Many retailers have been seeing a rise in sales of fishing and outdoor equipment especially starter rod and reel combos since the Pandemic hit. Many people were not able to enjoy other outdoor activities with social distancing measures put into place so lots took up  trying out fishing for the first time or getting back into the sport which they had not done for awhile with life being just so busy. One silver lining to the pandemic is that it made a lot of us slowdown, without the need to rush everywhere and enjoy the slower pace of life. Once that new angler catches their first fish they will be hooked just like how we all were when we entered the sport we love so much.

Searches on the internet for fishing and how to fish information have increased by over 300% during the Pandemic.

Fishing is definitely a sport that lends itself to social distancing. I mean you really don’t want to stand too close to someone and tangle up your lines or mix up your gear!

This past year and a half has been an absolute roller coaster ride for fishing equipment manufactures. Disruptions to supply chains, factory closures, canceled events and changes to work places have really challenged the companies who make and sell the gear we use.

And, increased stress levels and anxiety due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic has definitely affected peoples mental health.

Fishing is not only great for your mental health, its also a fantastic stress relief and a great way to connect with your friends and family without being behind your phone screen. The ability to pass down angling knowledge from Grandfather to Grandson or Father to Daughter can provide you with that sense of connection or belonging that you require. You are making memories and staying safe all at the same time.

Just this past September we were able to visit family in Manitoba. There were 10 of us lined up on the shores of the Red River fishing, we had 5 adults and 5 kids with half of us never having fished before. Even having 10 lines in the water all with different baits the fish just weren’t biting that day. It was still such a fun day with so many memories made and such a blast teaching them how to fish! Nothing beats fall colours on the shore of the Red River.

Mental Health and Fishing

Being in nature has been known to improve your mental health. Studies have showed that participants who went on a 90 minute walk through a natural environment reduced the neural activity in the area of the brain linked with the risk mental illness.

While fishing you get to soak up some vitamin D from being out in the sun which is also a great mood booster. Vitamin D helps regulate the amount of Calcium and Phosphate in your body, keeping your bones and teeth healthy as well as boosting your immune system and even being linked to fighting off depression.

Results have shown that fishing has also been proven to be more effective than biking, camping or hiking as a mental health aide, making it the leader of all outdoor hobbies for mental wellness.

Fishing requires focus and awareness. This takes your mind off of stress much similar to meditation. This results in relaxed anxiety, promotes relaxation and helps fight off depression.

Studies have shown that fishing lowers your Cortisol levels (also known as the stress hormone). This effect can last for as long as three weeks after a fishing trip. Fishing has even been used to help people who have experienced trauma or suffer from PTSD. In fact, in Ontario Christine Lapeer, a former mental health nurse in the federal penitentiary system offers first responders and veterans to join her on fishing excursions, as a way to deal with mental health challenges that often come with the job. Follow her on Instagram:

There are dozens of organizations around the world dedicated to fishing therapy. Fishing has been used to help heal both the body and the mind for years now, long before COVID was even around.

Fishing provides a form of relaxation by giving us a distraction from everyday life. According to marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols,  “being near or on water for any amount of time lowers stress and anxiety, boosts our well being and happiness and lowers heart and breathing rates among other benefits”.

Physical inactivity by sleeping the day away can really affect your mental health. Getting outside and fishing is a great physical activity especially when you are hiking into those secret fishing holes or along the river banks; wading in the water for four hours can burn as much as 1000 calories. Walking on those slippery rocks, along with swift river currents will challenge your balance and cause resistance to the muscles in your legs as you wade making them stronger. Being physically active can give your body the boost that it needs. There is really nothing better then breathing in all the fresh air from being in the great outdoors, and then getting your heart pumping as you land that fish! Fishing from a kayak provides you with a full body workout. Just balancing on a boat is great for your core, let alone fighting a fish while you are at it!

There is no exact science to fishing, that lucky lure which you caught the big one the day before may not work the next day or the time after that. Trouble shooting fishing rod issues (and trust me we also have a lot especially with my son’s bait caster rod), changing up lures to what you think the fish may like and finding different fishing locations may all seem like small problems however all these sorts of challenges are actually helping you improve your problem solving skills and becoming a creative thinker.

Most of us can hardly sit still for five minutes without subconsciously scrolling through our phones. Lots of stress and worry to people come from being online and on social media. The solution to this is just to simply unplug and go fishing!

Fishing is ideal for social distancing. When you are out in the fresh air, at a safe distance from one another you are able to make meaningful relationships that you just can’t do on zoom or Skype. There is no better feeling when fellow anglers on shore are just as excited about the fish you caught as you are. We all need social interactions for our mental health and fishing is a way we can socialize safely!


People Are Getting Hooked On Fishing!

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