Press Releases

Performance Anxiety May Play a Role in Men Fishing

Most guys have fond childhood memories of fishing with family and friends. But as adults, some are hesitant to get back out on the water. Recent research released by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) suggests one reason for their reluctance:  performance anxiety.

Yes, you read that right. Guys don’t want to embarrass themselves in front of their kids or friends by appearing inept at tying a knot or by tangling a reel. 

“Guys often think they’re supposed to be experts at all outdoor activities, even if they haven’t done them in a while,” said Bruce Matthews, president of the RBFF. “Some guys shy away from fishing and boating because they’re afraid it might expose some inadequacy. But, in reality, there’s no reason for them to be intimidated.”

A recent study commissioned by the RBFF points to the idea that lack of knowledge is a serious constraint to people who want to get back into fishing. According to the report, inactive anglers reported a “greater incidence of lack of knowledge and fishing skills” than active anglers. The report goes on to suggest that “These constraints clearly can be addressed through education and outreach programs.”

Prepared by Anthony J. Fedler, Ph.D., of Human Dimensions Consulting in Gainesville, Florida, the report entitled, “Participation in Boating & Fishing,” can be viewed by using this link: Lit Review Final.

According to the RBFF, there are many ways to overcome performance anxiety. Matthews suggests that new equipment is making it easier for the average Joe to fish like a pro. Today, there are more places to fish, more resources to help find where to go and what to do, and more clubs and professional guides that can provide confidence out on the water. 

The website is a great resource for people interested in fishing and looking to arm themselves with as much knowledge as possible before heading out. The site provides insight such topics as: 

  • How to pick the best places to fish
  • When to go
  • How to select a good guide
  • How to boost success with the right boat, tackle, rods/reels, fish-finders, etc.

The popularity of fishing and boating continues to grow. In 2003, there were 1.5 million more people fishing than in 2002, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA). More than 50 million Americans participate in fishing and boating every year ? that’s more than play golf and tennis combined. Fishing and boating contribute approximately $36 billion to the nation’s economy.

About the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF)

The RBFF (

) is a government-funded, nonprofit organization established in 1998 to increase participation in recreational angling and boating, thereby increasing public awareness and appreciation of the need for protecting, conserving and restoring America’s aquatic natural resources.