How to Make Money Fishing: 8 Awesome Ideas
Fishing is a great way to relax and enjoy nature – but it can also be a profitable hobby! From starting your own fishing guide business to writing about fishing, you’ll find creative ways to bring in some cash. Whether you are just looking to make a few extra dollars or you want to turn this into a full-time career, read on for some great ideas on how to make money fishing.
Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as individual financial or business advice. Consult an attorney and an accountant to discuss business structures, licensing, etc.
1. Become a fishing guide
If you love being on the water and helping others catch fish, why not become a fishing guide? This is a great way to share your passion with others.
Of course, becoming a fishing guide takes more than just knowing how to fish. You’ll need to be personable, a good teacher, and knowledgeable about the area you’ll be guiding in.
The requirements for becoming a fishing guide vary based on the state and how you’re conducting business.
In some states, you need a license from the state’s fish and game board to be a guide. In other states, you do not. In those later cases, if you’re meeting folks at a local lake and fishing rod and reel from the shore, you may not need any specific permits or licenses (aside from a DBA – doing business as – if you’re operating under another business name than your own).
However, if you’re planning to transport people on a boat, you will also likely need a commercial vessel license. And you’ll certainly want a good liability insurance policy in place.
Once you’ve crossed your T’s and dotted your I’s with all the logistical stuff, it’s time to get out there and promote your business! Share it on social media, create a Google business listing, and start a website that helps spread the word about your services.
Guiding can be hard work – but it’s also very rewarding. You’ll get to share your love of fishing with others and help them have a great time on the water. Plus, you can set your own hours and rates – so it’s a great way to make some extra cash on your own schedule.
2. Enter paid fishing competitions.
If you’re a competitive fisherman, why not put your skills to the test and enter some paid fishing competitions? These tournaments usually have entry fees, and the prize money goes to the top anglers.
Not only are competitions fun, but they give you an excuse to travel to some cool locations. It’s great to combine a vacation with one of these competitions, especially if traveling is part of your values-based budget.
You can find a list of the 30 biggest fishing competitions here, but you should also do a search and see what’s available to you locally. The prizes may be smaller, but you may be able to hit up several over the course of the year and they may have less competition than the big events.
3. Become a fishing blogger/influencer.
While you may be rolling your eyes at this one, hear me out. It can be a great way to turn a passion into a profit, and doesn’t require working directly with customers – making it less likely you’ll need to worry about permits and licenses (other than your basic business license requirements).
You can make money as a blogger/influencer in several ways:
- Use an ad network to display ads on your website, and bring in passive revenue. (As a note, most quality ad networks will accept you starting around 50,000 blog sessions a month. But there are some mid-tier networks that start around 10,000 page views).
- Partner with brands on sponsored content. The brand pays you to feature their product/service on your blog or social channels.
- Participate in affiliate marketing programs, where you share links to products and earn a commission when someone buys them.
- Start an Amazon influencer channel. You can create review videos of products sold on Amazon, and earn a commission when someone watches the video and purchases the product. (The bonus to this program is that after a certain number of approved videos, your videos will also appear on the product pages in addition to your influencer profile).
- Create digital courses or ebooks about fishing that you sell to your audience.
Of course, becoming a successful blogger or influencer takes time and effort. But if you’re dedicated and put in the work, it can be a very rewarding way to share your love of fishing while earning money.
4. Give fishing lessons to kids.
One of the best things about fishing is that it’s a great activity for all ages. And what better way to teach the next generation about this wonderful sport than by giving them fishing lessons! You could teach private lessons for one child at a time, or teach group lessons for a few.
You can see in the photo above, we set up fishing lessons for my son while on vacation in Iowa – he had a blast!
Similar to the section on being a guide, you’ll need to see if there are particular regulations about giving lessons – and you’ll almost certainly need a license and liability insurance if bringing kids out on a boat. From a liability and ease standpoint, it’s probably easier to giving shoreline fishing lessons.
Here are some helpful tips if you pursue this:
- When giving lessons to kids, you’ll need to be fun, enthusiastic, and able to keep their short attention span. Keep lessons short at the start.
- Give good instructions but also weave in fun storytelling that keeps them engaged.
- Be sure to set them up with the right equipment; most kids can start with a lightweight push-button spin-casting rod and reel combo.
- Try to find spaces that are open without too many close trees to avoid spending lots of time untangling the line while casting.
- If families are happy with your services, ask them to leave a Google review or provide a testimonial that you can use for social proof. This can be helpful in growing your business.
5. Become a freelance writer about fishing.
If you love to write and have a passion for fishing, why not combine the two and become a freelance writer?
There are many publications that cater to the fishing world, and they are always in need of new content. As a freelance writer, you could pitch stories about the best spots for fly-fishing, tips for beginners, bait suggestions, or profile pieces on local anglers.
Here are some examples of fishing publications that pay writers, with links to their submission guidelines:
With any publication, be sure to follow the guidelines specifically as far as how to submit a query and the timeline for the publication.
6. Sell your catch
If you’re a good fisherman, chances are you’ll have quite a few days where you’ve caught more than you need. Selling your catches can be a good way to make extra cash – but keep in mind there are many regulations that guide fish sales.
The official requirements vary from state to state, but most will require you to obtain a commercial fishing permit in order to sell what you’ve caught.
For example, here in Massachusetts, you can get an individual permit which allows you to sell what you (and only you) have caught, but you can only sell to a licensed dealer. This means you can’t sell seafood individually to folks in your neighborhood or at a farmers market. This permit is quite affordable though at just $65 (at the time of publish).
You can also sell “off the boat” directly to customers in Massachusetts if you obtain a commercial boat permit (up to $250, depending on the size of the boat) AND a retail boat seafood dealer permit ($65).
If dealing with federally managed species, you’ll also need a federal dealer’s permit (free).
As you can probably guess, the regulations can get quite confusing and may limit what types of fish you can sell and where. It’s best to chat with the regulatory bodies in your state to see what you need to do in order to get set up correctly.
7. Start a fishing-related app.
This one is a little out there, but stick with me. If you’ve got technical skills in addition to your fishing prowess, why not start an app that merges the two?
You could create…
- An app that helps beginners find places to fish, best timing, best bait, etc.
- An app that can help identify fish with the snap of a photo
- A dating app for fishing enthusiasts
- A meetup app to find friends/activities related to fishing and outdoor excursions
If you think outside the box, you might be surprised at what kind of success you can create. (And even if you don’t have the technical skills, you may have a great idea that you can pay someone else to execute.)
8. Open a fishing store.
This is a more traditional way to make money, and certainly requires a hefty investment up front if you plan to open a brick and mortar business.
But if you live in the right area and have a solid business plan, you may be able to create a great living with a store that sells bait and tackle and fishing gear. You could also offer paid lessons or workshops from your store to help generate additional revenue.
And keep in mind that opening a store doesn’t just have to be in-person – you could open an online shop as well.
An online store requires much less up front investment, especially if you start one that’s solely focused on drop shipping products or selling affiliate products (as either of these require no inventory on your part). Or you can start a FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) operation focused on fishing gear or fun fishing-related apparel.
The Bottom Line
There you have it – seven creative ways to make money fishing! Whether you’re looking to supplement your income or start your own fishing business, there’s an option for you. So get out there and start reeling in the profits (pun intended)! 😉