Press Releases

New Research Shows Opportunity to Engage New Audiences in High School Fishing Clubs
The study, commissioned by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, B.A.S.S., FLW and the Student Angler Federation gives details on membership, economic impact and opportunities

ALEXANDRIA, VA (February 19, 2019) – A new study, commissioned by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF), the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.), Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) and the Student Angler Federation (SAF) gives details on high school fishing club participation. The study, which identifies opportunity to engage new audiences in high school fishing clubs, also reveals value for fishing retailers and manufacturers.



  • Clubs appear to stimulate tackle sales.
    • The average club member spent $658 on fishing tackle in 2018, compared to $332 for non-club members of the same age.
  • Clubs appear to advance participants’ fishing skills.
    • Prior to joining, on average students rated their skill at 5.6 on a scale of 1-10, and currently rate their skills at 7.7.
  • Members were motivated by “fun” and “competition.”
  • Club members went fishing 20 or more times in the past 12 months.
  • Only 1% of club members had no prior fishing experience.
  • 96% of club members reported having a family member that fishes at least once per year.
  • There is an opportunity to grow and diversify these clubs.
    • Highest concentration of clubs in rural/semirural areas of the South and Midwest.
    • 93% of participants are male
    • 95% of participants are white
  • Opportunities:
    • Boat clubs should consider partnering with clubs to increase access.
    • Introduce clubs into urban areas to diversify club membership.

In contrast to the traditional and avid members brought in by most clubs, one program in Florida that received partial funding from RBFF’s State R3 Program Grant in 2016 could serve as a model for what clubs could strive for in the future. The Miami-Dade based program, a partnership between the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission and FLW, brought in more novice participants (37%), with only 54% being white and 24% Hispanic.

“Before embarking on this project, we had a hunch that high school fishing clubs were valuable to the industry, but likely weren’t driving participation growth. This research supports that as 99% of participants already fished prior to joining a club,” said Frank Peterson, RBFF President & CEO. “But, that doesn’t mean there isn’t opportunity here. We see a tremendous opportunity to encourage clubs to help recruit a more diverse membership and turn those new members into lifelong anglers.”

According to Southwick Associates President Rob Southwick, who conducted the study, the biggest opportunity to tap into these clubs may be among retailers and manufacturers. “High school anglers are early adopters and have spent more money on fishing gear than their non-fishing club peers,” said Southwick. “High school anglers are influencers, having significant sway on the fishing tackle brands chosen by others of their age.”

“At a time when fishing participation is becoming increasingly diverse, these fishing clubs can become our industry’s drivers of inclusive participation on the front lines,” added Peterson.

The full report, which includes brand preferences, barriers to participation and more is available in the RBFF Resource Center.



About the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF)

RBFF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase participation in recreational angling and boating, thereby protecting and restoring the nation’s aquatic natural resources. RBFF developed the award-winning Take Me Fishing™ and Vamos A Pescar™ campaigns to create awareness around boating, fishing and conservation, and educate people about the benefits of participation. Take Me Fishing and Vamos A Pescar help boaters and anglers of all ages and experience levels learn, plan and equip for a day on the water. The campaign websites,, and, feature how-to videos, information on how to get a fishing license and boat registration, and an interactive state-by-state map that allows visitors to find local boating and fishing spots.


About B.A.S.S.

B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 510,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (, television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For more than 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Open Series, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.


About FLW

FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money in 2019 across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, with offices in Minneapolis, FLW and its partners conduct more than 290 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Portugal, South Africa and Spain. FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW" television show while FLW Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. For more information, visit and follow FLW at FacebookTwitterInstagramYouTube and Snapchat.


About Southwick Associates

Southwick Associates, located in Fernandina Beach, Fla., specializes in fish and wildlife economics and related business statistics.

For further information: David Rodgers,, 703-253-7268