One of the most frequent discussions between fishermen around the globe is, ‘Is fishing a sport or a hobby?’ This question you will find asked nearly daily across the internet. There is no definitive answer as it can be both a hobby and a sport. Terry Dempsey, championship angler and owner of carp bait website urbanbait.co.uk says it’s both a sport and a hobby!
So let us first take a look at the definition of a sport. A sport is an activity that requires physical effort, is a competition, entertaining and involves using a certain amount of skill.
So let us take a look at the definition of a hobby. A hobby is something that you love to do in your free time because it helps you to relax and is entertaining
So how does all this come into play when out fishing?
Fishing Can Improve Both Mental and Physical Health
Most sports involve burning off calories. But how does fishing help you burn calories? When reeling a fish of any size, a fisherman still has to use his arms, legs and torso to reel the fish in. A certain amount of physical strength is required.
Fishing involves using awareness, focus and patience. All these factors can help improve mental health. Fishing is relaxing and stress-free. People who fish regularly have been proven to be more relaxed and have fewer feelings of anxiety. Studies have revealed that fishing can help in the rehabilitation of people with PTSD and can even lower cortisol (under stressful conditions, cortisol provides the body with glucose. This extra energy can help relieve stress. However, elevated cortisol over a period can increase blood sugar levels)
What Skills Are Involved in Fishing
There are 5 main types of fishing. And they all involve different types of skills.
- Fly-fishing – using an imitation insect to lure the fish
- Baitcasting – is swinging a fishing rod and then releasing the line and swinging the bait through the air
- Spinning – Using a spinning reel to bait the fish
- Trolling – where lure or bait is dragged from behind a boat
All five of these methods are used both on sea and freshwater.
Fishing requires the utmost skill. Many people believe that fishing requires little skill at all. Experienced anglers know that there is no set skill to become a successful fisherman. A fisherman knows that no one bait will bring in a fish all the time and that they can go a whole day without catching a single fish. So, practice makes perfect not just one fishing skill but of many. With so many types of fishing, there are many skills even an expert fisherman needs to learn as different environments require different skills.
To be a successful fisherman, you have to practice often and you need patience and strength. Because there are so many types of fishing, you have to acquire different skills to practice them.
If you are out fishing for larger fish, an experienced fisherman knows that it is more physically demanding and mentally challenging. The skill required to hook in bigger fish can be draining in a very similar way to the exertions of a professional athlete. Many people tend to think that fishing requires little exercise, but they are very wrong.
With Fishing Comes Rules
Like with any other sport, fishing has a set of rules to abide by. These can vary from fishing destination to fishing destination. Many fishing rules and regulations are put in place to protect the fish and also the environment. This is why, many fishing spots have set times when you can fish. A fishing license is required.
The Fishing Licence
For all types of freshwater fishing in England and Wales, you will need a fishing licence. A fishing licence will cover both public or private water, rivers, canals, ponds and lakes. There is one exception to the rule, sea fishing. Children under the age of 13 do not require a fishing licence. If you do not have a fishing licence, a fine can be hefty!
Fishing is just not a one-person sport as many have come to believe and can involve competition. Even though it can be a solitary sport, it can also involve fierce competition. As far back as 1846, there have been fishing competitions. The first known competition was between Warrington and Hulme on the River Weaver for the poultry sum of 5 pounds a-side. The final result was not known but believed to have been the first competitive fishing competition. One of the first televised events was in the USA, the Bassmaster Classic!
To become a professional angler is no easy feat. You have to have the skills and the determination to catch fish on any body of water in any type of weather condition.
You will need to spend as much time fishing as you possibly can. To become a master fisherman the only way to improve is to fish, fish, fish. Learn from experienced fishermen, be patient as it will not happen overnight.
So Why Choose Fishing as A Sport
There are multiple reasons you should consider taking up fishing as a hobby or a sport and here are just a few reasons why:
- Fishing can you keep fit
- Fishing can improve your concentration levels
- Fishing with other people can improve your social skills and g=form lasting friendships
- When the sun is shining it can improve your vitamin D intake
- It can help improve your mental health and wellbeing
- Fishing can help you unwind from the day to day stresses of life
- Fulfilment. There is nothing better than catching your first fish!
So at the end of the day fishing is both a sport and a hobby. It is both competitive and relaxing, it is good for fitness and mental wellbeing. It is an ideal sport for a competitor or novice. Whether it’s competition, that floats your float or just to be able to relax, then fishing is the ideal sport (or hobby) for you. And remember it keeps you active!