New report sheds light on anglers’ fishing habits

Tranquil relaxation and exhilarating surges of adrenaline were cited as being the main two reasons anglers keep coming back to the sport.

Tranquil relaxation and exhilarating surges of adrenaline were cited as being the main two reasons anglers keep coming back to the sport.

Produced for the American Sportfishing Association by Southwick Associates, the series sheds new light on anglers’ fishing habits and loyalty to the sport.

The latest installment, The New Anglers — Who Are They? Why Did They Try? Will They Continue?, produced in partnership with Responsive Management, focuses on those new to the sport or trying it again after a long hiatus.

“We’ve found that newcomers have high expectations about how often they will fish when they first begin, but reality shows they drop out at high rates,” ASA president and CEO Mike Nussman said in a statement, referring to the fact that 46 percent of anglers in recent years do not fish the following year.

“At first glance, this implies their experiences may not have met their expectations, or other activities are winning their attention,” Nussman said. “The findings in this series of six reports are meant to help improve efforts to attract more anglers and keep them fishing.”

As the first report in the series uncovered, the overall number of fishing participants remains quite stable from year to year, about 46 million (which takes into account youths ages 16 years and younger), but not because most anglers are out there on the water. Rather it’s because about the same number of people join and leave the angling population each year.

And because that come-and-go contingent is a big proportion of the 46 million, it’s of great significance to the sportfishing community’s efforts to boost participation.

State fisheries agencies and the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation are taking the lead for the broader sportfishing community on a strategy called “R3,” which includes targeted marketing toward recruiting, retaining and reactivating anglers, categories that refer to participation from year to year.


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