Is Fishing A Sport Or Not? Know The Answers!


We’ll be answering the famous question, “Is fishing a sport?” by reviewing what fishing is right down to its core! If you want to know more, then read on!

Do you love fishing as much as I do? Do you want to learn more about this enjoyable pastime? Then you’re going to love these important know-hows about it!

Official Meaning Of The Terms

Just as any professional would tell you; before we can learn how a thing is or how it's explained, we must first understand the official definitions and meaning of the subject matter. (Sources for the definitions cited below this Article)

  • Fishing”: according to our official online dictionary, through its definition alone already means: “the sport or business of catching fish.”
  • A “Sport” as a noun, is “...a physical activity engaged in for pleasure…” or “…a particular event (such as an athletic game) so engaged…”

I Then Took Out My Reliable (And Rather Large) Dictionary From My Bookshelf

  • Sport” or “Sports” also means “An activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.”
  • Skill” is “the ability to use one’s knowledge effectively in doing something, or a developed or acquired ability.”
  • Fish (verb)” or “to fish” means “(1) to attempt to catch fish, (2) to search for something underwater (3) to draw forth.”
  • While a “Fisher” simply put, is “one who fishes.”
  • Angling” is “the sport or pastime of fishing with a rod and line.”
  • And lastly, “Sports fish” meaning “a fish noted for the sport it affords anglers.”

Recap And Application

Sports meant the same in all our sources. When summarized it shows that it needed three essential elements

  • Physical exertion – there had to be physical activity in a sport, the extent interpreted so that even just the mere moving of one's hands already is considered exertion (Just as how chess is as much a sport as basketball)
  • Skill – that’s the reason why we included this in the definitions. With an efficient use of one’s knowledge to perform a task, sports requires skill. Skills are honed to be able to become better at one’s performance. (The ability to catch a ball in baseball or to kick it in football requires a level of skill, same as casting a line)
  • Competition for entertainment – the final and equally important element is that sport's done for competition and entertainment. Between individuals or teams, it matters not, so long as it is against another for entertainment purposes. (This is an essential element to determine whether an activity is a sport or not)

Fishing is no questions asked a physical exertion that requires skill. It is the last element that determines the all-important answer to our question “Is fishing a sport?”

The Answers


The answer to the question is both a YES and a NO. Surprised? Don’t be. We’ll explain.


Fishing may be considered a sport when the three elements are present within it, Namely:

  • Physical Exertion
  • Use of Skill
  • Competition for entertainment.

Fishing already has the first two. With the presence of the third element, it then comes under the purview of what we consider “Sports.”

Hence the creation of the term “Sports fish” defined earlier, some forms of fishing are officially competitive with prizes and for both viewing entertainment for the public and the participants themselves.

Ex. Angling may be a sport when it involves individual or team completions, usually trying to get the biggest or most catches during the event.


Fishing is not considered a sport when there is the absence of Competition for entertainment.

A leisurely fishing trip with friends for fun and not competitive in any way is not considered a sport but a hobby.

(Even betting on who gets the biggest catch isn’t considered)

Fishing for food or business is also different as it also does not involve competition.

Even when its admitted fishing requires skill and physical exertion, it isn’t a sport if it's not done for competition and both for the viewers and participant’s entertainment.

Ex. Fly fishing solo on the weekends is a relaxing hobby and not a sport.

The also explains the difference in their Article briefly

A video by NPC Fishing also explains some points about fishing and sports

So there you have it! Fishing can be BOTH a SPORT and a HOBBY!

As dynamic as fishing is now compared to what it was before (merely a means to get food to survive) it now has many forms that fall into different criteria!

Have a good question to ask or do you have any insights you’d like to share? What’s your favorite kind of fishing? Put them all in the comments below!

Sources: (International Shark Attack File)


The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, New International Edition (2014)

Rebecca Lily

Hi, everyone! My name’s Rebecca, and I just love to write and to fish! My friends call me “Becca.” I’m 22 years old, single, and am currently residing in New York working at an office. Show more

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