Angling is a method of fishing by means of an "angle" (fish hook). The hook is usually attached to a fishing line and the line is often attached to a fishing rod. Fishing rods are usually fitted with a fishing reel that functions as a mechanism for storing, retrieving and paying out the line. The hook itself can be dressed with lures or bait. A bite indicator such as a float is sometimes used.
Angling is a principal method of sport fishing, but commercial fisheries also use angling methods such as longlining or trolling. Catch and release fishing is increasingly practiced by recreational fishermen. In many parts of the world, size limits apply to certain species, meaning fish below and/or above a certain size must, by law, be released.
The use of the hook in angling is descended, historically, from what would today be called a "gorge." The word "gorge", in this context, comes from the French word meaning "throat." Gorges were used by ancient peoples to capture fish. A gorge was a long, thin piece of bone or stone attached by its midpoint to a thin line. The gorge would be fixed with a bait so that it would rest parallel to the lay of the line. When a fish would swallow the bait, a tug on the line would cause the gorge to orient itself at right angles to the line, thereby sticking in the fish's gullet.
Fishing seasons are set by countries or localities to indicate what kinds of fish may be caught during sport fishing (also known as angling) for a certain period of time. Fishing seasons are enforced to maintain ecological balance and to protect species of fish during their spawning period during which they are easier to catch.
Recreational Boat Fishing
Recreational fishermen usually fish either from a boat or from a shoreline or river bank. When fishing from a boat, or fishing vessel, pretty much any fishing technique can be used, from nets to fish traps, but some form of angling is by far the most common. Compared to fishing from the land, fishing from a boat allows more access to different fishing grounds and different species of fish.
Which of the various techniques an angler may choose is dictated mainly by the target species and by its habitat. Angling can be separated into two main categories: using either artificial or natural baits.Artificial Baits
Many people prefer to fish solely with lures, which are artificial baits designed to entice fish to strike. The artificial bait angler uses a man-made lure that may or may not represent prey. The lure may require a specialised presentation to impart an enticing action as, for example, in fly fishing. A common way to fish a soft plastic worm is the Texas Rig.Natural Baits
The natural bait angler, with few exceptions, will use a common prey species of the fish as an attractant. The natural bait used may be alive or dead. Common natural baits include worms, leeches, minnows, frogs, salamanders, and insects. Natural baits are effective due to the real texture, odour and colour of the bait presented. The common earthworm is a universal bait for fresh water angling. Grubs and maggots are also excellent bait when trout fishing. Grasshoppers, bees and even ants are also used as bait for trout in their season, although many anglers believe that trout or salmon roe is superior to any other bait. In lakes in southern climates such as Florida, USA, fish such as bream will take bread bait. Bread bait is a small amount of bread, often moistened by saliva, balled up to a small size that is bite size to small fish. Roe is an excellent bait for trout, salmon and many other fresh water fish.