Game fish
Game fish are fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

 pursued for sport
A Sport is all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical fitness and provide entertainment to participants. Sport may be competitive, where a winner or winners can be identified by objective means, and may require a degree...

 by recreational anglers. They can be freshwater or marine fish. Game fish can be eaten after being caught, though increasingly anglers practise catch and release
Catch and release
Catch and release is a practice within recreational fishing intended as a technique of conservation. After capture, the fish are unhooked and returned to the water before experiencing serious exhaustion or injury...

 to improve fish populations. Some game fish are also targeted commercially
Commercial fishing
Commercial fishing is the activity of catching fish and other seafood for commercial profit, mostly from wild fisheries. It provides a large quantity of food to many countries around the world, but those who practice it as an industry must often pursue fish far into the ocean under adverse conditions...

, particularly salmon
Salmon is the common name for several species of fish in the family Salmonidae. Several other fish in the same family are called trout; the difference is often said to be that salmon migrate and trout are resident, but this distinction does not strictly hold true...



The species of fish pursued by anglers varies with geography. Some fish are sought for their value as food
Seafood is any form of marine life regarded as food by humans. Seafoods include fish, molluscs , crustaceans , echinoderms . Edible sea plants, such as some seaweeds and microalgae, are also seafood, and are widely eaten around the world, especially in Asia...

 while others are pursued for their fighting abilities or for the difficulty of pursuit. The thrill of reeling in the biggest fish of one's life is what keeps this sport going.

Big game
Big-game fishing
Big-game fishing, often referred to as offshore sportfishing, offshore gamefishing, or blue-water fishing is a form of recreational fishing, targeting large fish renowned for their sporting qualities, such as tuna and marlin.-History:...

 fish are bony saltwater fish such as tuna
Tuna is a salt water fish from the family Scombridae, mostly in the genus Thunnus. Tuna are fast swimmers, and some species are capable of speeds of . Unlike most fish, which have white flesh, the muscle tissue of tuna ranges from pink to dark red. The red coloration derives from myoglobin, an...

 and billfish
The term billfish is applied to a number of different large, predatory fish characterised by their large size and their long, sword-like bill. Billfish include the sailfish and marlin, which make up the family Istiophoridae, and the swordfish, sole member of the family Xiphiidae...

'Sailfish' are two species of fish in the genus Istiophorus, living in warmer sections of all the oceans of the world. They are predominately blue to gray in color and have a characteristic erectile dorsal fin known as a sail, which often stretches the entire length of the back...

, marlin
Marlin, family Istiophoridae, are fish with an elongated body, a spear-like snout or bill, and a long rigid dorsal fin, which extends forward to form a crest. Its common name is thought to derive from its resemblance to a sailor's marlinspike...

 and swordfish
Swordfish , also known as broadbill in some countries, are large, highly migratory, predatory fish characterized by a long, flat bill. They are a popular sport fish of the billfish category, though elusive. Swordfish are elongated, round-bodied, and lose all teeth and scales by adulthood...

  • In North America, anglers fish also for snook
    Snook or Snoek may refer to:* Fish in the family** Centropomidae especially the common snook.** Gempylidae ** Percidae ** Scombridae , subfamily: Scombrinae** Sphyraenidae...

    , redfish
    Redfish is a common name for several species of fish. It is most commonly applied to members of the deep-sea genus Sebastes, or the reef dwelling snappers, Lutjanus. It is also applied to the slimeheads or roughies , and the alfonsinos ....

    , salmon
    Salmon is the common name for several species of fish in the family Salmonidae. Several other fish in the same family are called trout; the difference is often said to be that salmon migrate and trout are resident, but this distinction does not strictly hold true...

    , trout
    Trout is the name for a number of species of freshwater and saltwater fish belonging to the Salmoninae subfamily of the family Salmonidae. Salmon belong to the same family as trout. Most salmon species spend almost all their lives in salt water...

    , bass
    Bass (fish)
    Bass is a name shared by many different species of popular gamefish. The term encompasses both freshwater and marine species. All belong to the large order Perciformes, or perch-like fishes, and in fact the word bass comes from Middle English bars, meaning "perch."-Types of basses:*The temperate...

    , pike
    Esox is a genus of freshwater fish, the only living genus in the family Esocidae — the esocids which were endemic to North America, Europe and Eurasia during the Paleogene through present.The type species is E. lucius, the northern pike...

    , catfish
    Catfishes are a diverse group of ray-finned fish. Named for their prominent barbels, which resemble a cat's whiskers, catfish range in size and behavior from the heaviest and longest, the Mekong giant catfish from Southeast Asia and the second longest, the wels catfish of Eurasia, to detritivores...

    , walleye
    Walleye is a freshwater perciform fish native to most of Canada and to the northern United States. It is a North American close relative of the European pikeperch...

     and muskellunge
    A muskellunge , also known as a muskelunge, muscallonge, milliganong, or maskinonge , is a large, relatively uncommon freshwater fish of North America. Muskellunge are the largest member of the pike family, Esocidae...

    . The smallest fish are called panfish
    A panfish, also spelled pan-fish or pan fish, is an edible game fish that usually doesn't outgrow the size of a frying pan. The term is also commonly used by anglers to refer to any small catch that will fit in a pan, but is large enough to be legal. However its definition and usage varies with...

    , because they can fit in a normal cooking pan. Examples are crappie
    Crappie is a genus of freshwater fish in the sunfish family of order Perciformes. The type species is P. annularis, the white crappie...

    s, perch
    Perch is a common name for fish of the genus Perca, freshwater gamefish belonging to the family Percidae. The perch, of which there are three species in different geographical areas, lend their name to a large order of vertebrates: the Perciformes, from the Greek perke meaning spotted, and the...

    , rock bass
    Rock bass
    The rock bass , also known as the rock perch, goggle-eye, or red eye is a species of freshwater fish in the sunfish family of order Perciformes. They are similar in appearance to smallmouth bass but are usually quite a bit smaller...

    , bluegill
    The Bluegill is a species of freshwater fish sometimes referred to as bream, brim, or copper nose. It is a member of the sunfish family Centrarchidae of the order Perciformes.-Range and distribution:...

     and sunfish
    Lepomis is a genus of freshwater fish in the sunfish family of order Perciformes. The most recognizable species of the sixteen in this genus is the Bluegill....

    . Panfish are often hunted by younger anglers.

  • In the United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

    , "game fish" refers to Salmonids (other than grayling) – that is, salmon
    Salmon is the common name for several species of fish in the family Salmonidae. Several other fish in the same family are called trout; the difference is often said to be that salmon migrate and trout are resident, but this distinction does not strictly hold true...

    , trout
    Trout is the name for a number of species of freshwater and saltwater fish belonging to the Salmoninae subfamily of the family Salmonidae. Salmon belong to the same family as trout. Most salmon species spend almost all their lives in salt water...

     and char
    Salvelinus is a genus of salmonid fish often called char or charr; some species are called "trout". Salvelinus is a member of the Salmoninae subfamily of the Salmonidae family. Charr may be identified by light cream pink or red spots over a darker body. Scales tend to be small, with 115-200 along...

    . Other freshwater fish are called coarse fish
    Coarse fishing
    Coarse fishing is a term used in the United Kingdom and Ireland for angling for coarse fish, which are those types of freshwater fish other than game fish . The sport and the techniques used are particularly popular in the United Kingdom and mainland Europe.-History:The term "coarse fishing"...


  • In Japan
    Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

    , recreational angling and fly fishing is also very popular.

Common game fish have been transported worldwide. Rainbow trout
Rainbow trout
The rainbow trout is a species of salmonid native to tributaries of the Pacific Ocean in Asia and North America. The steelhead is a sea run rainbow trout usually returning to freshwater to spawn after 2 to 3 years at sea. In other words, rainbow trout and steelhead trout are the same species....

, for instance, can now be found nearly anywhere that the climate
Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

 is appropriate, from their original home on the Pacific Coast
Pacific Coast
A country's Pacific coast is the part of its coast bordering the Pacific Ocean.-The Americas:Countries on the western side of the Americas have a Pacific coast as their western border.* Geography of Canada* Geography of Chile* Geography of Colombia...

 of North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 to the mountains of southern Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...


Fishing for Sea Bass

In North America, fishing for bass is a favorite activity among anglers. However, it is important to note that Bass is a name that many different species of popular game fish share. These are the most well known basses:
  • Temperate basses and black bass
    Black bass
    Micropterus , is a genus of freshwater fish in the sunfish family of order Perciformes. The type species is M. dolomieu, the smallmouth bass...

    es (although these are colloquial terms)
  • Striped bass
    Striped bass
    The striped bass is the state fish of Maryland, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and the state saltwater fish of New York, Virginia, and New Hampshire...

     and white bass
    White bass
    The white bass or sand bass The white bass or sand bass The white bass or sand bass (MoroneIt is the state fish of Oklahoma.- Range :White bass are distributed widely across the United States, particularly in the midwest. They are very abundant in Pennsylvania and the area around Lake Erie...

     which are temperate basses
  • Largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass
    Spotted bass
    The Spotted Bass , also called "Spotty", "Leeman", or "Spots" in various fishing communities, is a species of freshwater fish sunfish family of order Perciformes. One of the black basses, it is native to the Mississippi River basin and across theGulf States, from central Texas through the Florida...

    es are NOT sea bass
    Black sea bass
    The black sea bass is an exclusively marine fish. It is a type of Grouper found more commonly in northern than in southern ranges.It inhabits the coasts from Maine to NE Florida and the eastern Gulf of Mexico....

    es. They are a freshwater sunfish, with the largemouth bass also known as a black bass. Hence the confusion.

Although sea bass is highly popular, some other species can be mistaken for sea bass. Note that black sea bass has a basic color of dark brown or black. The dorsal fin has stripes of white on black.

Game fish tagging programs

As part of the catch and release practice encouraged to promote conservation
Wildlife management
Wildlife management attempts to balance the needs of wildlife with the needs of people using the best available science. Wildlife management can include game keeping, wildlife conservation and pest control...

, tagging programs were created. Some of their goals are to improve the management of fisheries resources and to keep records on abundance, growth rates, age, migrations
Animal migration
Animal migration is the relatively long-distance movement of individuals, usually on a seasonal basis. It is a ubiquitous phenomenon, found in all major animal groups, including birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and crustaceans. The trigger for the migration may be local...

, strain identification.

Some well known tagging programs in the United States are the South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

 Marine Game Fish Tagging Program and the Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

 Game Fish Tagging Program.

The South Carolina Marine Game Fish Tagging Program began in 1974 and it is now the largest public tagging program in the Southeastern United States
Southeastern United States
The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

. Also it is recognized as one of the top tagging programs worldwide. This program promotes responsible angling ethics and it is a vehicle for angles to provide useful information on marine game fish to scientists.

Anglers are trained and then receive a tag kit with tags, applicator, and instructions. When they tag a fish, anglers then use a reply postcard they receive in advance to send the information on the tag number, tag date, location
Location (geography)
The terms location and place in geography are used to identify a point or an area on the Earth's surface or elsewhere. The term 'location' generally implies a higher degree of can certainty than "place" which often has an ambiguous boundary relying more on human/social attributes of place identity...

, species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

, and size
Measurement is the process or the result of determining the ratio of a physical quantity, such as a length, time, temperature etc., to a unit of measurement, such as the metre, second or degree Celsius...

. This program issues anglers who tag and release 30 or more eligible species within a year a conservation award.

When an angler recaptures a tagged fish, he then should report the recapture. If possible the tag number and the mailing address should be reported along with the location and date of the recapture as well with the measurement of the fish.

The objective is to provide biologists with the necessary information to determine growth rate through an accurate measurement.

The Virginia Game Fish Tagging Program started operations in 1995 and keeps records on recaptured fish since then. This is an annual program that starts in January and it is limited to 160 anglers. Anglers receive training workshops in February and March.


The official guide to world salt and freshwater fish records is the World Record Game Fishes, published annually by the International Game Fish Association
International Game Fish Association
The International Game Fish Association is the leading authority on angling pursuits and the keeper of the most current World Record fishing catches by fish categories. Fishermen who are sport fishers are careful to follow their stringent rules for fair play and line requirements in order to...

(IGFA). The IGFA maintains records for nearly 400 species around the world. The records are categorised, with separate records for juniors, for the type of tackle and line used, for fly fishing, and locality records. The IGFA also organise the world saltwater championship tournaments, the saltwater fisherman's equivalent of the Olympics.
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