Retaining 2020’s New Anglers & Boaters

This past weekend a cold front blew in, and with it, thoughts of school starting, leaves falling and putting the boat away began to fill my head. It’s been a strange year, yet an extraordinary year for fishing and boating. RBFF has seen tremendous growth in the number of people looking for ‘where to,’ ‘how to,’ and state license information on Our digital assets have been visited 30 million times in 5 months compared to 18 million all of last year!

I don’t think anyone could have predicted this back in March, and we’re certainly quite happy about it. But we’re also concerned that we’ll see just as big of a downturn in 2021 if we don’t engage with the newcomers and convince them to stick with fishing and boating when they return to their regularly scheduled programming. Historically, two-thirds of new participants lapse out. So how can we get these newcomers to stay?

There are some basic marketing tactics that can help. Ask newcomers what they need via a survey, send them email communications about nearby places to fish and boat, and provide them with fish stocking and free fishing days information, along with other helpful tips. RBFF has a slew of free resources to help you get started with retention efforts.

We’re also embarking on a research project to better understand who those 2020 newcomers to fishing and boating are. We want to know what motivated them to try fishing and boating during the pandemic. What barriers do they face? And what do they need from us and from our stakeholders to support continued participation?

Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks and months but know that this data will be available free to RBFF stakeholders. It’s been an exceptional year and we can’t afford to miss out on this incredible opportunity to support the potentially millions of new participants as they “Get on Board,” creating new customers for your businesses and lifelong stewards of our aquatic natural resources.