Fishbrain and Mission FISH Team Up for Study on the Effects of Recreational Fishing on Veterans

The study was done to reflect the impact of recreational fishing on veterans suffering from PTSD, anxiety, and depression.

VENTURA一 A collaborative study between Fishbrain, a popular mobile app for anglers, and Mission FISH, a non-profit veteran’s support group, examines the positive effects of recreational fishing for veterans suffering from PTSD, depression, and anxiety.

The study, launched on Nov. 11 to coincide with Veteran’s Day, received over 1,000 responses from veterans who have interacted with Mission FISH.

Veterans received a survey asking them questions about their feelings on fishing and if they have felt a positive impact from the activity.

“The issue of PTSD amongst the veteran community is extensive,” said Lisa Kennelly, chief marketing officer at Fishbrain. “Between 11 – 20 percent of military personnel who served in Iraq suffer from PTSD, while it is estimated that 30 percent of veterans of the Vietnam War will suffer from PTSD at some point in their lifetime, too. There are numerous studies proving the meditative benefits of fishing, which is something we’ve heard from our users as well. With this in mind, we wanted to undertake a study to definitively ascertain which aspects of fishing prove beneficial to the veteran community and how we as a platform can help.”

Fishbrain used the collected data from over 1,000 Mission FISH members and then created a comprehensive overview of how fishing helps alleviate the symptoms of PTSD in the veteran community.

The study’s key findings showed 84 percent of the veterans who responded found their important relationships in better standing after a day of fishing; 66 percent said they go fishing for therapeutic reasons; 94 percent found sharing their experiences with others improved their fishing experience, and 53 percent found the experience therapeutic.

“We learned the importance of fishing for those struggling with mental health problems and the myriad of benefits that even a few hours of fishing can bring to those who participate,” said Kennelly. “The results prove that fishing relaxes and beneficially alters the mood of those who do it, whether or not any fish are actually caught. It is, essentially, a highly therapeutic activity which can be beneficial for all sorts of mental and physical rehabilitation.”

The pairing with Mission FISH seemed natural for Fishbrain, who had been aware of the organization for some time.

“We have been aware of MissionFISH for a long while, and their membership – comprised of veterans, active service members, and Gold Star families,” said Kennelly. “Proved the perfect respondent group for the study we wanted to undertake.”

Mission FISH, based in Ventura County, centers their mission on fishing, interacting, sharing, and healing. A mission, founder Brian Barber holds near and dear. Barber, a United States Marine, founded Mission FISH in 2015 after a fishing trip with a buddy inspired him to find a way to help his fellow veterans.

“Mission Fish is a non-profit I started in 2015 as a way of me dealing with my PTSD, depression, and anxiety,” said Barber. “I went fishing one day and thought it was an amazing day on the water…And I thought, how could I do something like this for other veteran brothers and sisters going through a similar mindset as me, and that is when the idea of a non-profit started.”

To date, Mission FISH has taken close to 2,000 veterans, active duty, first responders, and Gold-star family members fishing at no cost to them.

Barber’s mission is to create a place where veterans can find the comradery they experienced in the military and a place to heal.

To learn more about Mission FISH, visit their website at



Key findings include:

84% of respondents said their important relationships were better after a day of fishing

66% of respondents go into a day of fishing for therapeutic reasons

94% of respondents found that sharing their experience with others improved their fishing experience

53% of respondents find the experience therapeutic


Extended Findings:


On what best describes why they originally decided to take up fishing:

I was introduced by a friend or family member: 67%

I wanted to try a new hobby: 9%

I had been advised to for health reasons: 3%


On what typically describes their general emotional state while fishing:

Relaxed: 88%

Happy: 84%

Focused: 50%

Content: 44%

Frustrated: 3%

Anxious: 3%


On whether their emotional state changes if they do or don’t catch any fish:

My mood is not impacted by my fishing behavior: 56%

My mood is better: 38%

My mood is worse: 6%


On whether they typically detect a change in their important relationships after fishing:

My relationships are better: 84%

My relationships are not impacted by my fishing behavior: 15%

My relationships are worse: None



On whether sharing their catches/experiences of fishing with others increases their enjoyment of fishing:

Yes: 94%

No: 6%



On whether connecting through online channels and social media is an effective way of sharing about your fishing experiences:

Yes: 81%

No: 19%


On what they most like to share about their fishing experiences when connecting through online channels:

Catches: 66%

Scenic views: 50%

Comment on others photos: 31%

Fishing locations: 22%

Bait/equipment: 22%

All the above: 34%


On how sharing experiences with online groups compare with sharing those experiences in person:

Sharing with online groups is good, but not better: 53%

Sharing with online groups is better: 16%

Sharing with online groups is worse: 16%

I’m not sure: 16%


On whether the frequency of their fishing behavior changed since the start of the pandemic:

It has decreased: 56%

It has increased: 34%

It has not changed: 9%



On how sharing in online communities about their fishing experiences allows them to connect with people who they may not connect with otherwise:

Yes: 81%

No: 19%


On whether engagement in online communities about fishing impacts their fishing behavior:

Yes: 53%

No: 47%


On how engagement in online communities about fishing impacts their fishing behavior:

It increases how often I go fishing: 59%

It causes me to more frequently go fishing with other people, rather than alone: 53%

It influences where I choose to go fishing: 53%

It influences what gear I choose to use while fishing: 29%


On what they expect to get out of a day of fishing:

Rest and Relaxation: 84%

Therapy: 66%

Fishing Knowledge: 50%

Nothing: 3%


On how they would you rate the overall experience of a day’s fishing:

Therapeutic: 53%

Relaxing: 31%

Fun: 16%


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