Fishing is something that millions of people love and can bond over their love of the world over. Be it to help sustain a population and provide food for a family or just to spend a lazy summer afternoon, we all love fishing. Some view fishing as a hobby or pastime while others see it as a true and noble sport. No matter which side you fall on, these facts are interesting to say the least and will help you learn about one of the most popular and inclusive sports that there is.
How Many People Enjoy Fishing?
Fishing is a sport that can be done virtually anywhere there is water and anywhere there are fish. This makes it a highly inclusive sport that is perfect for a wide range of people in an even wider range of places. It is estimated that more than 44 million people take to the water each year to enjoy some great fishing. This means that millions of people enjoy fishing each and every day not just in seasonal areas. Fishermen, as they are traditionally called, are more often today called anglers. These anglers are made up of about 25% women surprisingly enough. In 2011 alone anglers spent around $15 billion on fishing gear alone and an additional $21 billion traveling to the best fishing spots.
The hunting and fishing industry helps to support more jobs nationwide than there are people employed by big chain retailers like Wal-Mart. This means that fishing is not only fun, but that it helps serve a major purpose in our current economy. Fishing helps pay for a large amount of the conservation money that is collected each year through the sales of licenses and taxes on fishing equipment meaning that the sport helps to maintain the areas in which it is practiced.
Fishing is a sport that everyone has done at least once and that many people enjoy and spend a great deal of time taking part in each and every day. Fishing is a great way to unwind, spend time with loved ones, or to just relax and see what you can catch. For those that love fishing, it may be more than just a pastime. Certainly fishing is a sport that anyone can take part in and that anyone can enjoy. Fishing is a great and inclusive sport that just about everyone loves to do.
So What Makes Fishing a Sport?
Though fishing is very inclusive and is great for people of all ages, not everyone has what it takes to become a professional sport fisher. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Services, sport fishing is one of the most popular recreational activities in the country. In the year 2011 there were around 40 million licensed anglers in the country alone. While anyone can pick up a pole and catch a fish, not many can tackle the tricky waters, out of the way holes, and big goals that sports fishermen set for themselves.
In sport fishing anglers are given tasks to complete in a certain amount of time and with certain methods, much like other athletes are given obstacles and tasks to complete. Anglers competing in competitions may be instructed to catch a certain number of fish, fish of a certain size, or fish of a certain species in order to complete the competition. Many of these sports fishers have to use skill, talent, and different techniques that they have learned in order to successfully complete the competition. Fishing as a sport is nothing like fishing in your grandparent’s back yard to kill time.
In professional fishing competitions there can be prizes like money, boats, cars, and more to help entice the most talented anglers to drop their name in the hat of potential winners. With high stakes, it takes much more skill and patience to perform and to do so adequately and professionally than it would if you were just killing time. Sport fishing also requires years of practice and skill with anglers constantly working to up their own skill set and to do better than ever before.
What Makes Sport Fishing Different?
We have already discussed the stakes, the tournaments and the overall skill sets, but that is not all that sets professional and sport fishing apart from your normal run of the mill Sunday afternoon. A good place to start is to look at the equipment used by a professional sports fisherman compared to what you might use on your own.
Rods for one are going to cost far more than the rod and reel combo you got down at your local outdoor store. The rod of a professional sport fisherman needs to have enough strength to catch the largest fish but enough flexibility to bend without breaking when a fish is hooked. They need to have enough flexibility that they can hook those monster competition fish. The rod and reel that you use is probably not going to catch anything larger than a one or two pound fish so they are often made of cheaper, less flexible material. A competition rod alone, without a reel, can cost hundreds of dollars depending on the brand and on the specific area of fishing that it was made for.
The reel is another big difference. Most people going fishing for fun are going to go for a cheap combo that is sold together for $30 or so. Competition reels can cost thousands, yes you read that right. The reel is one of the most important parts of a competition set up and can cost as much as your first car cost. The difference is in how they are made. The inner workings of a reel are as detailed and intricate as the insides of a watch and you can certainly tell the quality with competition reels.
The last difference is the amount of time and effort spent on fishing. For those that just love to fish for fun, odds are you have a normal job, you do not spend hours upon hours fishing, and you do not spend thousands of dollars on your set up, and you likely have other hobbies that you devote as much time to as you do fishing. For those that sport fish, a great deal of time is needed to hone skills and to be able to properly catch fish that a normal angler would not attempt.
Professional anglers are going to spend more time, more effort, and are going to work hard to perfect skills and to learn new skills to help perfect their fishing skills. Sport fisherman are also going to spend more time and money devoted to fishing and to furthering their own fishing and their own skills and talents. Professional anglers spend hours upon hours each week working to perfect skills and to become the professional anglers that they want to be. Often, when you are a sport angler, you may not have a normal 9 to 5 job and instead spend a great deal of time fishing.
Fishing is a fantastic sport that anyone can master with time and patience. Fishing is fun, engrossing, and can help teach you skills that you might not have already or that you are already using and just need to apply. You can be a great fisherman too, you just have to take the time.