Fishing: Tracing the Decline of a Summertime Leisure Activity
Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high.
The quote above are the opening lyrics to the aria “Summertime” composed by George Gershwin with lyrics by DuBose Heyward from the opera Porgy and Bess. While it is the waning days of summer, and hopefully the living is easy, a declining percentage of Americans are taking up a rod and reel to take advantage of the jumping fish. To illustrate this point, Figure 1 shows that the number of fishing licenses issued and paid for across the 50 states per 100 people over the period from 2000 to 2013 has generally been in a slow, steady decline. The only exceptions to this are the presidential election years of 2004 and 2012 (what triggers this apparent increase in fishing interest in presidential election years is not known, but it is interesting to speculate about).