Fishing Keeps Reeling 'Em In

Fishing Keeps Reeling 'Em In

Fishing has consistently attracted new people to the sport over the last few years, according to a new report released by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) and The Outdoor Foundation.

The 2011 Special Report on Fishing and Boating revealed that in 2010, 3.36 million people participated in fishing for the first time ? an increase of two percent since 2008.

"We're delighted to see the number of newcomers is increasing year over year," said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. "The challenge lies in keeping people engaged in the sport. Eight million new or returning anglers participated last year, but more than 10 million dropped out. This is where we need ongoing programs that continue to engage them."

The third annual report provides detailed information on boating and fishing participation by gender, age, ethnicity, income, education and geographic region. It was expanded in 2011 to look at the fishing "churn" rate, potential for new fishing participants and the use of technology.

Some of the other key findings in regards to fishing include:

  • In 2010, 45.4 million Americans participated in fishing (down from 48 million in 2009). This resulted in 925 million outings in 2010, with an average 20.4 days fishing last year.
  • Fishing continues to be recognized as a top "gateway" activity, spurring involvement in other outdoor interests.
  • Adults 18 and older with children in their households participate in fishing at higher levels than adults without children.
  • Freshwater fishing participation dominates all other fishing categories. Almost 39 million Americans (13.7 percent of the population) participated in freshwater fishing in 2010.
  • Saltwater fishing enthusiasts traveled the longest distance to engage in the sport. Almost 20 percent traveled a day or more on their last in-season trip.
  • Fly fishing skews heavily male, with males making up 78.9 percent of all participants.

In addition to these statistics, the study showed that Hispanic and youth participation in fishing is up considerably from 2010. Clearly, fishing is an activity that will only continue to grow in popularity.

"While overall fishing participation is down from 2009, we're encouraged at the newcomer statistics and growth among potential new participants including Hispanics, youth and women," added Peterson. "This Special Report is full of valuable information to help stakeholders shape their future marketing and education programs."

The methodology and full study is available online at

Are you interested in getting into fishing, but don't know where to start? Swing by WFN's Fishing 101 page, and have all of your questions answered.

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