One of the oldest and most widely enjoyed sport is fishing. The joys of fishing are different for each fisherman. Some like fishing because it gives them a chance to be outdoors. Some like to sit quietly on the bank of a stream, watch the ripples in the water, and think. Other like the exciting fight of a strong game fish. Whatever the reason, about 31 million people take out fishing licenses every year in the the United States. Generally, a license is not required for fishermen under a specified age, or for fishing in salt water.
Millions of people around the world fish for food and to make a living. For them, fishing is a business, not a sport. The sport fisherman usually eats what he catches, gives it away to be eaten, or throws his fish back to be caught some other time. He/she is most of all interested in the catching process..
There are different methods of fishing such as still fishing, casting, trolling and ice fishing. Some states allow the spearing of fish, shooting them underwater with bow and arrow, snagging them with hooks or snaring them with loops of wire.
Still fishing can be done from a riverbank or a lakeshore, from a dock, or from an anchored boat. The fisherman may use a simple hand line or just a cane pole. A still fisherman throws his/her baited hook into the water and waits for a fish to bite. When a fish is hooked, it is hauled in.
Casting is probably the most popular kind of fishing The fisherman uses a special kind of fishing rod and reel to throw a natural bait or an artificial line into the water. The bait or lure is retrieved, or pulled back in , by cranking the reel handle. The lure's movement, aided by twitches, pauses, and jerks of the rod by the angler, is supposed to entice a game fish to strike or snap at the bait. The common types of casting are fly, bait, spinning, and spin-casting.
Trolling is a third popular fishing method. It is done from a moving boat by towing a bait or lure. The kind of fish that is being sought determines the rate of speed. When a fish is hooked, the boat is often stopped so that the fisherman can play or tire, his catch before bringing it in.
A popular winter sport is ice fishing. The fishermen catch their fish through holes chopped in the ice. Sometimes anglers fish in the winter from specially built ice shanties, or small houses that are moved onto the ice.
Fishing laws protect fish in every state in the United States and in most other countries. Most of these laws regulate the times of the year when fishermen may catch and keep certain kinds of fish. Most of the laws also limit the number of fish a fishermen may catch. They usually state that fish smaller than a certain length may not be kept. Some states regulate the kinds of bait fishermen may use.
Local fishing regulations can be obtained by writing to the conservation department in the state or country where you plan to fish. Sporting magazines often carry articles on the best places to catch certain kinds of fish.