For as long as human beings have understood that fish are a good source of food and nutrients, they’ve devised ways of fishing. In fact, there are accounts of the Ancient Egyptians using fishing rods as far back as 2000 BC.
Fast forward to today and fishing remains not just one of the world’s biggest food industries, but also one of the most popular pastimes too.
Unsurprisingly, this popularity has developed into a competitive sport. Below, we’ll take a look at the current state of fishing as a sport and examine how the world of sportsbook betting has developed to keep pace.
Competitive fishing and betting
In recent times, we’ve seen the rise in popularity of esports and how online betting companies have developed their offerings to appeal to this growing market. The same has happened with modern fishing.
Professional anglers are often backed by significant sponsors. They compete in regular tournaments, many of them streamed live around the world online and on mainstream sports networks. They compete for prize funds are sometimes huge. There are regular angling shows that review the performances of leading stars in the sport, and plenty of shows that teach beginners the ropes.
This popularity has struck a chord with online betting companies. Now, particularly when there are big events in the angling season, many companies offer odds and sportsbook betting promotions that you can take advantage of while watching your favorite sport.
If betting companies have expanded their offering like this, it tells us something about the popularity of angling as a modern sport. But do the figures back this up?
Fishing is still a popular American pastime
In the past, we’ve looked at how fishing is integral to many people of the USA. In 2019 alone, over 50m Americans went fishing — that’s more than golf and tennis combined. That figure is predicted to rise in the years to come.
One of the main reasons why angling is such a popular pastime is due to its variety. Different fish live in different types of waters, and each one poses a fresh challenge to the budding angler. With most of us living close to rivers, lakes or coasts, it’s an accessible sport to take part in.
Those on the coast can engage in saltwater fishing, angling from the shore or harbors close to their home. Others may enjoy freshwater fishing, targeting the US’s many incredible lakes. For those that live by fast-flowing rivers, fly-fishing is also an entertaining way not just to pass the time, but to catch some fresh dinner too.
This rise in popularity will only serve to inspire people to take up fishing as a competitive sport.
The rise of technology in angling
For those new to the sport of fishing, it can be a little daunting to get your head around the many different types of baits, rods and angling styles. For some people, they will see this as an obstacle and give up.
However, with more resources available online than ever, and with new technologies and gadgets introduced all the time to help make anglers’ lives easier, the sport has never been more accessible.
Having so many sources of information available enables anglers to learn their craft much more quickly. If they catch that angling bug, they have the tools they need to turn that fishing hobby into a competitive sport.
There are more competitive angling competitions than ever before
As a sport, fishing is more popular than ever in the US. It’s estimated that there are somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 fishing competitions each year, a staggering amount.
Competitive tournaments can focus on different types of fish, for example, there are bass fishing tournaments and some focused on larger saltwater fish like sharks and marlin. With such variety, there’s something for every type of angler.
The prize money isn’t something to scoff at either. The White Marlin Open, held annually in Maryland, has seen the number of participants grow each year, and with it the prize money. In 2019, for example, the winning catch saw the successful angler take home a mouth-watering $2.6m. There were prizes amounting to a further $2.4m for the runner ups too.
With prize money growing, especially in the bigger competitions, popularity swelling and betting companies expanding their offerings to include angling in their sportsbooks, competitive fishing is very much holding its own as a competitive sport in the modern world.