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Fishing is Undeniably Good for the Soul

Travel + Leisure highlighted the mental benefits of fishing. Here's why you should grab a pole and hit the water in 2019.
Gabriella Hoffman
by Gabriella Hoffman Read Profile arrow_right_alt

Travel and Leisure recently published an article arguing the innumerable benefits fishing has on mental well-being.

It notes:


So what should you do to boost your mental health effectively in nature? Well, there is always camping, biking and hiking, but some experts believe the best way to take care of your mind is to go on a fishing trip.

An Australian survey funded by the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Scheme reports relaxation and stress relief are the main benefits people get from recreational fishing, according to reps for Fishbrain, a mobile app and social network for people who love to fish.

In a July 2018 Special Report on Fishing, it was revealed 49 million Americans went fishing in 2017. The primary reason for fishing among adults was to “try fishing as a way to spend time with their families.” The report also noted that 82% of adult fishing participants were introduced to the sport in childhood. Those who picked up a rod and reel after the age of 12 were harder to hook in and retain.

Fishing participation has grown steadily over the years, especially in deep contrast to hunting participation. There are fewer barriers to enter, it’s not so cost prohibitive, and it’s easier to access bodies of water than land to hunt.

Here are some notable benefits of fishing.

Fishing bolsters conservation

With every purchase of a license or fishing tackle, a 10% excise tax collected on them are sent back to the Department of Interior to be distributed to all 50 state wildlife agencies. These funds directly bolster habitat and wildlife conservation dollars. Like hunters, anglers help fund between 60-80% of conservation funding in this country.

Whether one is strictly a catch-and-release angler or law-abiding put-and-take angler, fishing as a whole teaches one to be sustainable, practical, and conscious of fishing resources.

Anglers are solid conservationists like their hunting counterparts.

Fishing relieves stress and promotes healthy living

Being outside in nature is showed to diminish depression, reduce inflammation, and ameliorate stressful situations. The same maxim can be applied to fishing too.

When you’re fishing outside, you absorb vitamin D—which boosts your immune system and better fends off disease.

Whether you’re fishing on public lands or charting a boat, fishing isn’t simply a sedentary activity. It forces one to be active en route to their fishing destination or alert when they hook in a big fish. Media portrayals of anglers as lazy bums are off-mark, at best.

And if anglers choose to consume the fish they harvest—bearing in mind catch limits, seasons, and edible fish species—there are plenty of added health benefits to consuming it. Various fish species are filled with Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium.

In fact, the American Heart Association recommends we eat fish— especially “fatty fish”— at least twice a week.

Fishing is enjoyable

In addition to teaching one self-reliance and patience, fishing is simply an enjoyable activity.

Fishing is not simply hooking in a big fish. It is recounting fish tales of catches lost or hooks bent out of shape. It is the thrill of a tug on your fishing line knowing something is on the other end. It is spending time fishing with your family to strengthen existing bonds. It is a time where important life lessons are taught or reinforced.

It’s encouraging to see more media outlets write about the benefits of recreational fishing.

Did this post convince you to go fishing in 2019? If you want to learn how and where to fish, visit TakeMeFishing.org. Buy a license and get your fish on!

Photo Credit: Gabriella Hoffman

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