Almost 11 million anglers took a fishing trip last year, and Florida remains the uncontested saltwater fishing capital of the nation. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s (NOAA) annual Fisheries of the United States 2013 report, about 33 percent of all saltwater fishing trips taken in the United States during 2013—25 million out of 70 million—took place in the Sunshine State. Florida has always been a big draw for anglers eager for a chance at fish like blue marlin, swordfish, or snapper. Last year the state drew in more than three million out-of-state anglers, a number that almost matched the number of sport fishermen living in the state. California, North Carolina, Louisiana, and New Jersey rounded out the top five fishing states based on number of trips taken.
“The estimated total marine recreational catch was over 430 million fish, of which almost 61 percent were released alive,” stated the report. “The estimated total weight of harvested catch was 239 million pounds. The Atlantic coast accounted for the majority of trips (nearly 52 percent) and catch (almost 51 percent). The Gulf coast accounted for over 37 percent of trips, and almost 45 percent of the catch. The Pacific coast accounted for 8 percent of trips, and almost 4 percent of the catch.”
The most popular fish based on number caught remains spotted seabass with 14 million harvested. Bluefish (6 million), red drum (5 million), Striped bass (2 million), and yellowfin tuna (0.3 million) were also key species harvested. Anglers in Florida alone harvested more than 58 million pounds of fish, while Louisiana anglers followed up with 32 million and New Jersey residents netted almost 17 million pounds.
Want to find out where your state stands? Check out the list compiled by NOAA below.