ORLANDO, Fla. — A new report shows that interest in recreational fishing spiked last year with 4.1 million newcomers to the sport in 2013 — a substantial increase from the 3.5 million average new anglers-per-year between 2007 and 2012. The numbers were especially high among female and Hispanic anglers.
"We have some very good numbers to present," Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation president and CEO Frank Peterson said, speaking to a packed house of about 600 fishing and marine industry members Wednesday as he announced the report at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades in Orlando.
"We see that 4.1 million people fished for the first time in 2013, and more interestingly is that 42 percent of that 4.1 million were female,” Peterson said. "We also grew fishing participation among our Hispanic Americans. A key statistic is that Hispanic fishermen fish five more days, on average, than a non-Hispanic fishermen — almost 25 days a year."
The 2014 Special Report on Fishing, released at the event, was done by the RBFF in partnership with the Outdoor Foundation.
"Fishing and boating represent two critical outdoor activities that are key to keeping Americans involved in the outdoors," Outdoor Foundation executive director Christine Fanning said in a statement.
The sixth annual report details fishing participation by gender, age, ethnicity, income, education and geography. Takeaways included:
• Almost 42 percent of first-time fishing participants are female
• Hispanic fishing participants average 24.4 days on the water a year, almost five days more than the average for all fishing participants (19.7 days)
• About 83.7 percent of adult anglers fished as children
• Parents, siblings and friends continue to be the largest influencers to introduction
• More than 83 percent of fishing trips involve more than one person
• Freshwater fishing remains the most popular type of fishing (almost 38 million), with more than three times the number of participants as saltwater fishing
• Most fishing trips, 79 percent, are spontaneous or planned within a week of the trip
• About 27 percent of fishing participants (of license-buying age) are not buying fishing licenses, which means revenue used for conservation is being left on the table.