Fishing is more than a hobby, It’s like joining a fraternity

By Tom Keer

Jun 11, 2014

When you become an angler you’re enrolling in an organization that is far larger than you might expect.

When you become an angler you’re enrolling in an organization that is far larger than you might expect. With some 39 million freshwater conventional anglers, about 12 million saltwater conventional anglers and about 6 million fly rodders you’re enlisting in a group about 47 million strong. Like any big group there are a few bad apples, but there isn’t one strong enough to spoil the whole bunch.

During the season you’ll see us in predictable places. These places depend on where you live, mind you, and their popularity is based on what you’re catching. We night fish for striped bass out here on the Cape, so you’ll see your angling brethren getting a cup of convenient store coffee at 10 PM. You’ll see us rolling into the tackle shops just after day break to fill in the gaps of where the fish are and what they were hitting. We help anyone who is interested in being a better angler.


I recently read an offer by Capt. Hap Farrell of Stunmai II Charters. Capt. Farrell sails out of Rock Harbor in Orleans, MA. Capt. Hap publishes weekly fishing reports through Goose Hummock, a local tackle shop. In one report he offered to tell recreational anglers where the fish are and how to fish for ‘em. That may seem counter-productive to a charter captain trying to make his living from catching fish, but Cap’n found it actually streamlines the fishing process by educating anglers about how the charter boats work an area. More fun, less heartburn, way to go, Cap’n.


Fishermen see the big picture. We know to be efficient in our jobs so we can wrap up work as quickly as possible and get out on the water. We are interested in the environment, water quality and fish populations. We want to spend time with family and friends. None of us minds the days where we have to work hard to catch fish, when it is windy or when it rains. Those days make the easy times with light wind and sun that much sweeter. When fishermen meet fellow fishermen there is a common bond that is different from folks who pursue other sports. Ours is not better, but it is different. And it’s why we like to share stories about the one that got away even more than the one that didn’t. See you on the water.

Tom Keer
Tom Keer
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at or at