Is fishing a sport? That is a question that you are probably asking yourself right now. This question has stirred up a lot of debate. Some people believe that fishing is just a leisure activity and can never be a sport while some believe that indeed fishing is a sport.
In the dictionary, a sport is defined as an athletic activity that requires physical prowess or skill and often of a competitive nature. If we go by this definition alone, then fishing qualifies to be called a sport. This is because fishing requires skill, strength, patience, and practice.
It is challenging to catch a fish is you have never fished before. You need to learn the rules of the game to catch fish. Additionally, fishing requires strength. Getting a 200-pound fish out of the water is no joke. Some fish are also very aggressive and often fight sometimes even for hours before they go down. So, if you don’t have strength, then you can give up and let the fish free. Additionally, just like any other type of sports, fishing is also dangerous and can results in injuries if it is not done carefully.
On the flip side, some people are of the thought that fishing regardless of how it is performed is not a sport but a hobby. A research conducted by Belchers Report concluded that fishing is sport sometimes, not all the time. According to the report, for an activity to be called a sport, it must be competitive, it must have the skill and also requires physical exertion. The report said that fishing does not always meet the above requirements; hence it is sometimes a sport, not all the time.
Grabbing a cooler, throwing it on your boat, and paddling out in the middle of the lake where you get drunk while the line is in the water is indeed not a sport. This is because there is no skill or strength applied. There is also no competition, and the activity is not appealing to the public.
On the other hand, hauling a 100 pound Snook in a fishing competition is another thing. So the report concluded that fishing is only a sport when it is a sport.
Reasons why fishing is a real sport
1. Athletes and anglers have a lot in common
Both professional athletes and anglers require strength and endurance to succeed in their respective fields. If you have ever caught a large fish, then you definitely know how hard it is to get the fish out of water. Getting a 100 pond tuna fish out of water is not easy. It requires you to have a lot of energy stamina and strength.
Anglers who go after monster fish often give their best to the gets the fish out of the water. Most anglers go home tired then table tennis player because fishing involves using more stamina. Additionally, anglers are also affected by the same things that affect other athletes, including sleep, training, diet, studying, and much more.
For instance, fishing requires the angler to eat highly nutritious and balanced diet food just like athletes to boost their immune system and get much-needed energy. So, if you compare the needs of anglers and that of professional athletes, you will discover that they have a lot in common. The fact that anglers have a lot in common like other athlete means that fishing is a sport
2. Fishing helps to promote social, emotional and mental well-being just like other different types of sports
Sport is not meant to cause pain and excess stress for athletes. Instead, it is meant to promote their emotional, social, and mental well-being, and that is exactly what fishing does. One thing that any angler will tell you is that they always feel happier and more relaxed when fishing. Fishing provides you the chance to escape from the busy hustle and bustle of the city life. Additionally, fishing also introduces protective factors that help to enhance your resilience, coping skills, and good mental health. Fishing also helps to strengthen social relationships. The fact that fishing helps to promote social, emotional, and mental well being like other sports means that it is also a sport.
3. Fishing gives a sense of accomplishment
One of the main thing why many people get involved in sport, is because they want to achieve something. For instance, some people compete because they want to win the prize money while others compete to combat stress. The reason for competition varies between people. Fishing also involves the same thing. Many people compete because they want to achieve something. Some want to catch fish for food, while others just want to relax and wind.
A 2003 Australian study found out that the main reason that motivates anglers to go out fishing is related to mental and health issues. Regardless of the reason why you go out fishing, the bottom line is that it gives a sense of accomplishment as it is the case with other sport.
4. Fishing helps to teach perseverance and leadership
Just like any other sport, fishing requires patience and practice. As they say, practice makes perfect. Don’t expect to go home with a great catch if it is your first time fishing. You need to practice and learn the art of the game before you start reaping big. The same thing also applies to other types of sports.
If you want to be successful in fishing, then you need to learn how to persevere and be consistent in your training. Fishing also gives you room to acquire leadership skills that you can apply in your day to day life. When fishing, you will be in total control of every move that you make. Every decision that you make will determine if your fishing will be successful or not.
The skill that you will acquire from fishing will help improve your self-confidence, self-discipline, and leadership skills.
5. It helps to improve physical health
In addition to being entertaining, fishing also helps to improve your physical health as it is the case with other types of sports. Many people are of the notion that fishing is just about sitting down on a cooler waiting for a fish to bite the bait. If you also think that way, then you are in for a big surprise. Fishing is more than just sitting down and chatting with your buddies unless you want to go home empty-handed. If you want your fishing expedition to be successful, you have to be ready to wade against strong currents or traverse through steep terrain looking for new spots to fish. You can only do all these if you are fit and healthy.
6. There are rules and regulations
Fishing has rules and regulations as it is the case with other types of sports. For instance, in the United States, each state has its own set of rules and regulations that helps to protect fish and other marine life. Before you start fishing, you need to register with the relevant authority and get a permit or license. Rules and regulations in sport help to create a level playing ground to ensure that one person or team does not have a competitive advantage over the other. The fact that fishing also has its own set of rules and regulations, just like any other sport, qualifies it to be called a sport.
7. Fishing is competitive
Just like other sports, fishing is very competitive. There are fishing tournaments that have lucrative prize package, anywhere from a few thousand dollars up to over a million. Fishing tournaments are very popular in many states in the US. There are many types of fishing tournaments, including catching bass, tagging marlin, and much more. These tournaments are usually very competitive and attract huge crowds of spectators, just as it is the case with other forms of sports. There are also prize money and trophies that go to the winning team and the runners up. The fact that fishing is competitive, like other sports, means that it is also a sport.
So, is fishing a sport?
From the above discussion, it is clear that there are divergent views as to where fishing is sport is not. Fishing can be a sport or a leisure activity; it all depends on how it is done. There are two types of fishing, namely leisure fishing and sport fishing. Leisure fishing is not sport fishing, and sport fishing is not leisure fishing. In leisure fishing, there is no competition; it is only done for fun. On the other hand, in sport fishing, there is an element of competition and a trophy to be won at the end of the competition.
So, to answer the question directly, fishing can be a sport or not depending on how it is performed. For any activity to be regardless as a sport, it must be competitive and must a clear timeline.