Newsflash: 50% of anglers lie about their catch!

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Updated on:
Depositphotos 170789602 s 2019

A new survey by fishing advice site Tackle Village has found that 53% of those who fish exaggerate the size of their catch when they are telling friends and family.

The survey of more than 500 anglers has shown once and for all that fibbing about fishing success is standard practice for more than half the angling population. Catching a big fish has an almost spiritual significance for many it seems.

So with one in every two anglers prepared to exaggerate the size of their catch, by how much do they increase the length or weight?

Our survey found:

  • Almost 30% of those who exaggerate the size of their catch opted to increase it by 10%
  • One-third of respondents added 20% to the size of their fish
  • About a quarter of respondents added 30% to the size of their catch
  • And the remaining 14% tended to exaggerate their catch size by more than 50%

Tackle Village spokesman and resident fishing guide Shawn Chapin said anglers put so much time into fishing they like to portray their efforts as successful.

“The survey shows what we all know as anglers – that many of us exaggerate how big the fish we catch are.

“I think anglers don’t really see it as telling a lie, it’s more that we tend to stretch the truth!

“I am sure we all have fishing friends whose fishing tales are just a little bit too tall to be true. Even with photos it is hard to tell how a big a fish is without a measuring tape or some other frame of reference in the shot.

“So these guys usually get away with a bit of exaggeration. What surprised us at Tackle Village was that more than one in 10 anglers adds more than 50% to the size of their catch!”

Forms response chart. Question title: Do you tend to exaggerate the size of the fish you catch when you tell friends or family?. Number of responses: 503 responses.
Forms response chart. Question title: If so, by how much (pick the closest answer)? You only need to complete this question if you answered 'Yes' above.. Number of responses: 284 responses.

Exact survey data:

Do you tend to exaggerate the size of the fish you catch when you tell friends or family?270 (53.7%)233 (46.3%)
If so, by how much?10%20%30%More than 50%
Response80 (28.2%)91 (32%)74 (26.1%)39 (13.7%)

Data obtained through a Tackle Village survey of 503 anglers conducted from 29 to 30 November 2020 using the Amazon Mechanical Turk platform and Google Forms

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Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He's appeared in fishing movies, founded a successful fishing site and spends every spare moment on the water.