Is Fishing a Sport? (or Just a Hobby)

Many people enjoy fishing as a pastime. However, fishing also requires skill as well as a reasonable amount of strength and stamina. So is fishing a sport or just a hobby?

Fishing is a sport, not just a hobby. Just like any other sport, fishing requires physical exertion and skill, and it is competitive. Also, like other sports, there are many fishing tournaments and competitions every year around the world.

Fishing can be a leisurely activity or a competitive sport. Going on a fishing trip for enjoyment is entirely different from catching fish to win a tournament. Both types of activities require a certain skill set. But sport fishing requires more than what is needed in leisure fishing.

is fishing a sport

Read on to learn more about why fishing is a sport and not just a casual hobby.

Is Fishing a Sport?

Fishing can be classified as a sport, not just a hobby. It requires physical exertion and skill, and it is competitive. Also, like many sports, there are many tournaments and competitions every year around the world.

Fishing, also called angling, is an activity that started simply as a means of finding food to survive. Fishing can trace its roots in antiquity.

You cannot fish successfully unless you have a certain skill set, the necessary tools, and, more importantly, strength and stamina.

Sport, in general, is an activity that involves skill and exertion of strength wherein a team or an individual fights against others for a prize or recognition.

There are fishing tournaments and competitions conducted regularly in many countries around the world. These competitions clearly classify fishing as a sport and not just a hobby. The sport of fishing, as it is now known, started in 1946.

Over time, the methods have gradually evolved up until the late 15th century. At that time, the document “A Treatyse of Fysshynge Wyth an Angle” initially provided the details in English on how to use a fishing rod.

Is fishing a sport or a hobby? Fishing can be both a hobby and a sport. As a sport, fishing cannot be confined to just a pleasurable outdoor activity.

If it requires skill, if it is physically demanding, and if it has regular fishing tournaments and competitions, you can rightfully consider this outdoor activity as a sport.

Sport Fishing Vs. Casual Fishing

While fishing is a sport, not too many fishermen are sportsmen. In other words, there are far more recreational anglers than professional sport fishermen.

In 2019, the government sold about 41.4 million fishing licenses, permits, stamps, and tags. According to statistics in the U.S., people only used a small portion for sport fishing.

What Does Fishing Require?

If you want to go fishing, you need to satisfy some general requirements. These requirements apply to both casual and sport fishing. What are these requirements?

  1. Basic fishing skills for leisure fishing and advanced fishing skills for sport fishing.
  2. Ability to choose the right time and place to fish.
  3. Ability to choose the right bait to use, how many baits to use, the best way to cast baits, where to cast them, how slow or fast to reel them in, and how long to wait to recast baits, and all the other fishing skills.

There are a lot of things you should learn and practice to do a decent leisure fishing activity, let alone sport fishing.

Fishing as a Leisure Activity

If you are going fishing for pleasure, you still need to follow the rules and observe the right safety procedures. But you are not in competition with anybody. You are just doing the activity for the sheer enjoyment of it.

You have to be prepared to do the work and wait for long hours to get your first catch. But the effort is not as stressful, not as strenuous, and not as time-limited as sport fishing. You are happy just to catch big bass or brown trout without exerting too much time and effort.

Fishing as a Sport Activity

Fishing is entirely not a pleasurable activity if it is engaged in sports mode. Those who engage in this kind of fishing are willing to spend more hours on the water and exert more effort to catch a 100-pound swordfish.

In sport fishing, you must catch a particular type of fish. Whoever catches the biggest, prettiest and best fish wins the trophy and gets the reward.

Additionally, competitors should catch their fish within a certain time period and not at their own leisure.

You need to have the endurance, stamina, and strength to do sport fishing and not just the right skill set. And you can attain this with constant training, practice, and discipline, just like any other sport.

Different Types of Fishing

If you’re interested in fishing as a sport or as a pastime, here are the different types of fishing you can choose from:

1. Fly Fishing

This type involves a lot of casting of your line and baits and requires moving your arms back and forth in a rhythm that is quite difficult to get down.

2. Ice Fishing

A more relaxed way of fishing where you drop the line and wait for a fish to bite. You can do this on a frozen lake where you need to dig a hole or several holes into dropping your lines and baits.

3. Bass Fishing

An angling activity that involves catching the game fish in North America is called the black bass. Several species of this fish are regarded as game fish in this part of the world.

They include the spotted or Kentucky bass, smallmouth bass, Guadalupe bass, and largemouth bass. They are the most prolific among their species.

Is bass fishing a sport? Bass fishing, like other types of fishing, can be classified as a sport. Bass is one of the most common types of fish that are caught during fishing tournaments. Bass fishing tournament is very competitive and is definitely a sport.

4. Trophy Fishing

An activity where anglers target the biggest member of a species to get the award and prestige. These fish are also among the most prolific of their kind.

5. Deep Sea Fishing

As the name suggests, this fishing activity requires deep waters such as that of the Atlantic Ocean. It requires a long trip from the Intercoastal Waterway and out to the part of the ocean far from the land where the depth is around 30 meters.

6. Recreational Fishing

This type of fishing is for personal or pleasurable use. It is unlawful to sell fish caught in recreational fishing. This is an entirely different activity from commercial fishing.

7. Commercial fishing

This type of fishing is common for a business entity that wants to sell its catch commercially.

Is fishing a sport? While it is a hobby, fishing is also a sport since it requires a skill set, stamina, and it can also be competitive, just like other sports. You might not know it, but competitions are being held to test fishermen’s skills every year globally.

Next, let’s look at the different fishing competitions in the U.S for 2021.

Different Fishing Competitions in the United States

If you are into sport fishing, you need to keep abreast of the different fishing competitions and tournaments in the United States.

Here are some of the competitions scheduled for 2021:

  • Jan. 29 to 31 – 3 Lakes Ice Fishing Contest to be held at Granby, CO, in Shadow Mountain Res. Grand Lake
  • Feb. 6 – JIG’s UP Blugold Ice Fishing Contest – to be held at Chippewa Falls, WI, at Lake Wissota
  • Feb. 27 – Perch Extravaganza to be held at Nitti’s Hunters Point Resort, MN at Mille Lacs Lake

The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit also has scheduled competitions and tournaments in 2021 for its Pro Circuit. Following are the schedules and the place where the tournaments will be held:

  • Feb. 11, 2021 – at Lake Okeechobee
  • Mar. 11 – at Smith Lake
  • Apr. 22 – at Lake Murray
  • May 13 – at Lake Eufaula
  • June 17 – at the Potomac River
  • July 29 – at St. Lawrence River
  • Aug. 17 – at Mississippi River-La Crosse

Factors That Determine If Fishing Is a Sport

An activity can be considered a sport if it requires a skill set, physical prowess, strategy, rules and regulations, the essence of competition, and a price or reward.

You can consider the type of fishing you perform as a sport if it has the following factors:

1. It Requires a Skill Set

You should have a certain skill set to perform decent sport fishing. There is a right and wrong way of using a fishing rod and reel.

is fishing a sports yes or no

You have to know how to use them properly to be able to catch a fish and be able to hold your line and reel in your catch. This skill set can only be learned through training and practice.

2. It Requires Strength and Stamina

Sportfishing, such as big game fishing, requires toughness and endurance. There are times that you will be fighting to control and bring in a 200-pound fish. If you have very little strength, you won’t be able to reel in that kind of weight.

It would help if you also had great staying power because reeling in huge fish takes hours. Big fish are strong, and they will fight their way out of your tackle every way they can. This game is a matter of who can stay longer in the fight. Is it you or the fish?

There is at least one game fisher who caught a 450-pound yellowfin tuna. The fisherman nearly went overboard when the fish dove deep down in its desire to escape. But the fishermen prevailed, reeled in the fish, and brought home the record of catching the biggest fish ever.

3. It Requires Strategy

If you know that the fight will be long, you have to strategize your moves. You can’t just count on your strength and you’re staying power to be able to stay in the game. You have to execute an effective strategy so that you will come out as the winner.

Fortunately, your ‘opponent’ only relies on its strength. You only have to use your strength wisely to outlast the fish. It is your human opponent that is your problem. They are also strategizing their game.

4. There Is Competition

This is where fishing really becomes a sport – competition. If you are competing with at least one other angler to catch a certain type and weight of fish, you are already engaging in sports. One of you will become the winner at the end of the game. Isn’t that what sports are like?

5. There Are Rules

A competition winner will only be declared the winner if they have not violated the game’s rule. In fact, before you can enter the competition, there are some pre-qualifications that you must satisfy. Only then will you be allowed to enter the competition.

And when you are already inside and competing in the game, you should strictly follow all the regulations or be kicked out of the game. You cannot just do your thing. Game fishing is definitely a sport because it has certain rules and regulations that all contestants must follow and observe.

6. There Are Risks

There are also certain risks that you will face if you engage in game fishing. A big fish could run you overboard, or you can be injured if you exert yourself too much reeling in a big fish. There are all sorts of dangers and risks in sport fishing, just like in car racing, basketball, diving, and so forth.

Offshore fishing is hazardous. So you can’t just engage in this sport without the proper training, equipment, and crew. Take, for instance, the example of two brothers fishing in the waters of Australia.

They were in their five-meter inflatable boat when they caught a marlin. As they were reeling in the big fish, it jumped aboard their boat and dangerously swung around its sharp sword-like bill.

Both brothers were seriously injured. These are the risks that you can encounter while you are sportfishing.

After discussing this section, I know for sure that you know the answer to the question, “Is fishing considered a sport?”

Conclusion: Is Fishing Considered a Sport?

Fishing can be considered a sport. Just like other sports, fishing requires physical exertion and skill, and it is competitive. Also, like other sports, there are many fishing tournaments and competitions every year around the world.

While fishing can be done leisurely, there is more strenuous and rigorous fishing that is competitive in nature. As such, fishing can be considered a sport and not just a hobby.

Just like any other sport, there are fishing tournaments and competitions that require physical exertion and skill. Such competitions are regularly held in the United States and other parts of the world. One cannot join these fishing tournaments unless they are qualified.

Related reading:

How to Restring a Fishing Reel [6 Easy Steps]