Spearing mammoths, chasing down elk, impaling fish—that's how it all began. But with the invention of agriculture came civilizations. With civilizations came industrialization. With industrialization came supermarkets. With supermarkets came easy access to food. With easy access to food came something new, novel, extraordinary—leisure time.
But what does a body do now that he doesn't need to spend his whole day grappling with fleshy and ferocious creatures? Why, he invents a game that simulates grappling with fleshy and ferocious creatures. A game with lots of running. And throwing. A game of accuracy. A game of wits.
Behold the birth of modern sports.
Perhaps that's why so many modern athletes are drawn to hunting and fishing—it's an extension of what they already do and love and excel at.
Click on to see photos of 32 athletes and their trophies from the deep.
Here Tiger boasts a fly fishing trophy along with Mark O'Meara and two others. Reportedly O'Meara and Woods are old fishing pals.
Not passing any judgement here, just wondering about that hand on Tiger's inner thigh. See it? Yeah.
Just two of the NBA old-guard hanging out. In Alaska. With a Tom Cruise doppleganger. And a freaky big salmon.
On November 2, 2011, about 10 miles off Marco Island in the Gulf of Mexico, this 75.5-pound coiba saw a thrashing pinfish and figured he'd have himself a snack.
He wound up a bloody trophy on Bill Laimbeer's deck.
According to the blog for Boston sports talk radio station WEEI 93.7FM, the five-pound bass Papi is holding up ain't his catch.
The hero of this play is former Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew, who happened to be fishing in the pond behind Papi's house.
Former Miami Dolphin wide receiver McDuffie came up with this amazing catch as a part of the Miami Dolphin's Fishing Tournament charity event.
When four-time boxing world champion Danny Green (33-5-0) posted a photo of himself on Facebook in the aftermath of his world title win over Shane Cameron, he received 18,000 "likes" and 1700 comments.
By comparison a photo of himself with this tiger shark received more than 20,000 "likes" and close to 4000 comments before it was removed.
Is there a moral to this story? If so, let me know.
Ben Roethlisberger, seen here with pal Merril Hoge, claims they caught (and released) fifty plus bass on this little excursion.
The title of this Outdoor Life article says it all: "Rafael Nadal Says Tennis Gets in the Way of his Fishing."
Shortly before the Daytona 500 in February 2013, NASCAR driver Tony Stewart fished along the upper St. Johns River with the director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Bass Pro Shops founder, Johnny Morris.
Among the three dozen bass they caught was an 11-pound, 8-ounce behemoth.
Houston Rocket Jeremy Lin posted this picture to his Facebook page in September 2012.
And a deluge of FINsanity jokes inundated the cyber world.
The secret to Phelps' supernatural swimming:
He is actually Poseidon, god of the sea.
Former Aussie cricket captain Mark Taylor hooked this 16.5-pound Red Emperor on a 2011 fishing excursion around the Whitsunday Islands off the coast of Queensland, Australia.
According to Daily Mercury writer Bruce McKean, Taylor was "very excited" about the catch.
Taylor's ginormous grin seems to corroborate that allegation.
According to the caption to this photo, which was posted on Johnson's Facebook page, Johnson raises these bass. He considers himself a "proud papa."
OK small fish. But the real catch is the one in the yellow tank top.
When he's not hitting Mach 4 on a NASCAR track, Vickers may be found spearfishing in the Bahamas. Here he is with the catch of the day in the Exuma Islands of the Bahamas.
The members of an elite club—Alaskan-born "Bolts" (Tampa Bay Lightning players) both current and past—headed to the home state in the summer of 2012 for some hardcore rod and reeling.
The group included Nate Thompson, Matt Carle, and Tim Wallace.
Their destination? The village of Igiugig (population of 66) at the headwaters of the Kvichak River. The river is famous for "trophy-sized Rainbow Trout" and home to one of the world's largest runs of Sockeye Salmon."
According to Babe Ruth's daughter, the Bambino would go off on fruitless extended fishing trips. Instead of coming back empty-handed, on his way home he'd stop at a market and buy a batch of fish.
Perhaps Gehrig was a lucky charm.
Three jolly fisherman (a WWE Smackdown superstar and two Dolphins' Linemen) flash the peace symbol by way of fish tails.
This fishy scene was at the 2011 Fins Weekend charity fundraiser.
Australian professional golfer Robert Alleby and friend Jeremy Browne (younger brother of Senior PGA Tour player Olin Browne) wrangled this beauty out of the watery depths.
After snapping a few photos, they let the old gal live to tell the tale and even gave her an autograph to show all her old crony golf fan friends down at the reef.
San Francisco 49er's two-time Super Bowl-winning coach George Siefert is a fervent life-long fisherman. Reportedly he caught a mammoth of a sting ray (100-pounder) when he was just a kid.
Here he is in Costa Rica with a beast of a dorado. Along with him on the fishing excursion were former NFL and NBA players Gary Filizetti, Bill Gates, George Reilly, and John Travis.
Australian rugby union player Sharpe—who recently announced that he will become a coaching consultant for the Wallabies—loves fishing. Really loves it.
In an article for the Australian web site "The Punch" Sharpe wrote: "I’m still working out which direction I’ll take after rugby, but I do know you will always be able to find me somewhere along the Western Australian coast with a rod and reel."
Yes, the guy's last name is also the name of several species of fish. There, it's out there and we escaped any silly plays on words, right? Phew!
Trout caught this colossal denizen of the deep—reportedly a 550-pound grouper—while vacationing in Key West in January 2013 with his family and girlfriend.