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There is no question that fishing is something that has brought together literally millions, perhaps even billions, of people over the centuries. Many fond memories have been made between father and son, nephew and uncle, aunt and niece, and between childhood friends as well.
Indeed, in the 90’s country music video “Feed Jake” by Pirates of the Mississippi, there is a scene where two young boys are headed out to a lake with fishing poles in hand! However, much like this ancient pastime, the art of debating things seems to be a pastime that is old as society itself.
Of course, you might be asking, just what is there to debate when it comes to fishing? Well, as it turns out, actually plenty of things. One of the most pressing would be this question: is fishing considered a sport or simply just a hobby? Either way, it seems that everyone has an opinion on that age-old question.
Since a sport should include physical exertion and skill in order to compete against others or yourself, we can definitely say that “yes” Fishing is a sport.
When it comes to fully gauging whether fishing is a sport or not, there seems to be several camps. In one arena, we have what I call the “PETA camp”, and frankly, they are pretty adamant that no, it’s not a sport, because fishing is simply just a leisure activity that all individuals can do and requires no skill whatsoever, so how could it ever be a sport? (Hey, don’t flame me, I’m just telling you how they view it) In other words, they believe that fishing isn’t a sport simply because anybody can do it.
Another camp agrees that yes, anybody can do fishing, but it still can be regarded as a competitive sport simply because it does require some degree of skill and, at the same time, it can be enjoyed by people from all walks of life regardless of age, sex, size, strength, or even disability. Either way, all it takes is a couple of hours worth of research before you realize that there is a litany of forums where some are adamant that it is a sport while other forums are just as adamant that it absolutely is not a sport whatsoever.
Of course, things definitely get interesting when a venerable internet sports institution such as Bleacher Report weighs in on this topic. Interestingly enough, they seemed to take a rather wishy-washy approach to whether fishing can be considered a sport or not. One of the first things they did was ask themselves several questions regarding the status of whether fishing could be considered a sport:
Question: Does fishing require any sort of intense exercise or any special abilities?
Answer: At times, it sure does.
Question: Do you need some physical skills to do fishing in an effective manner?
Question: Is fishing considered a competition?
Answer: In many instances, yes.
Still, there are some people in yet another camp, and these individuals say that yes, fishing is indeed a sport, but only in the proper context. These individuals say that simply driving out on a frozen lake, drilling a hole, plugging in your generator, dropping your line, and enjoying some brewskis is not a sport, even if you occasionally get a tug on your line. The same goes for simply riding around on your motorboat and dragging a line here and there; in their eyes, it’s not a sport, even if the fisherman occasionally flexes his muscles to get a small catfish here and there. However, even in this case, there are some who would disagree.
Of course, there are some cases where you can definitely argue that fishing is a sport. In the case of hauling in a 50-pound bass in a bass fishing tournament, then yes, it is a sport. However, despite the fact that Bleacher Report seems to only feel it is a sport sometimes, many would argue that fishing is always a sport, and here are a few reasons why:
Both Anglers and Athletes Can Find a Lot of Common Ground
When most people think of athletics, they only think of those who can dribble a basketball, hit a baseball, throw a football, or bowl a 300 game. However, ask even the most junior fishing angler, and they will tell you that it takes an incredible amount of skill to be able to reel in even a catfish. All breeds of fish have a tendency to fight the line, and do you have the energy, stamina, and strength in order to properly haul it in? Fishing isn’t as easy as it seems, no, not at all. I mean, how
much literature has been written regarding how difficult it is to reel in a fish? Literally a whole library! The book “The Old Man and the Sea” is just the beginning. “Wicked Tuna” is one of many shows dedicated to the ancient discipline of fishing.
All of the above experiences are just in reference to your everyday, ordinary fisherman. What of the big-game fisherman? Trust me, those that go after that huge, giant fish are completely wiped out after fighting a fish that is on par with Andre the Giant in aquatic form. They may not show it when they pose with that catch for that picture, but that smile simply means that they are “tired, but happy.” These championship fishermen are every bit as tired as someone who has gone toe-to-toe with a heavyweight boxer or a rock-solid UFC fighter. Seriously, if you don’t think that it’s a workout to land a 50-pound tuna, then think again.
Like other athletes, anglers follow many strict personal regimens.
Additionally, you should be aware that if you talk to any angler out there, they will consider themselves to be an athlete even if no one else does. They will take their fishing discipline seriously, and they will have certain pillars in their lives that they will swear by for top-notch performance. Like other athletes, they will have certain training, diet, sleep, and studying regimens that they will follow religiously. They will always want to make sure that they get enough sleep, simply because they realize that they would have slower reflexes while on the boat the next day. Heaven forbid they miss some serious fish movement in the water below the boat simply because of sleep deprivation!
The experienced angler also realizes that they must have a balanced diet in order to function properly. Most anglers will have an arsenal of food choices to make sure they have all of the minerals they need for a day out on the water. Snacks such as eggs, bacon, coffee, and energy drinks have become a staple for many fishermen. Alternately, some anglers will go with granola bars or other healthy snacks. Still, other anglers will often swear by sunflower seeds, nuts, or beef jerky.
Either way, whatever habits an individual angler might have, they all have one common denominator: all of them have a drive to succeed, and they all realize that the only way to do this is through understanding the science of their fishing passion.
Fishing can improve your physical health.
If you approach it right, fishing can definitely improve your physical health, much like any other sport. Fishing will take a worn-out couch potato and give them something to do with their time that actually takes physical activity to pull off effectively. For one thing, you often will have to make your way through some rocky natural terrain to get to your fishing spot. Additionally, you will often have to find a location for building your fishing line, providing valuable muscular exercise. Casting and reeling on a repeated basis will help you work on your eye-hand coordination. Finally, the activity of fishing has been recognized as a low-stress way to work on your hands, forearms, wrists, biceps, shoulders, and triceps. Perhaps not surprisingly, there are many psychologists and counselors who recommend fishing activities for injured veterans as well!
Like many other sports, fishing promotes your well-being in a variety of different areas.
It is actually a proven fact that angling is a very therapeutic thing for someone to do. Of course, there are many other sports that you can go with, and that’s your prerogative. However, many of these other sports are very tedious, and they can cause extreme stress, broken bones, or could even be life threatening. Continue to try these sports if that strikes your fancy, but all the while fishing is sitting on the sidelines, promising you a refuge from all of the stress of your hustling city life, and it’s even a sport that won’t pressure you, unlike bull riding or car racing, for example.
The best way to sum it up is that fishing will be a serene way for you to pass your time. You cast your line out on that lake and you get a well-deserved break from all of the stressors in your life. Of course, if you prefer running sprints in football, having a hockey puck flying at you in hockey, or diving for a line-drive in baseball that is up to you.
Considering all of the stressors regarding these other options, fishing would seem to be quite a bit more appealing to many other hobbyists.
Like other sports, you will learn discipline, perseverance, and leadership.
There is no question that sports teach us a lot about ourselves. We learn many essential leadership lessons from many of the most popular sports such as football, basketball, hockey, and track and field. However, you definitely shouldn’t leave fishing out of that loop. First of all, fishing still has a team element to it simply because you usually do it with other people. This is especially true in a fishing tournament as the amount of fish you catch is directly contingent to how well your fishing team does.
Of course, it’s a no-brainer that fishing teaches perseverance, simply because it takes a lot of practice and skill to land some of the largest fish on your targeted lake! Of course, it’s also a no-brainer that getting your children involved in fishing is more than letting them just play XBOX or Playstation all day long. However, even for adults, the sport of fishing will help you develop strength, flexibility, stamina, hand-eye coordination, and focus. These are not only skills that will help you in sports but also on the job and in society as well.
Moreover, these are skills that we learn just by being out on the water by ourselves. When we enter into a fishing competition, we actually have to step out of our comfort zone and that is when we experience all kinds of thrills, challenges, and we gain more understanding of our chosen sport. This is where team dynamics and sportsmanship come in for sure.
You will get a serious sense of accomplishment when you fish.
Finally, like any other normal sport, fishing will give you a sense of accomplishment. You definitely fish for different reasons, whether it be for combating stress, solitude, sanctuary, or even doing it competitively. However, whatever your main purpose might be, there is nothing like the feeling of satisfaction you receive when you feel that first tug on your fishing line. Your happiness and contentment is truly unparalleled.
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One of the best things about fishing is that it truly gives you a sense of belonging within the world. Fishing is one of those pastimes where you can get out in nature and experience much more than just the water and your rod and reel. You also see how the birds interact with the water and how the wind blows across the lake. You are at peace with the world.
Part of the reason for this would have to be because fishing is not just a sport, but it is also a way to stay in tune with our ancient, primeval ancestors. You see, fishing is actually one of the oldest sports in the world because it hearkens back to when we were just a hunter-gatherer type of society. Considering that fishing teaches you so much about your world and society at large, don’t let anyone tell you that it isn’t a sport. It truly is, because even if you aren’t entering into tournaments, you are still competing with the fish and within your own records as well. It’s time to enjoy the oldest sport in the world!
Story: I took my son to Veterans Memorial Park in Boulder city Nevada where we fished for bluegill. In the morning up until about 11 AM we had no luck but we were using tiny worms and we were not fishing in a very good location at the pond. We left the pond to go get some lunch and while we were out we picked up some fat juicy nightcrawlers. When we return to the pond there was a spot open that looked like a better place. My son and I took that spot and we were using about 1/3 to 1/4 of a worm on a tiny hook. In the next two or three hours we each carton bluegill and as a bonus I caught one turtle of course sweetheart everything go as we like to practice catch and release if we can. We had a great time and we knocked em dead on the bluegill.