On the surface, it appears that sportfishing is doing extremely well.
Leaf through all the lavish mail order tackle catalogs. Check out the national, regional, local and specialized fishing magazines covering nearly every facet of angling. Flick through a fishing book catalog and you’ll discover hundreds of titles on trout fishing alone. “Surf the Net” for a lifetime of armchair fishing. Tune into the numerous national and regional fishing TV programs or review the many fishing videos.
When once there were only six international fishing travel agencies, today there are hundreds. Women are not only attracted to fishing, but they are also guiding, operating their own fishing lodges, writing books, lecturing, designing and recommending tackle…and men are listening! Catch-and-release is becoming ever more prevalent (if only we had listened to Lee Wulff and others earlier!). And, fishermen are not only paying $500 for a fly rod or saltwater reel, they are trading thousands of dollars for a fully equipped bass boat.
It would seem that sportfishing is healthy, wealthy and flourishing. Right? WRONG!
As we anticipate a new century, angling is facing more critical problems than it ever has before; some of them are so crucial that we must address them immediately with both short and long-term strategic plans. Band-aid solutions will not work.
While The PanAngler normally covers fishing outside of the contiguous United States, this month’s issue will address domestic and international problems because they are either related or the same.