Whether you catch and release, or fish to eat, the practice of fishing dates back to the earliest times. The oldest known fishing hook dates back 40,000 years, and the practice of eating seafood by humans dates at least 164,000 years.
As a deeply cast practice in human history, it is no wonder that there are many ancient cultural aspects to fishing that are still present in a variety of people and cultures today. Fishing is an experience many use as a cultural way of life: custom, privilege, right of passage, or simply a very rewarding pastime. According to a National Survey of Wildlife-associated recreation, 14% of the U.S. population over the age of 16 — roughly 35.8 million Americans — participated in some form of fishing in the year 2016.
With millions of Americans fishing every year, anglers’ expenditures have a broad national economic and conservation impact. Anglers spend an estimated 49.8 billion per year in retail, including rods and equipment, customized gear such as polarized sunglasses or small gifts such as pens, keychains, and shot glasses with fishing sayings, slogans, and puns. These sales support 800,000 jobs in the industry, generating $38 billion in wages and $16 billion in federal, state and local taxes — with a total economic impact of $125 billion.
More than any other group, anglers support the nation’s conservation efforts, channeling $600 million into state fish and wildlife conservation and recreation programs, and investing more than $1 billion dollars in fisheries management and conservation through taxes on fishing equipment and license sales.
More Americans (nearly 1 in 7) take to the water with rod and wheel in hand, than play golf and tennis combined. Get ready for your next big fishing trip, support the fisherperson in your life, or promote your river guiding or fishing business with promotional items adorned with these fishing sayings, slogans, and puns.
Even the most serious of fishers can enjoy a good pun related to their favorite pastime and sport, and might further enjoy printing them on customized T-shirts . Consider these fun, whimsical, and clever puns.
- Reel Legend
- The Rodfather
- Have a reely good day
- Keepin’ it reel
- Reel women fish
- My old chum
- Seems a bit fishy to me
- You’ve been schooled
- Not bad, cod do better
- Any fin is possible, just don’t trout yourself
- Never trust unlicensed puns — always check they’re o-fish-al
- I’m hooked
- Who will be the sole survivor
- You betta believe it
- Good things come to those who bait
- Just hook it
Funny Fishing Quotes
A variety of positive attributes are associated with participating in fishing, including spending time with family or friends, enjoying and observing nature, getting away from the demands of life, experiencing the thrill of the chase, solitude, catching one’s own food, and a sense of adventure. With a long line of history and participation, many people have shared their thoughts, philosophy, or sage advice regarding fishing.
- “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” – Henry David Thoreau
- “Most of the world is covered by water. A fisherman’s job is simple: Pick out the best parts.” – Charles Waterman
- “Some go to church and think about fishing, others go fishing and think about God.” – Tony Blake
- “There is certainly something in angling that tends to produce a serenity of the mind.” – Washington Irving
- “I love fishing. You put that line in the water and you don’t know what’s on the other end. Your imagination is under there.” – Robert Altman
- “The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope” – John Buchan
- “Be patient and calm — for no one can catch fish in anger.” – Herbert Hoover
- “A trout is a moment of beauty known only to those who seek it.” – Arnold Gringrich
- “The great charm of fly-fishing is that we are always learning.” – Theodore Gordon
- “Fishing is not an escape from life, but often a deeper immersion into it.” – Harry Middleton
- “If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles.” – Doug Larson
- “Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains.” – Henry David Thoreau
- “If fishing is interfering with your business, give up your business.” – Sparse Grey Hackle AKA Alfred W. Miller
- “There are some fish that cannot be caught. It’s not that they are faster or stronger than other fish, they’re just touched by something extra.” – Edward Bloom in “Big Fish”
- “In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing” – Norman in “A River Runs Through It”
- “Bragging may not bring happiness, but no man having caught a large fish goes home through an alley.” – Ann Landers
- “There’s a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.” – Steven Wright
- “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.” – George Carlin
Fishing Sayings and “Catch” Phrases
Similarly, there are many phrases and sayings about fishing that offer humor or insight into fishing, or those that participate in the sport. These phrases may not be from celebrated or famed sources, but are still enjoyable for those looking to laugh.
- My dad was a fisherman, but he quit because his net income wasn’t enough
- You can tune a guitar, but you can’t tuna fish, unless of course you play bass
- I had to call in sick, my arm is in a cast
- I’d rather have a bad day fishing, than a good day at work
- You can’t buy happiness, but you can go fishing, and that’s pretty much the same thing
- The only thing I love more than fishing is being a Dad/Mom/Grandpa/Grandma
- A fisherman lives here with the catch of his life
- Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime
- If I’m not fishing, I’m thinking about it
- Of course, I talk to myself when I’m fishing. Sometimes I need expert advice
- There is no losing in fishing. You either catch or you learn. Either way, it’s better than work
- Work is for people who can’t fish
- When nothing is going right, go fishing
- Happiness is a big fish, and a witness
- Sometimes, when the water is quiet, you can almost hear the fish laughing at you
- Procrastifishing: the art of going fishing when you should be doing something else
Fishing is a wonderful outlet to experiencing the great outdoors, spending quality time with those that you are close to, as well as participating in a pastime that has taken place since the earliest of times. These quotes, puns, and phrases are a powerful way to share the humor, philosophy, and love that many hold for this timeless sport.