By SWNS Staff


Although they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, one-third of Americans don’t feel too old to learn any new activities, new research suggests.

In a new poll of 2,000 nationally representative Americans, the survey found most respondents feel like they’ve missed the window to pick up crucial outdoor skills.

The average respondent believes that learning how to properly camp is nearly impossible if you don’t get into it before you’re 11 years old, or fishing by the time you’re 12. However, 31% say it’s never too late to learn a new hobby.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and their Take Me Fishing campaign, the survey found that most of their childhood outdoor experiences were alongside mom and dad (53%) and other relatives like their grandparents (37%).

Perhaps connected to their thoughts of “aging out” of certain activities, 63% of respondents regret not spending more of their childhood in the great outdoors.

As they’ve progressed into adulthood, 54% of Americans polled are now hesitant to pick up outdoor activities out of fear they won’t be good at it. 

Despite agreeing that joining a local group or class to learn new activities is the most convenient way to pick up a new hobby, 47% feel discouraged from actually signing up.

What’s holding Americans back from taking this leap? Over half of those surveyed are worried they won’t fit in.

The top outdoor activities Americans are eager to try out include boating, hiking, fishing and camping. Just over one in five respondents are keen to even try horseback riding and surfing.

When it comes to fishing specifically, there’s a shared interest between men and women – but they did have some disagreements about the truths when tossing a line.

More than a third (35%) of men believe you must always be quiet while fishing, but only 27% of women say this rule is true.

“The beauty of outdoor activities – especially fishing and boating – is that it’s enjoyed by people of all ages, genders and cultures,” said Stephanie Vatalaro, senior vice president of marketing and communications for RBFF. “We believe the water is open to everyone. No matter your skill level or background, the water is a place for all to relax and recharge.”

Another barrier to Americans getting outdoors is lack of time. Over half of those polled believe lots of free time is required in order to take up an outdoor activity. However, 54% said the most convenient way to learn new outdoors skills is with family and friends.

“I try to spend as much time as possible on the water with my family,” said Vatalaro. “Not only are we staying active when we’re fishing, we’re bonding and becoming closer with one another. Catching fish isn’t the only highlight of being on the water, it’s the time spent in nature or with people you love.” 


  1. Lots of free time (55%)
  2. Specialized clothing (42%)
  3. Expensive equipment (35%)
  4. A car or boat (33%)
  5. Professional level of fitness (23%)

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