Recreational fishing, also called sport fishing, is fishing for pleasure or competition. It can be contrasted with commercial fishing, which is fishing for profit, or subsistence fishing, which is fishing for survival.
The most common form of recreational fishing is done with a rod, reel, line, hooks and any one of a wide range of baits. Other devices, commonly referred to as terminal tackle, are also used to affect or complement the presentation of the bait to the targeted fish. Some examples of terminal tackle include weights, floats, and swivels. Lures are frequently used in place of bait. Some hobbyists make handmade tackle themselves, including plastic lures and artificial flies. The practice of catching or attempting to catch fish with a hook is known as angling.
Angling is a method of fishing by means of an “angle” (fish hook). The hook is usually attached to a fishing line and the line is often attached to a fishing rod. Modern fishing rods are usually fitted with a fishing reel that functions as a mechanism for storing, retrieving and paying out the line. Tenkara fishing and cane pole fishing are two techniques that do not use a reel. The hook itself can be dressed with bait, but sometimes a lure, with hooks attached to it, is used in place of a hook and bait. A bite indicator such as a float, and a weight or sinker are sometimes used.
Although most anglers keep their catch for consumption, catch and release fishing is increasingly practised, especially by fly anglers. The general principle is that releasing fish allows them to survive, thus avoiding unintended depletion of the population. For species such as marlin, muskellunge, and bass, there is a cultural taboo among anglers against taking them for food. In many parts of the world, size limits apply to certain species, meaning fish below a certain size must, by law, be released. It is generally believed that larger fish have a greater breeding potential. Some fisheries have a slot limit that allows the taking of smaller and larger fish, but requiring that intermediate sized fish be released. It is generally accepted that this management approach will help the fishery create a number of large, trophy-sized fish. In smaller fisheries that are heavily fished, catch and release is the only way to ensure that catchable fish will be available from year to year.
Coming soon – a directory of freshwater fishing resources in South Africa