The use of the hook in angling is descended historically, from what would today be called a "gorge," a word that comes from an archaic word meaning "throat." The gorge used by ancient peoples was a long, thin piece of bone attached by its midpoint to a thin line.
The recreational or sport fishing, is a popular activity in many parts of the world. Although some fish are sought for their value as food, others are pursued for their fighting abilities or for the difficulty of pursuit. Angling continues to be a favorite pastime in the US, in 2001, 16% of the population 16 years old and older (34 million) spent an average of 16 days fishing. Freshwater fishing was the most popular type of angling with over 28 million people devoting nearly 467 million days to the sport.
In North America, the most popular fresh water sport species include bass, trout, pike, crappie, muskellunge, yellow perch, walleye, salmon, catfish, bluegill and sunfish. In Europe, a large number of anglers fish for species such as carp, rudd, pike, roach and barbel. The salt water fish that are caught for sport are swordfish, tuna, salmon halibut and marlin. Although some fish are sought for their value as food, others are pursued for their fighting abilities or for the difficulty of pursuit.
Laws and regulations concerning angling vary greatly within countries. These commonly include permits, closed seasons, restrictions on gear types, and specific quotas. At the present an angler in the United Kingdom for example is legally required to hold a permit and to fish with two rods for non-migratory fish. In general, anglers are strongly advised to check and become fully aware of all laws and regulations in a local area before going to a fishing trip.
Conscious efforts to maintain a healthy ecosystem are always a factor on responsible bait use and fishing techniques, like avoiding emptying bait buckets into fishing venues at the end of the day, considering the environment when collecting bait. Catch and release fishing is increasingly practiced, especially by fly anglers and it does avoid unintended depletion of the fish population.