Giant Recent Increase in Female Anglers

Women now account for 37 percent of anglers in the U.S.—the highest level on record.

Woman with billfish
The “suffragette” fishing era has arrived! Bob McNally

Folks flocked to fishing during the worst years of Covid-19 and leading the charge to get outdoors and do some wholesome family angling were women.

According to a recent report by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF), 19.4 million women went fishing in 2021. That’s an 8 percent increase in fishing outings since 2019. First-time anglers in that female group were 1.6 million women participants.

Total fishing outings for females in 2021 was 288 million trips.

RBFF says 52.4 million Americans ages 6 and over went fishing in 2021, an increase of 4.15 percent compared to 2019. Fishing and boating flourished during the worst years of the pandemic due to lack of school and professional sports, concerts and other activities involving crowds.

People flocked to fishing and boating to participate in a sport with low risks of infection and to bond with family and friends enjoying the outdoors.

Some of the eye-opening data gathered by RBFF in their report included: 19.4 million female anglers fished in 2021, this was 3.8 million more than in 2011, and 2.8 million more than in 2016; nearly 8 million youngsters under age 12 fished, with 5 million fishing teenagers from 13 to 17 years of age.

Fishermen include 17 percent of all Americans, that’s more Americans casting then playing golf and tennis combined.

Florida ranks number one for numbers of anglers. One out of every four trips in the U.S. occurs in Florida and 60 percent of recreational fish caught in the U.S. are landed in Florida.

The highest region for female participation is the South Atlantic. Its share has the strongest three-year annual growth rate overall.

The fishing industry is dedicated to keeping new American participants fishing, particularly women.

A broad group of outdoor organizations are keeping the fishing fires alive in new participants to the sport, especially women, who are credited with keeping family bonding in the sport so strong.

RBFF says that 99 percent of participants plan to continue fishing this year, thanks to groups such as “Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing. The group focuses on attracting women to fishing through educational hands-on programs with networking and fishing as well as online events and promotions. In 25 years the organization has generated thousands of new female anglers. Moreover, they believe, women also bring others to the sport.

Their motto is: “Bring the women, get the whole family!”

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