Hispanic anglers are the most avid in the country by one measure, and though they’re unrepresented in the fishing population as a whole, the three West Coast states represent one of the best places in the country to lure more into the sport.
That’s according to the recently released Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s 2015 Special Report On Fishing.
The Virginia-based organization also said that 46 million Americans angled last year, and that 2.4 million tried it for the first time in 2014.
That former factoid is a slight tick up from the previous year. RBFF explains that there’s an annual “churn rate” of anglers joining and leaving the sport, and that last year 100,000 more returned or became fishermen than were lost.
RBFF was particularly pleased that nearly half of last year’s new anglers were female, and said that showed its efforts to diversify the fishing tackle box were paying off.
“Fishing remains a popular outdoor activity and with increasing numbers of newcomers, we look to growing overall participation in the future, securing critical support for state conservation efforts,” said RBFF president and CEO Frank Peterson in a press release.
While youth recruitment is important as ever, increasing Hispanic participation is a goal of the organization and some state fishery agencies, including the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
RBFF called those two pools of potential anglers “important market segments that have significant growth potential,” and also noted several times in its report just how hardcore Hispanic anglers are.
On average, they fish 25.8 days a year — over six more days than all other groups of participants.
But as a whole, they’re also underrepresented on the banks of lakes and rivers and out in the bay.
“According to the U.S. Census, Hispanics represent 17 percent of the nation’s population, but they make up only 10.7 percent of the fishing population,” RBFF reports.
By comparison, 15.8 percent of all Americans six years and older do.
While Washington, Oregon and California already host the country’s highest concentration of Hispanic anglers, our region remains fertile waters for recruiting more. Only the Southeast states have a higher percentage of them considering getting into the sport, according to the report.
WDFW’s Bruce Bolding, a self-described “middle-aged white guy,” has been at the forefront of trying to get more Hispanic anglers out. Last year he helped organize an outing near Wenatchee, though another this spring fell through.
In an email, he praised some of RBFF’s Spanish-language fishing videos and said the organization’s report gave him new ideas to try out.
Earlier this year RBFF was honored for its Vamos a Pescar program.