Water Sports

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Latest Stats Show Fishing Reeling in More Participants Than Ever

20 Sep, 2017

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

Step aside, sport climbing and soccer. What is bringing in kids and adults is a sport that has been around for, well, millennia: fishing.

According to an article in SGBOnline, the key finding in the 2017 Special Report on Fishing from the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation is this staggering statistic: fishing has 1.5 million more participants than in 2015.

Those are some great numbers, but here are a few more:

Second: Fishing is the second-most-popular outdoor activity for adults in the nation

47 Million-Plus: The number of Americans fishing

855 Billion: The number of total fishing trips Americans took in 2016

18.8: The number of fishing trips per participant (Other sports might define a frequent participant as someone who plays 4 or more times per year, so take all the time you need to digest the 18.8 figure)

2.5 million: The number of participants who tried fishing for the first time

5.3: The percentage of total population that were new participants – and they tended to be young and female

3.8 million: The number of Hispanic individuals who participated in fishing

11 percent: The increase in this figure over the previous year

Six-plus: Hispanic anglers went on six more outings per year than the general market average

100 trillion: The aggregate household income in the Hispanic population (while other numbers come from the RBFF report, this statistic alone is from MediaPost)

11 million: How many youth participated in fishing last year

3 Percent: The increase in youth over the previous year

83 percent: The amount of fishing trips that included a catch (since not every sport can include a nearly guaranteed win among first-time participants, it’s easy to see why fishing is growing)

More than one in seven: The number of Americans participating in fishing

Economics: Fishing appears to transcend household incomes, with a surprisingly equal distribution of those engaging in fishing in general , whether they report making $100,000-plus per year, or $25,000 or under. (Those numbers do change when the report concentrated on saltwater fishing; this is considered a result of the limited number of lower-income individuals who would have access to a boat for regular participation in deep-sea fishing.)

Why people say they fish:

  • 60 percent: for exercise

  • 58 percent: to be with friends and family

  • 47 percent: to enjoy nature

  • 40 percent: to escape the demands and stresses of their life and work

  • 38 percent: for excitement and adventure

It’s not just the U.S., however, where fishing is on the grow. In late 2016, SDM reported on early efforts to make fishing an Olympic sport. And as far back as 2014, the National Federation of State High School Associations remarked on the growth of bass fishing among teens. In fact, in March of 2017, B.A.S.S. announced that the Costa Bassmaster High School Series has grown dramatically, currently involving more than 5,500 student athletes representing 600 schools in 45 states. The program is one of the fastest-growing initiatives within B.A.S.S.

Want to see the full report? You can go to the RBFF Resource Center and download it free. Something interesting: infographics that show crossover to other sports from fishing. Not surprising anyone, individual outdoor pursuits for youth and adults in such activities as camping, bicycling, hiking, running and target shooting, outpace those of indoor sports and team sports.

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