50 Famous Quotes About Fishing & Funny Fishing Sayings  (2022)

A man and his son fishing sunset.
Table of Contents

    Fishing is one of the world’s most universal pastimes, a traditional activity carried out for generations by people from every country. Fishing is a hobby, a job, a source of food, and absolutely anyone can do it. Fishing is even good for you, so there’s no reason not to give it a try. No matter your age, gender, social status, or fitness level, everyone can participate in the sport of fishing. 

    In this article, we’ve compiled 50 of the best fishing quotes from all sorts of famous names. We’ve also included a list of the funniest quotes about fishing, perfect for slipping into a birthday card. Not everyone understands the appeal of a day spent on the river bank, but these famous fishing sayings help explain the popular pastime. Read on to feel inspired to pick up your rod and head out on a fishing trip soon! 


    Two men fishing.

    These quotes will make you hungry for your next fishing trip.


    1. “The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions of hope.” -John Buchan 


    2. “Fishing provides time to think, and reason not to. If you have the virtue of patience, an hour or two of casting alone is plenty of time to review all you’ve learned about the grand themes of life. It’s time enough to realize that every generalization stands opposed by a mosaic of exceptions, and that the biggest truths are few indeed.” -Carl Safina 


    3. “Fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers.” -Herbert Hoover


    Herbert Hoover was the 31st President of the United States, and he was also an avid angler. Hoover’s love of fishing was well known and he enjoyed the pastime his entire life. He spoke many times on his love for the sport, but in this quote, he points out perfectly what many people miss about fishing. This hobby is not about catching animals at all but in fact a chance to appreciate the lives of our ancestors. 


    4. “There are always new places to go fishing. For any fisherman, there’s always a new place, a new horizon.” -Jack Nicklaus


    5. “Fishing provides that connection with the whole living world. It gives you the opportunity of being totally immersed, turning back into yourself in a good way. A form of meditation, some form of communion with levels of yourself that are deeper than the ordinary self.” -Ted Hughes


    6. “Fishing is a discipline in the equality of men- for all men are equal before fish.” -Herbert Hoover


    7. “Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not the fish they are after.” -Henry David Thoreau

    This poignant quote from American philosopher Henry David Thoreau makes an excellent observation about fishermen, as well as those who judge them. Even if those who enjoy the sport of angling don’t realize it, they’re benefiting massively from that peaceful time spent in nature. Even if you go in search of fish, you’ll return with something much better. 


    8. “Most of the world is covered by water. A fisherman’s job is simple: Pick out the best parts.” -Charles Waterman


    9. “As no man is born an artist, so no man is born an angler.” -Izaak Walton

    “If your concentration is getting bad, take up bass fishing. It will really improve your ability to focus. If you aren’t ready when that fish hits, you can’t set the hook.” -Lee Trevino 

    Lee Trevino is regarded by many as one of the greatest players in the history of golf, but here he offers advice that everyone can benefit from. No matter your usual profession, bass fishing can help anyone to improve their patience and concentration. As well as offering a potential tasty dinner, fishing to improve concentration can help in every area of your life. 


    10. “I love fishing. You put a line in the water and you don’t know what’s on the other end. Your imagination is under there.” -Robert Altman


    11. “If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago.” -Zane Grey 


    12. “Fishing is a great relief for me. When I’m out, there’s no cell phone ringing. I’m out there fishing with bears. I’m in the middle of God’s country catching tons of fish. I absolutely love it.” -Rich Barry 


    13. “I’ve gone fishing thousands of times in my life, and I have never once felt unlucky or poorly paid for those hours on the water.” -William Tapply 

    So many novice fishermen misunderstand the point of spending a day on the water. Even if you come home empty-handed, you haven’t been unlucky; a man who spends his day fishing is the luckiest man in the world, no matter his catch. 


    13. “A bad day of fishing is better than a good day of work.” -Unknown


    14. “Be patient and calm – for no one can catch fish in anger.” -Herbert Hoover 


    15. “There is certainly something in angling that tends to produce a serenity of the mind.” -Washington Irving 


    16. “Having a fishing rod in your hand is merely an excuse to explore out-of-sight depths and reveal mysteries that previously only existed in dreams.” -Fennel Hudson

    Several of our favorite fishing quotes come from Fennel Hudson, a lifelong outdoor enthusiast. His beautiful writings on fishing and being in the countryside perfectly outline why angling is so attractive. When you’re sitting by the water, waiting for a bite, that is the time when your mind is freest to explore life’s many possibilities. 


    17. “Fishing in a place is a meditation on the rhythm of a tide, a season, the arc of a year, and the seasons of life.” -Carl Safina 


    18. “Once I retire and slow down, I don’t want to be in New York. I want to be somewhere near a lake or a pond, so that on my days when I have nothing to do, I can go fishing.” -Sharon Jones 

    Sharon Jones was a highly successful soul and funk singer who spent most of her life in the busy streets of New York. When asked how she wanted to spend her later years, Jones expressed a desire to get away from the action. What better way to pass by your retirement than sitting in nature with a fishing rod? 


    19. “One thing becomes clearer as one gets older and one’s fishing experience increases, and that is the paramount importance of one’s fishing companions.” -John Ashley-Cooper


    20. “More than half the intense enjoyment of fly-fishing is derived from the beautiful surroundings, the satisfaction felt from being in the open air, the new lease of life secured thereby, and the many, many pleasant recollections of all one has seen, heard and done.” -Charles F. Orvis


    21. “There will be days when the fishing is better than one’s most optimistic forecast, others when it is far worse. Either is a gain over just staying home.” -Roderick L. Haig-Brown 

    You can never come home from a day of fishing disappointed unless you’re doing it wrong. It doesn’t matter whether you catch the most fish of your life, or don’t get a single bite; all anglers know that the true joy of fishing is in quiet appreciation of nature. There will always be times when your catch isn’t what you expect, but with each, you gain experience and become a better angler. 


    22. “Fishing is marvelous… there is the irresistible urge to tangle with the mysterious and unknown, to rely on intuition and hunches.” -Katharine Weber 


    23. “There is nothing like the thrill of expectation over the first cast in unfamiliar waters. Fishing is like gambling, in that failure only excites hope of a fortunate throw next time.” -Charles Dudley Warner 


    24. “The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.” -Vincent Van Gogh

    Legendary artist Vincent Van Gogh painted many pictures of sailboats and fishermen. He noticed that even though every fisherman knew the perils which awaited them, they still went out each day to fish. It takes a lot to stop an angler from going out on the water, as for many this is where they feel at home. 


    25. “I used to like fishing because I thought it had some larger significance. Now I like fishing because it’s the one thing I can think of that probably doesn’t.” -John Gierach


    Famous fishing jokes have been attributed to everyone from Ernest Hemingway to Vincent Van Gogh.


    26. “The two biggest things that translate from a pitching mound to hunting and fishing are patience and perseverance. When you’re on the mound, you have to take the game one pitch at a time, regardless of the score, and that approach helps when I’m in the woods or out on the water as well.” -Jon Lester 


    27. “Game fish are too valuable to be caught only once.” -Lee Wulff 

    Lee Wulff made many contributions to the angling world in his time, particularly towards fly fishing. He was also a conservationist, which makes understanding his viewpoint in this quote much easier. However, what he says is correct; all the joy and anticipation an angler experiences when reeling in a prize-winning fish can be shared. Instead of killing such a specimen, you can return it to be enjoyed again by another fishing enthusiast. 


    28. “All Americans believe that they are born fishermen. For a man to admit a distaste for fishing would be like denouncing mother-love or hating moonlight.” -John Steinbeck 


    29. “He who wants to catch fish must not mind getting wet.” -Spanish Proverb 


    30. “I still don’t know why I fish or why other men fish, except that we like it and it makes us think and feel.” -Roderick L. Haig-Brown 


    31. “The true angler can welcome even a low river and a dry year, and learn of it, and be the better for it, in mind and in spirit.” -G.M.W. Wemyss


    32. “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” -Anne Ritchie 

    This old adage is probably the most famous fishing saying of all time and is applied to many areas of life. However, if we take away the metaphorical meanings, this quote from Anne Ritchie still has something important to say. While helping people is important, there is nothing more valuable than teaching someone to help (and feed) themselves. 


    Funny Fishing Quotes

    33. “If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles.” -Doug Larson

    This hilarious quote from Doug Larson is probably something most fishermen can agree on. When we really break it down and think about the most vital aspects of human happiness, a shortage of fishing poles could indeed be the result. This way, more people would come around to the meditative enjoyment of angling, and maybe even make the world a better place. 


    34. “There is a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.” -Steven Wright


    35. “The fishing was good; it was the catching that was bad.” -A.K. Best


    36. “There are only two occasions when Americans respect privacy, especially in Presidents. Those are prayer and fishing.” -Herbert Hoover

    Many people who fish do it to escape the pressures of their everyday lives, and no one is in more need of this than the President. When you need some peace and solitude, there are only a few activities you can turn to which people will respect. Prayer is one example, and fishing is another which Hoover found to be effective. 


    37. “Somebody behind you, while you are fishing, is as bad as someone looking over your shoulder while you write a letter to your girl.” -Ernest Hemingway 


    38. “Some go to church and think about fishing, others go fishing and think about God.” -Tony Blake 


    39. “I got 99 problems and fishin’ solves all of ‘em” -Earl Dibbles Jr. 

    Country music singer Earl Dibbles Jr. wrote this line in one of his songs in a funny but accurate observation. No matter how many problems and worries in your life, they can all be solved by a day of contemplation and a fishing rod. 


    40. “Creeps and idiots cannot conceal themselves for long on a fishing trip.” -John Gierach 


    41. “There is no use in walking five miles to fish when you can depend on being just as unsuccessful near home.” -Mark Twain


    42. “Calling fishing a hobby is like calling brain surgery a job.” -Paul Schullery 

    Many anglers don’t like it when fishing is called a hobby, as for most enthusiasts it’s much more than that. This comparison from Paul Schullery points out that while brain surgery is of course a profession, it’s not just a simple job. It’s a passion that you dedicate your life towards. In the same way, fishing is no simple hobby. Those who call themselves anglers spend time, energy, and money working towards a greater ideal of a lifestyle. This funny quote is simply saying that fishing is not what you do, but who you are. 


    43. “If fishing is a religion, fly fishing is high church.” -Tom Brokaw 


    44. “Three-fourths of the Earth’s surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn.” -Chuck Clark 

    This funny fishing quote makes an excellent point that the earth is indeed mostly water, so it follows that God intended for most time to be spent fishing. Why should you spend so much time tending your lawn and all the other mundane tasks we have to complete when you could be out on one of the best fishing lakes?


    45. “My biggest worry is that when I’m dead and gone, my wife will sell my fishing gear for what I said I paid for it.” -Koos Brandt 


    46. “All the romance of trout fishing exists in the mind of the angler and is in no way shared by the fish.” -Harold F. Blaisdell 


    47. “Anytime I can sneak in a moment to fish and ride horses, I’m a happy camper!” -George Foreman


    48. “Do not tell fish stories where the people know you. Particularly, don’t tell them where they know the fish.” -Mark Twain 


    A man fishing on a lake.

    Fishermen are easy to please; a rod and some water are all they need.


    Final Verdict: 

    Almost all famous sayings about fishing center around one point; that it’s not just about catching fish. As put by Paul Schullery, fishing is so much more than just a hobby. It’s a form of meditation, a passion, even a lifestyle. So many people dedicate their lives to the sport of angling, a love of fishing is shared around the world. There’s no other activity that can provide food for the table at the same time as sustaining your soul. 


    Bonus tip: Check out this video for some hilarious fishing jokes! 



    Riley Draper

    Riley Draper is a writer and entrepreneur from Chattanooga, Tennessee. As a world traveler, he has been to more than fifty countries and hiked some of the most elusive trails in the world. He is the co-founder of WeCounsel Solutions and has published work in both national and global outlets, including the Times Free Press, Patch, and Healthcare Global. When he's not writing, he's probably on a hiking trip or climbing in the mountains.