4 Unbelievable Ways Fishing Can Help You Get Fit

By Debbie Hanson

Sep 02, 2014

For those who think fishing is a passive sport that doesn't involve much beyond baiting a hook and making a cast, you may want to think again.

For those who think fishing is a passive sport that doesn't involve much beyond baiting a hook and making a cast, you may want to think again. Fishing is exercise and can help you build strength in a number of different ways. Keep in mind that any time you are on a boat, your muscles are continually working against the waves to stabilize your body.


Here are four additional ways fishing can help you get fit:

  1. Throwing a cast net for bait. Catching enough live bait for a day of fishing usually requires several throws of a cast net that may weigh between 15 to 20 pounds (depending on the size of the net). To get a nice "pancake" spread out of the cast net and get it over to the bait, you will need to use your core muscles to rotate your body while using your arm muscles to gain enough momentum for a good throw. 

  2. Reeling in a hefty fish. Several fish species are capable of reaching weights that exceed 100 pounds (tarpon, sharks, marlin, sturgeon or tuna -- just to name a few). If you spend an hour fighting one of these behemoths, your biceps and triceps will certainly get toned. Big game anglers often use a fighting belt or gimbal belt in order to gain more leverage while using their back and leg muscles. 

  3. Holding up a trophy catch. Whoohoo! After you use your arm muscles for all that reeling, the hope is that you get to use them again as you hold up a trophy catch for a great photo opportunity. However, your strength may be tested as the fish tries to make an attempt at breaking free. Be sure to get a firm grip on the fish using both hands while being mindful of proper catch and release techniques if the fish is not within the slot limit or you don't plan to bring it home for dinner. 

  4. Dropping down and picking an anchor or trolling motor. If you have a smaller inshore or freshwater fishing boat with no electric anchor, you will need to use both your arm muscles and leg muscles in order to drop the anchor down and pull it back up. Just remember, lifting any heavy object, use the power in your legs to lift since it will help reduce the chance of back injury. The same principles apply when dropping or lifting up a trolling motor or anchor.

Before now, you may not have thought much about all the work your body is actually doing while you are out on the water. Can you think of other ways fishing is exercise? Share your fishing fitness tips by commenting on our Facebook page or logging into the Take Me Fishing Community.

Photo Credits: Rachel Piacenza, Stephanie West Vatalaro and Sandy Waite

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.