11 Ways to Make Money From Fishing

Updated on September 13, 2019
Blond Logic profile image

Having met with business owners both locally and internationally, I bring fresh ideas to help you generate more income.

Make Money Fishing
Make Money Fishing | Source

Earn Money From Fishing

It's said, do what you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life.

There's a lot of truth in that but how many of us can say what we do to earn a living is something we truly enjoy? It's too easy to get caught on that treadmill of life, and once on it, you can't get off because there are bills that need paying and a family who need feeding.

But what if there was a way? The idea for this article came to me when I was standing by our lake fishing. I was thinking if it would be possible for a person who loved fishing to make a living from it and guess what, there are people already doing it.

Some of the ideas I've listed below require an investment, but others are virtually free to begin implementing. Let's look at some of the options for people who would rather be baiting a hook than dealing with their boss.

Sport Fishing
Sport Fishing | Source

1. Deep Sea Sports Fishing Business

Deep sea fishing is the most exciting fishing sport. Whether you're fishing for marlin, swordfish, or tuna, the thrill is long, hard, and create memories that last a lifetime. The screeching of the reel as the fish begins to pull. The feel of the strap holding them into the chair, and you shouting encouraging words, these are the things your customer is going to remember.

To make money from this, you'll either need to own a boat or charter one to use taking paying customers on their deep sea fishing adventure. You will also need specialist knowledge of the most likely places to catch the big ones. A fish finder will also help with this.

The boat will need to have all the necessary documentation, insurance, and safety equipment on board. If you're not qualified to skipper a boat with paying passengers, there will be people you can hire who hold the correct qualifications. This, of course, will eat into your profits, so it's best to become qualified yourself if this is going to become a full-time occupation. Your local marina will be able to give you details of classes in your area.

Tying Fishing Flies
Tying Fishing Flies | Source

2. Tying Fishing Flies

I am amazed at some of the artificial flies I've seen. If you can tie flies which can lure a trout, then you should consider doing this. Places to sell would be either in bait and tackle stores, online through your own website, or sites such as eBay and Etsy. Fishermen are always looking for 'that edge' that will bag them the big one. The advantage of this type of business is the startup cost is low.

Using tools such as a vise, scissors, and pliers, you can make various flies with hackle feathers and elk or deer hair. These are all easy to purchase online and will get you started in what could become a profitable and enjoyable venture.

Catching Bass
Catching Bass | Source

3. Bass Fishing Guides

Do you know the secret spots where bass hide out? Can you act as a guide for those wishing to go after them? This can be either in your boat or one that is rented. People who are on vacation may not know the lake and will pay someone like you to take them out. If they are on a tight schedule and only have a week's vacation, they don't want to spend it searching for fish, they want to catch them!

Promote yourself on your website, or in forums discussing the lake you know. It only takes a few people to use your services before word of mouth advertising kicks in and you have yourself an enjoyable part-time business. Beginning this type of business will require the time it takes to set up a website, writing blog articles or time on the forums.

4. Fishing Contests and Competitions

If you are the competitive type, consider entering fishing contests. Many of these will offer cash prizes or sporting goods, which are always useful. The winner is determined by the largest fish caught or by the weight of the total catch of the day. Check local news and sporting shops in your area and also online. National competitions will offer the biggest prize pool but you will incur traveling costs.

5. Fish Breeding

When we were farming tilapia, we bought our fish fry when they were 30-50 grams. The company did nothing else than supply young tilapia. In fact, we know one fish farmer who changed from farming tilapia to breeding, as it was more profitable and less hassle. The outlay for food is much less as is the need for space. Fish theft is unlikely to occur as thieves only want adult fish.

The requirements are tanks which are aerated and have fresh water circulating. Tilapia are quite robust and can withstand a wide range of temperatures but thrive best in 72-90°F. Depending on the number required, these can be sold in plastic bags filled with air, or as we had, delivered by truck with tanks filled with compressed air. When done this way, extra fish are given as there is an expected 10% mortality rate.

Breeding Tropical Fish
Breeding Tropical Fish | Source

6. Breeding Tropical Fish for Aquariums

As with breeding for fish farmers, there is money to be made from breeding aquarium fish or fish for ponds. These could be anything from guppies to goldfish to koi carp.

Sell to pet shops or find customers by using local advertising. Multiple aquariums with air are what you'd need to start this business. These can be sourced second hand from places like Craigslist, garage sales, friends and family, or your local paper.

7. Breeding and Selling Bait

Angling is one, if not the, most popular pastime and all of those fishermen need bait. Consider breeding and selling it. These can include worms, maggots, and crickets. You can sell them directly to anglers or to bait shops. The startup costs will be next to nothing as breeding stock can be sourced from the local environment. Styrofoam or plastic containers are excellent for the worms or maggots. For crickets, I have purchased them in small cages that were refilled at the bait shop each time.

8. Fish and Pay or Catch and Release

If you have lakes on your property, consider stocking them and using it as a leisure area where people fish and if they catch anything they pay a set price depending on the weight. There is another option to this where people come to fish in the ponds and pay either for the day or a yearly membership. This is very popular in the UK and is strictly catch and release. Mostly this is for carp and many people will camp overnight as well.

9. Fishing Videos

If you have a likable personality and are passionate about fishing you could do very well making videos about fishing. I've watched these on YouTube, and some are better than others. If you can give advice to other anglers about what works for you and keep it entertaining, you should consider this as a way of making money from fishing. By having ads on the video, (YouTube does this for you), you could earn money. It's also a great way to advertise your services as a local fishing guide.

10. Clearing Fish From Lakes

If a lake has too many predators such as pike, these will need to be cleared. Sometimes they can decimate the numbers of other fish in the lake which will affect the number of fishermen who go there. This, in turn, affects the small businesses such as guesthouses, restaurants and sports and tackle shops in the vicinity. In essence, if the lake is the main pull of tourists to an area, too many predators in a lake can kill the community. This is why a decision would have to be taken to net the lake to remove these fish. It is estimated that clearing the lake can never remove all the unwanted fish. In my research, I have read 30% of the fish could still remain so there will always be a need for this service. The items needed will depend on the size and depth of the lake. Nets, manpower and possibly a boat if it is a large lake.

11. Public Speaking or Teaching

When anglers aren't fishing, their favorite pastime is talking about fishing. There are many people who love to listen to stories about fishing adventures or instructions on how to do something better. As with the videos, if you have a positive and outgoing personality, consider public speaking around the topic of fishing and you could earn extra cash.

There are many places who are looking for public speakers, and once you get known as an entertaining and enjoyable one, you will be booked frequently. Whether you opt to show slides or video to enliven your presentation or teach a class how to tie fishing flies, you can gear your topic to your audience.

It isn't just adults who benefit from your knowledge, offer talks with kids about the fine art of fishing. A class such as 'the correct way to tie on a hook and weights', and explaining the importance of checking your equipment. Just imagine how much fun could be had with a dozen or so kids casting trying to hit a bucket as a target. Parents are always looking for new ideas to keep their kids occupied, especially during school vacations.

More Options

Although the above ideas are about catching or selling your services to make money from fish and fishing there are still more ways to make use of them. Let's now take a look at these options.

Smoking Fish
Smoking Fish | Source

Drying Fish and Smoking Fish

For conserving and consuming later, or to sell as dried fish. In many parts of the world drying fish is commonplace.

There is another use which we do here on our farm when we net and have a glut of fish. We dry the small ones in the sun and use them in the garden. Fish meal is an excellent source of nutrients for the plants. I put our dried fish in my food processor with the chopping blade. This we put around our coconut trees and in our vegetable patch. Many nurseries sell this but it is easy to make your own.

Using Fish as Pet Food

I feed fish to both my cat and dogs. When I catch small piaba, or oscars, I feed these to the animals. They are a rich source of protein. If the fish is a little larger but not big enough for us to eat, I give it to the cat.

These can easily be frozen and kept for later, although I will give live fish to the animals if they are around at the time of fishing.

I hope these ways of making money from fishing have sparked an interest and given you some ideas of your own to get you started. Whether you choose to do this as a full time occupation or simply to earn some extra money doing something you enjoy, there are avenues open to you.

Good luck and here's hoping the big one doesn't get away.

Ice Fishing
Ice Fishing | Source

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • What is the income from fishing?

    That would depend what type of fishing activity you were doing. It is also very much dependent on your location, time you can devote to it and customers who will use your service or buy your product.

  • Where can you sell fish such as catfish?

    Depending on where you live there may be more restrictions than in other places. Where I live, fish are sold from the back of a motorcycle. The man buys them from the fishermen and has a Styrofoam box on the back of a motorcycle. He will sell to small shops and also to homes.

    You could also go to restaurants and see if they will buy. Don't attempt anything that is a chain of restaurants, just individually owned and operated.

© 2016 Mary Wickison


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    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      6 weeks ago from Brazil

      Hi Maria

      You've touched on a very important point. Often we think to start a business takes a lot of money and knowledge. There are ways to begin small and increase money and experience as you go. The key is to fill a need that people are willing to pay for.

      Glad you enjoyed the article, thanks for your comment.

    • profile image


      6 weeks ago

      Great ideas, I think we need to look at the simple ways often to generate money. and this is very helpful to us .and all the pictures are very beautiful.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      2 years ago from Brazil

      Hi Deb,

      I think we need to look at the simple ways often to generate money. As they say, give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and you kill a great business opportunity.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      ...interesting...then there's Phishing!?

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Fantastic article!

    • profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      3 years ago

      Great ideas! Never did I dream that there was so much that one could do to receive income related a body of water.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      3 years ago from Brazil

      Hi Dianna,

      Yes, the same happens here in Brazil where I live. The fishermen haul their boats up and people are gathered around to buy what they have caught. I have also had people who have small motorcycles with cool boxes on the back come to our house selling fish.

      Once when I was traveling, I saw a man with fish hanging from the handlebars of his bike selling them door to door. Darn that I didn't have a camera with me.

      Anything is possible with a little creative thinking.

      Thanks for reading and have a great week.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      3 years ago

      It is good to know that fishing can be profitable. Living by the ocean, there are people here who do fish quite often for this reason. Wow, that monster fish video is scary! I don't think I could even reel that one in!

    • diogenes profile image


      3 years ago from UK and Mexico

      Hi...that's Phishing, Buildreps!

      I used to love mainly sea fishing, Mary, but I find I cannot stand to take the lives of the beautiful creatures who live in the oceans any more. I'm a hypocrite, because I still buy fish to eat and hardly eat red meat these days. We are all hypocrites I suppose as we consume animal protein and put out of our minds the torture and despair these wonderful, peaceful creatures suffer on the roads and in the slaughter houses. My small ambition at the moment is to acquire a small farm and keep a cow, sheep, pigs and chickens and let them die natural deaths as they were all supposed to...I suppose it will remain a dream...

      Interesting article though not for me

      Bob x

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      3 years ago from Brazil

      Hi Dora,

      When I was about 12, I went deep sea fishing as part of a family reunion. There was a friendly competition on the boat and everyone put in a dollar as a prize pool. Well that day was rather choppy and many of the other fishermen were feeling queasy. I just took a wider stamce and kept fishing. When it was time to weigh the fish, one of mine was the biggest. I had won $32, and after that, you could say.....I was hooked! LOL

      You should go out, some of the best places are on your doorstep.

      Thanks for reading today.

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 

      3 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      You have some good ideas, Mary. My son and grandson love to fish.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Quite an original topic, I think, and great suggestions. I would pay to get on an excursion fishing boat and pay a the price includes the loan of fishing gear to use. Did it once and have been longing to do it again.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      This is one of those articles that has the potential to have a lot of views. There are a lot of fishermen out there, so it will be interesting to see how this content article does. Well done, Mary!

    • Buildreps profile image


      3 years ago from Europe

      Oh, when I saw the title in my e-mail, I thought you meant how to make money from internet fishing! :) LOL

      Well crafted, interesting article, Mary.


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