Recreational | Sport Fishing
fishing, also called sport fishing, is fishing for pleasure
or competition. It can be contrasted with commercial fishing,
which is fishing for profit, or subsistence fishing, which
is fishing for survival.
The most common form of recreational fishing
is done with a rod, reel, line, hooks and any one of a wide
range of baits. Other devices, commonly referred to as terminal
tackle, are also used to affect or complement the presentation
of the bait to the targeted fish. Some examples of terminal
tackle include weights, floats, and swivels. Lures are frequently
used in place of bait. Some hobbyists make handmade tackle
themselves, including plastic lures and artificial flies.
The practice of catching or attempting to catch fish with
a hook is known as angling. When angling, it is sometimes
expected or required that the fish be caught and released.
Big-game fishing is fishing from boats to
catch large open-water species such as tuna, sharks and marlin.
Noodling and trout tickling are also recreational activities.
One method of growing popularity is kayak fishing. Kayak fisherman
fish from sea kayaks in an attempt to level the playing field
with fish and to further challenge their abilities. Kayaks
are stealthy and allow anglers to reach areas not fishable
from land or by conventional boat. Sport fishing is dominated
by men, although women also participate in the sport.
Sport fishing methods vary according to the
area fished, the species targeted, the personal strategies
of the angler, and the resources available. It ranges from
the aristocratic art of fly fishing elaborated in Great Britain,
to the high-tech methods used to chase marlin and tuna. Sport
fishing is usually done with hook, line, rod and reel rather
than with nets or other aids.
The most common salt water game fish are
marlin, tuna, tarpon, sailfish, shark, and mackerel.
In the past, sport fishers, even if they
did not eat their catch, almost always killed them to bring
them to shore to be weighed or for preservation as trophies.
In order to protect recreational fisheries sport fishermen
now often catch and release, and sometimes tag and release,
which involves fitting the fish with identity tags, recording
vital statistics, and sending a record to a government agency.
Recreational fishing techniques include hand
gathering, spearfishing, netting, angling and trapping.
Most recreational fishers use a fishing rod
with a fishing line and a hook at the end of the line. The
rod may be equipped with a reel so the line can be reeled
in, and some form of bait or a lure attached to the hook.
Fly fishing is a special form of rod fishing in which the
reel is attached to the back end of the rod, and a whipping
motion is used to imitate a fly with an artificial fly.
Another less common technique is bowfishing
using a regular bow or a crossbow. The "arrow" is
a modified bolt with barbs at the tip, connected to a fishing
line so the fish can be retrieved. Some crossbows are fitted
with a reel.
The effective use of fishing techniques often
depends on knowledge about the fish and their behaviour including
migration, foraging and habitat.
Fishing tackle is a general term that refers
to the equipment used by fishers. Almost any equipment or
gear used for fishing can be called fishing tackle. Some examples
are hooks, lines, sinkers, floats, rods, reels, baits, lures,
spears, nets, gaffs, traps, waders and tackle boxes.
Tackle that is attached to the end of a fishing
line is called terminal tackle. This includes hooks, sinkers,
floats, leaders, swivels, split rings and wire, snaps, beads,
spoons, blades, spinners and clevises to attach spinner blades
to fishing lures.
Fishing tackle can be contrasted with fishing
techniques. Fishing tackle refers to the physical equipment
that is used when fishing, whereas fishing techniques refers
to the ways the tackle is used when fishing.
Rules and regulations
Recreational fishing has conventions, rules,
licensing restrictions and laws that limit the way in which
fish may be caught. The International Game Fish Association
(IGFA) makes and oversees a set of voluntary guidelines. Typically,
these prohibit the use of nets and the catching of fish with
hooks not in the mouth. Enforceable regulations are put in
place by governments to ensure sustainable practice amongst
In addition to capturing fish for food, recreational
anglers may also keep a log of fish caught and submit trophy-sized
fish to independent record keeping bodies. In the Republic
of Ireland, the Irish Specimen Fish Committee verifies and
publicizes the capture of trophy fish caught with rod and
line by anglers in Ireland, both in freshwater and at sea.
The Committee also ratifies Irish record rod caught fish.
It also uses a set of 'fair play' regulations to ensure fish
are caught in accordance with accepted angling norms.
Recreational fishing competitions (tournaments)
are a recent innovation in which fishermen compete for prizes
based on the total weight of a given species of fish caught
within a predetermined time. This sport evolved from local
fishing contests into large competitive circuits. Competitors
are most often professional fishermen who are supported by
commercial endorsements. Other competitions are based purely
on length with mandatory catch and release. Either longest
fish or total length is documented with a camera and a mandatory
sticker or unique item, a practice used since it's hard to
weigh a living fish accurately in a boat.
Sport fishing competitions involve individuals
if the fishing occurs from land, and usually teams if conducted
from boats, as well as specified times and areas for catching
fish. A score is awarded for each fish caught. The points
awarded depend on the fish's weight and species. Occasionally
a score is divided by the strength of the fishing line used,
yielding more points to those who use thinner, weaker line.
In tag and release competitions, a flat score is awarded per
fish species caught, divided by the line strength. Usually
sport fishing competitions award a prize to the boat or team
with the most points earned.
The recreational fishing industry consists of enterprises such
as the manufacture and retailing of fishing tackle, the design
and building of recreational fishing boats, and the provision
of fishing boats for charter and guided fishing trips.