According to Statista, over 55 million people in the United States went fishing in 2015.
That equates to roughly 17 percent of the total population, so it should be no surprise that anglers across the U.S. come in all shapes and sizes, and happen to include a list of professional athletes currently making a living in other sports.
From the NFL to the NBA, some of biggest names in the world of professional sport like to relax by casting a line. Here are just a few pro athletes who moonlight as anglers:
The Indiana Pacers’ Paul George just finished winning an Olympic gold medal playing with the U.S. Men’s National Basketball Team in Rio de Janeiro, and is one of the most talented players in the NBA.
But beyond the hardwood, George likes to spend his time bass fishing, and even managed to win a bass fishing tournament by teaming up with pro angler Jacob Wheeler in May 2015.
As a forward for the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, Wilson Chandler regularly defends against towering opponents who weigh in at over 240 pounds.
But even NBA players look minute in comparison to the goliath grouper Chandler reeled in Saturday — the 8-year NBA veteran caught a reported 350-pound goliath while filming with the BlackTipH YouTube fishing channel:
For reference, Shaquille O’Neal — one of the most physically intimidating centers in NBA history — maxed out at about 325 pounds in his playing days.
There are many pro athletes who enjoy hunting and fishing, but it’s unlikely any of them are as passionate about the great outdoors as Trent Cole of the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts.
The 33-year-old linebacker doesn’t just spend his free time hunting and fishing, he’s actually turning his love of the outdoors into a second career of sorts: Cole hosts the hunting show Blitz TV, which airs nationally on the Pursuit Channel and Destination America television channels.
Shane Victorino is a current MLB free agent, who over the course of his 12-year baseball career has amassed two World Series titles and four Gold Glove awards.
And while the man known as the “Flyin’ Hawaiian” is currently searching for a team to sign him to a contract, he seems to be enjoying his time away from the game, as showcased by the huge king salmon he hooked in Alaska a few weeks back.
Warren Sapp is one of the most dominant NFL defensive players of the past two decades, a seven-time Pro Bowler who was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013 in his first year of eligibility.
He also happens to be an avid fisherman, frequently posting Instagram photos of his deep sea fishing exploits off the coast of Florida. And, as we’ve seen, that sometimes includes getting into scraps with nurse sharks while lobstering.
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