Getting down to business of fishing

My thinking is pretty focused while I’m fishing, and I’d never have imagined my activities as pieces and parts in a giant corporate puzzle. So it was interesting to learn recently we anglers would be a business powerhouse if we were incorporated.

Information arrived via Ohio Division of Wildlife last week from the American Sportfishing Association highlighting facts and figures about the impact of recreational fishing in America.

One of the facts stood out: If “fishing” were a company, the collective amount of money spent by anglers on fishing products would rank “Fishing Inc.” 51st on the Fortune 500 list.

Fishing generated $48 billion in retail sales in 2011, according to the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, conducted on behalf of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies by the Census Bureau and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

I reckon the few hundred (OK, maybe slightly more) bucks I spend annually on rods, reels, lures and such add up. I guess the boats and motors, electronics, nets, life jackets and all the other goodies and gadgets really do account for a good bit of cash.

Yea, they do ... like to the tune of $48 billion. That’s more than the sales of Lockheed Martin ($47 billion), Intel ($44 billion), Chrysler ($42 billion) or even Google ($38 billion).

I guess that explains why somebody somewhere is molding another jig, making another crankbait, pouring another plastic worm, and threading up another crawler harness. We anglers leave a lot of that stuff on lake bottoms each trip.

But lost lures are just the tip of the iceberg. A quality reel averages $100 a pop these days. Rods can cost $20 or $200, depending on what you want. I take 10 outfits to the lake each trip, and while they aren’t as consumable as the lures I use, rods and reels nevertheless are a significant part of my fishing investment, and other anglers’, too.

Forty-six million Americans fish each year. That’s more than play golf (21 million) and tennis (13 million) combined.

So we are numerous, and we don’t mind spending our hard-earned money.

That’s an economic powerhouse. It only makes me wonder how influential anglers might be if we ever got organized. What sort of impact might we have?

Somebody someday will figure that out, and when they do, America had better make way as we anglers swagger out to our lakes.

Don’t forget boat sticker

If you are among the one-third of Ohio’s boat owners whose registrations will expire March 1, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Watercraft recommends you renew online this year.

Ohio watercraft registrations are valid for three years. In the past, boaters have renewed at license agencies and through the mail. The new and convenient online renewal may be used 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Sept. 30 at

Ohio boat owners also may renew their registrations by mail through June 30, if they have no changes to information on their registration.

Ohioans also may renew watercraft registrations in person when visiting a watercraft registration agent. A watercraft registration agent list is available at or by calling the ODNR Division of Watercraft toll-free, 877-426-2837.

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