Lifestyles of American anglers

Posted on: February 16, 2016 | Bob Frye | Comments

Blog--Angler lifestylesBob Frye / Tribune-Review
Some new research suggests anglers are motivated by different things to hit the water, based on a variety of factors.


Remember when Jeff Foxworthy’s “you might be a redneck” routine was all the rage?

He had a slew of jokes. All were good.

They started with things like “if the biggest sign on your place of business says ‘minnows,’” and “if you spend 40 hours a week at Walmart but don’t work there” and “if the family business requires a lookout,” and all ended with “you might be a redneck.”

Maybe the people who want to recruit anglers should hire him as a spokesman.

Not to poke fun. But to look at people from all walks of life and convince each of them that “you might be an angler.”

It turns out, fishermen and women are more varied than might once have been thought.

Southwick Associates, a Florida-based research polling firm, and the American Sportfishing Association have been working to figure out who fishes and why. They’ve been issuing a series of reports on their findings.

One of the most recent looked where anglers live and what they do with their free time.

Titled “Angler Segmentation: Looking at Licensed Anglers by Lifestyle,” it combines residency information with a neighborhood classification system that takes into account demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.

It turns out, a lot of neighborhoods — even if they appear outwardly different — hold fishermen. There are differences in things like what people fish for and what motivates them to hit the water, though.

For example, people in four lifestyle segments account for 62 percent of all anglers. They are typically older than 45, shop at discount stores, own their own homes and vehicles and are less likely to use computers.

Broken down further, those anglers are characterized by self-reliance, a love of outdoor recreation and rural living, the report says. These groups also tend to be oriented around family life.

But other people fish, too: educated and active empty nesters who choose to work longer to afford a vacation home; semi-retirees who’ve paid off their mortgages, have no desire to leave their communities and savor a slower pace of life; and well-educated suburbanites who love good food and wine, cultural events, home remodeling and gardening.

Having that kind of information is critical if fisheries agencies and other organizations focused on boosting fishing participation are to have any success, said Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates.

“By better understanding where current and potential new anglers live, and which messages and imagery will best resonate with targeted anglers, recruitment and retention efforts can be improved,” he said.

Bob Frye is the editor. Reach him at 412-838-5148 or See other stories, blogs, videos and more at

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Bob Frye is a storyteller with a passion for all things outdoors. He hunts, he fishes, he hikes, he camps, he paddles, backpacks and snowshoes depending on the season. If he’s not an expert at anything, it’s because he’s passionate to try a little bit of everything.