Fishing can be a rewarding solitary sport, but sometimes you want a little more fun out of your day on the water. Bring a few friends aboard and spend the day in some friendly competition! As you cast your line and wait for bites from sturgeon, catfish, or smallmouth bass, swap some facts and stories with your companions. Engage in some sport fishing along the Snake or Salmon Rivers, either by yourself or with one of River Adventures’ expert fishing guides. Along with your bait and tackle, bring these 10 sport fishing facts to impress your friends with and you’re sure to have a fun and engaging day on the river.

1. Early fishing lures were crafted out of bone, stone, or wood.

In prehistoric times, people used to grab fish out of the water with their bare hands—or at least they tried to. With the advent of tool usage, humans began to craft hooks and lures to attract fish. Fishing enthusiasts have wanted to sit still and let the fish come to them for thousands of years! You’re engaging in a time-honored tradition when you and your friends set out on the water.

2. The word “angle” comes from ancient words for “hook.”

Anglers will be interested to know where the word came from. Proto-Indo-European, the ancient language that predates even Greek and Latin, used the prefix ang- or ank- to mean “to bend or hook.” (That’s also where we get the word “ankle”—a bending place on our leg.) The Latin word was angulus, which evolved into the Old English angle. Human beings have been casting lines and angling for fish for eons!

3. The biggest fish caught on record was a great white shark!

In 1959, an Australian named Alfred Dean caught a great white shark that weighed 2,664 pounds. It’s the largest fish caught and recorded by the International Game Fish Association. He caught two other great whites that broke the one-ton mark during his fishing career. There’s a replica of the record-breaking shark outside Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Grapevine, Texas.

4. A “million-dollar lure” exists, encrusted with gold and diamonds.

You read right. MacDaddy Fishing Lures created a lure crafted of precious gold and platinum, glittering with rubies and diamonds. The person who bought it had it insured before taking it out on the water, but they didn’t end up losing it. The lure, which cost a literal $1 million, didn’t attract any bites. It’s more of a bauble than anything else; you can always buy sparkly lures for your own tackle box without shelling out piles of cash.

5. Largemouth bass is the most popular game fish in the country.

More fishing enthusiasts are out for bass than any other fish. Looking to haul in some for yourself? The Snake River is full of common game fish like bass (largemouth and smallmouth), catfish, salmon, and sturgeon. Book a Hells Canyon fishing trip with River Adventures to get started hauling in those bass. You may even break a record while you’re out there, so make sure to bring a tape measure along.

6. You don’t need a boat for sport fishing.

While most fishing is traditionally done on land or on a boat, plenty of competitions get more creative with their vantage points. Look for fishing competitions designed for kayaks or even inner tubes! Put the sport in sport fishing and challenge yourself to fish from an unconventional spot. During the winter, look for ice fishing competitions to get your sport fishing fix in the off season.

7. Fishing is becoming a high school sport.

Illinois was the first state to recognize competitive bass fishing as a sport on the high school level, and that was back in 2009. More and more states are recognizing fishing as the captivating activity it is. Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, and many others are also bringing fishing into their high school sports. Soon, the teenager in your own life may engage in fishing competitions through their school!

8. Bananas are unlucky to have on your fishing boat.

Fishing enthusiasts are a superstitious bunch, from refusing to board a boat without a name to avoiding whistling while on the boat. Many refuse to bring bananas aboard their boat, and there’s some historical (and even scientific) background for it. Bananas spoil quickly, so boats transporting them for trade purposes had to move quickly. Fast boats are no good for fishing! Plus, bananas attract terrible pests as they decompose. When they start to turn bad, bananas also release ethylene gas, which some folks believe drives the fish away.

9. The fish’s well-being is important in competition.

Even though you’re pulling them out of the water, think of the health of the fish you catch. Many competitions penalize people who bring in dead fish, so many competitors transfer their catches to an aerated “livewell” tank to keep them alive while on the boat. Even if you pull in a record-breaking fish, they will likely not count it if you bring it back dead.

10. American anglers spend $7.4 billion a year on fishing gear.

From sparkly jigs and spinners to high-quality rods, fishing enthusiasts are dedicated to having the best gear possible for their sport. Divided up amongst every angler, each one spends about $120 per year on rods, reels, and tackle.

If you’re looking to save money this year, why not catch your own live bait? Avoid all those extra trips to buy nightcrawlers or minnows by collecting them yourself.

As you and your fishing companions hit the water, arm yourself with conversation starters. If you decide to embark on one of River Adventures’ guided fishing tours, swap interesting facts with your guide and gain even more expert knowledge. These are only 10 sport fishing facts to impress your friends with, but the more you engage in your hobby, the more you’ll learn about it. Every trip out on the water will bring you more experience and savvy. Why not bring your facts and your fishing gear out to Hells Canyon for the trip of a lifetime?

10 Sport Fishing Facts To Impress Your Friends With