Renaissance paintings, translation problems, and most of all, insufficient knowledge of fishing techniques before our modern age—all these have led to considerable confusion as to how fishermen were once clothed (or unclothed!).
Depictions of early fishermen in Egypt, Rome, and elsewhere in the Hellenistic world, show them in their boats entirely nude, or else working on the shore wearing only brief loincloths.
An intriguing and famous example is the vignette we read about in the Gospel of John (John 21:7). Simon Peter, after hearing from his fellow fishermen in the boat that Jesus was standing on the beach, “girded himself, for he was naked, and threw himself into the sea” (literal translation). Different versions of the New Testament vary widely in their translation of the phrase that suggests nudity: King James Version—“he was naked”; Revised Standard Version, New American Standard Bible and New English Bible—“he was (NEB: ‘had’) stripped”; Living Bible—“he was stripped to the waist”; New International Version—“he had taken it [his outer garment] off”; Jerusalem Bible—“[he] had practically nothing on.”