Why do we go fishing?

The January 2000 edition of Profile, the official publication of the (American) Rapala Fishing Club describes a recently published study of the reasons why Americans go fishing. Their 1999 Future of Fishing survey indicated that relaxation (35%) and to be with family and friends (33%) dominated the results. Trailing a long way behind come to be close to nature (13%) and for the sport of it (7%). Bringing up the rear were fish for food (5%) and pursuit of trophy fish (3%).

The editorial questions the universality of these results, and goes on to suggest that, in the case of a specialist organisation like their own, the average member might be fairly serious about learning more, fairly serious about becoming better at finding and catching fish.

I wonder what the results would have shown had they been conducted amongst a representative cross-section of British sea anglers? Catching fish for food would presumably have shared a similarly low profile, as there are few enough opportunities nowadays. I would also hope that the average BASS member, like the average Rapala member, would have yielded a much more positive response.

We should never forget, however, that if it is happening in America now, it will happen over here soon. I hope that saying applies equally to conservation and enlightened fishery management. It may be that we already have a dose of their apathy.