Is Fishing a Sport? Or Is It Just a Hobby?

Fishing is a fantastic activity for people of all ages. While many people consider fishing a fun hobby, angling also requires some level of skill and physical effort.

So, is fishing a sport? Fishing is a sport, not just a hobby. Like any other sport, fishing requires skill, as well as physical effort, and a sense of competition. The act of fishing falls under all of these criteria. Many fishing tournaments and competitions are held around the world throughout the year.

Besides being a sport, fishing can also be a fun and relaxing activity. Planning a fishing trip with friends is completely different from fishing to winning a tournament. Both leisure recreational fishing and sport fishing require a specific skill set and are physically challenging to some extent.

Keep reading to learn how fishing can be a sport and a hobby. 

Is Fishing a Hobby or a Sport? (Or both)

Many people can’t accept the idea of a sport taking place outside a defined course or field. While bowling, table tennis, and golf are recognized as sports, many people consider fishing a pastime. But, there’s more to fishing than meets the eye.

Fishing is a fun and challenging outdoor water sport suitable for people of all ages. As a water activity, fishing is well suited for vacations, recreation, and competitive sports fishing. 

Sport is defined as an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against one another or others for entertainment. 

Anyone who tried fishing knows that catching a fish requires skill, knowledge, and physical strength. Competition is also a big part of fishing, too as the angler is competing against fish or another angler for a prize. 

While fishing can be considered a sport, many anglers aren’t sportsmen. While fishing as a sport is more popular with younger anglers, fishing as a hobby is more prevalent in older generations.

An activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure is considered a hobby. Leisure fishing is different than sport fishing and is regarded as a hobby. 

The biggest difference between sport and hobby fishing is that there is no competition in leisure fishing unless you count the fish. Furthermore, people usually don’t take hobbies as seriously as sports and are unlikely to spend time practicing how to catch a fish.

Another notable difference is that fishing hobbyists don’t receive any trophies or prizes for reeling in the catch. 

Reasons Why Fishing Is Considered a Sport

Reasons Why Fishing Is Considered a Sport

Fishing can be considered a sport for several reasons. As mentioned earlier, angling is an activity that requires physical exertion and skill and is competitive, just like many other sports. 

Fishing is considered a sport for the following reasons:

Requires Skill

Whether competing at a fishing tournament or wetting a line on a local lake, you know that fishing isn’t an exact science. 

When it comes to fishing, your skill will determine whether you’ll go home empty-handed or with a catch. For example, the bait you were using yesterday to catch fish might not work today, and you’ll have to rely on your skill to get a fish hooked.

To be a skillful angler, you need to practice often and work on your patience and strength. There are many different types of fishing, including ice fishing, fly fishing, deep fishing, commercial fishing, bass fishing, etc. 

To catch different types of fish in different conditions, you’ll need to practice often. This will help improve your existing skills and master new abilities in the process. 

Requires Physical Strength

Besides taking some skills, fishing also requires physical prowess. Although fishing rods and reels take some of the weight off, there are times when anglers are trying to reel in a 200-pound fish. If you ever caught a big fish or a shark, you know that they fight hard when caught.

Big game fishing is challenging in so many ways. Battling a massive fish is tough on the muscles, and it takes immense strength and balance to tire, reel in, and haul a monster fish out of the water.

Reeling in a big fish can take hours and takes incredible physical effort. On some days, a fisherman might burn more calories and need more strength than other professional athletes. 


Fishing tournaments and competitions are held around the world throughout the year. At these tournaments, anglers compete in different categories, including catching the biggest fish or catching the most fish. 

Various fishing tournaments are held across the US, including tournaments for catching bass, tagging marlin, and more. As in any other professional sport, trophies and rewards are awarded to the winner or the winning team. 

Entering a fishing tournament isn’t a small matter, and many anglers participate in specialized seminars and events. A pro angler has the skill and physical strength necessary to catch fish in all bodies of water, regardless of the time of year and weather conditions.

Reasons Why Fishing Is Considered a Hobby

There is a considerable difference between sport fishing and leisure fishing. While fishing does require a particular skill set, you don’t have to master different fishing styles if you don’t plan to compete in pro fishing tournaments. 

Here are a few reasons why fishing is considered a hobby:

Relieves Stress

Being in nature is beneficial for mental health and helps reduce stress levels. Furthermore, being around water creates negative ions that produce biochemical reactions that increase serotonin levels. As a hormone and a neurotransmitter, serotonin helps relieve stress, alleviates depression, and boosts energy levels. 

All of these are only the positive aspects of being around water. The actual act of fishing also relieves stress and helps make you feel good. 

The repetitive action of casting a line has a therapeutic effect that increases relaxation and lowers stress. 


In most cases, leisure fishing involves very little activity. Fishing out of hobby is rarely as intense as sport fishing which may entail fighting a 200-pound fish for several hours. 

Most hobbyists are perfectly content sitting on a dock, with a cold drink in hand, reeling in a few small fish. Unlike pro anglers, fishing enthusiasts don’t need to catch a fish. They can have an enjoyable day on the water without taking a prize or a catch at home. 


Despite popular beliefs, fishing isn’t a solitary activity. Fishing can be done with family and friends, giving you an opportunity to build lifelong bonds with your fishing companions.

While fishing with friends can also be competitive in nature, it’s more often a social activity that offers an escape from other distractions.

Even if you aren’t creating lifelong bonds during your fishing trip, simple social interactions with fellow anglers can improve your mood, increase happiness, and lower stress levels.  

Is Fishing Popular?

Fishing is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the US to the number of participants. Millions of Americans head out to the nation’s waterways to take part in saltwater, freshwater, and fly-fishing activities.

Fishing is an excellent activity for people of all ages, contributing to its popularity. Whether you are seven or 77 years old, you can learn how to fish and have fun on the water catching fish. 

Another reason fishing has become so popular is that it’s cheap to start fishing. Good-quality fishing rods and reels for beginners don’t cost a fortune, and you can always find decent fishing gear at second-hand stores.

Why Is Fishing Such a Good Hobby?

Fishing has been one of the greatest and most popular hobbies since ancient times. The main reason fishing is such a wonderful hobby is that it can always get you excited. 

The sense of freedom and happiness that come with fishing never truly goes away. For most anglers, even if they aren’t pros, fishing is more than a hobby, it’s a lifestyle.

Fishing can never get old and offers many benefits. Reduced stress, a sense of self-fulfillment, physical activity, improved health, and social bonding are just a few reasons fishing makes a great hobby. 


Is fishing a sport or just a hobby is a subject of much debate. Many people view fishing as a fun way of passing the time and nothing more, but any pro angler will beg to differ. 

As it happens, the truth is that fishing can be considered both a sport and a hobby. 

Like any other sport, fishing requires skill, physical strength, and a sense of competition. Fishing tournaments and competitions held worldwide allow fishermen to showcase their angling skills and win trophies and prizes. 

On the other hand, fishing as a hobby isn’t as intensive as sport fishing and usually doesn’t involve competition. Fishing for leisure is more about relaxing and being one with nature after a busy week at the office.