May 10, 2013

A Brief History of Forks and Reels

It's been well over a year since I moved to China and shuttered the windows at Lunkerhunt world headquarters. You're probably excited about finally reading something witty, but I'm sorry to say this is a history lesson. Something to remember until next week's trivia night at Marge's Cue 'n Brew.

Fishing here is still nothing to write home about, so I won't. This post is about fishing history, with a side of silverware.

Recently someone told me the Chinese people invented the fork. For reasons known only to Buddha, Confucius and Mao, they decided to use chopsticks instead. So I spent today's lunch hour doing some internet research to confirm the statement. Results are mixed, it was either the Chinese or the Egyptians, maybe both - but I digress.

While researching I stumbled upon this page about Chinese inventions, which is extremely interesting for a guy like me. Before China started copying things, they were hard at work inventing things. Legitimate world changing inventions. Stuff like printing, cast iron, steel, gun powder, paper and the compass. In the list something piqued my interest:

Image courtesy of Wikipedia, who no doubt stole it from someone else.

The above image is of Ma Yuan's Angler on a Wintry Lake, circa 1195 AD. The painting is significant because it is the earliest known depiction of a fishing reel. Chinese people invented the fishing reel. Interesting, no?

It reminds me of a picture I uploaded to Facebook last year. I don't remember the caption, I'm sure it was priceless...something like "Screw Tenkara, this is the new old way to break off a fish."

In comparing the two specimens, I find not much changed in 800 years.

"Short and stout wears 'em out"