Some think of fishing as a sport. To others it's a lifestyle.
To some Fortune 100 companies, including global aerospace and technology giant Honeywell, fishing is an industry providing products for 33 million U.S. anglers who spend an estimated $48 billion per year on equipment, transportation and lodging, supporting 828,000 jobs, according to the American Sportfishing Association.
What's that have to do with Honeywell? The company's Advanced Fibers and Composites branch manufactures Spectra fiber, which is used in some of the strongest and most popular braided fishing lines. Last year Honeywell commissioned Southwick Associates, a Florida-based research firm specializing in attitudes on the outdoors and outdoor recreation, to do some demographic digging on anglers who might find braided fishing lines in their tackle boxes.
The survey found that 55 percent of avid anglers said they would rather buy new fishing gear than home improvement materials, home electronics, clothing or other items. Eighty-three percent of anglers who are not retired said they planned to shape retirement plans around fishing, and 88 percent said they hoped to fish more often in retirement than they do now. Nearly all currently retired anglers -- 96 percent -- said they now fish as often, if not more often, than they did before retirement.
The survey got a little wacky: Seven in 10 respondents said they'd rather fish than spend a day with family, at a sporting event or participating in another outdoor activity like hiking or hunting. Two-thirds said they had missed work in order to go fishing, and more than half -- 54 percent -- said they would give up a chance to meet Barack Obama in exchange for a perfect day of fishing.
"Anglers are a very passionate and dedicated group, and they strive to achieve great outcomes from the time and money they put into their sport," said Honeywell's Mark Saholsky, in a written statement.
Southwick Associates president Rob Southwick concurred, adding, "We have conducted extensive research on the fishing industry, and this survey by Honeywell confirms that serious anglers are willing to devote significant time and attention to their sport."
Hunting on public, private lands
In another Southwick survey, about two-thirds of hunters said they hunted mostly on private properties, while about a third hunted mostly on public lands. Respondents said the lands they most often hunt were: owned by a friend or family member, 39 percent; public property, 30 percent; their own property, 16 percent; property they leased, 11 percent.