Fishing has been an important source of food and recreation for humans for thousands of years, and medieval people were no exception to this trend. However, modern fishing gear such as fishing lines, reels, hooks, and bait were not always available to the medieval fishermen. So, what did the medieval people use for fishing lines?
The answer is not straightforward, as the material used for fishing line in the medieval period varied depending on the region, time period, and availability of natural resources. Nonetheless, some common materials were used across medieval Europe and other parts of the world as fishing lines.
One of the most popular materials for medieval fishing lines was horsehair. Horsehair was an abundant and an affordable material that could be easily gathered from horses’ manes and tails. The hair was usually twisted or braided together to create a sturdy and durable line.
Another material that was commonly used for fishing lines was silk. Silk was a luxurious material that was expensive, but it was used because it was stronger and smoother than horsehair. The silk threads were either twisted or braided together to create a durable line.
In some coastal regions, fishermen used fishing lines made of seaweed or kelp. These materials were abundant and free and provided a flexible line that could easily withstand the rough sea conditions.
As technology evolved, medieval people started experimenting with other materials for fishing lines. For example, some people used cotton or wool threads for fishing lines in the late medieval period, while others used gut strings made from the intestines of animals like cows, sheep, or fish.
Medieval people used a variety of materials for fishing lines, depending on what was available in their local region. From horsehair to silk to seaweed, medieval fishing lines were crafted with the purpose of catching fish to provide food for people. While modern fishing gear has certainly made the sport easier and more efficient, it’s interesting to reflect on how our ancestors used their ingenuity to create tools for fishing that allowed them to thrive.