Angling is a method of fishing by means of an “angle” (fish hook). The hook is usually attached to a fishing line and the line is often attached to a fishing rod. Fishing rods are usually fitted with a fishing reel that functions as a mechanism for storing, retrieving and paying out the line. The hook itself can be dressed with lures or bait. A bite indicator such as a float is sometimes used.
Angling is a principal method of sport fishing, but commercial fisheries also use angling methods such as longlining or trolling. Catch and release fishing is increasingly practiced by recreational fishermen. In many parts of the world, size limits apply to certain species, meaning fish below and/or above a certain size must, by law, be released.
The species of fish pursued by anglers vary with geography. Among the many species of salt water fish that are caught for sport are swordfish, marlin, tuna, salmon and halibut. In North America the most popular fresh water sport species include bass, pike, walleye, muskellunge, yellow perch, trout, salmon, catfish, crappie, bluegill and sunfish. In Europe a large number of anglers fish for species such as carp, pike, tench, rudd, roach, European perch and barbel (especially in still water). Although some fish are sought for their value as food, others are pursued for their fighting abilities or for the difficulty of pursuit.