their quest to capture bass. These advances have continued to modern times, keeping fishing for bass of all types a popular sport for fishermen across the country.
About the Author
The author writes about bass fishing for http://BassFishingTechniques.net, a site providers readers with extensive bassfishing information.
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