Angling's Scorecard

The most popular fish to catch on the Atlantic Coast is...Croaker?

Recreational fishermen put up some big numbers in 2004. According to "Fisheries of the United States 2004," a recent report from the National Marine Fisheries Service, 14 million anglers took 82 million trips and caught 441 million fish-55 percent of which were released alive. Not a exactly a bad year's fishing. Overall, recreational catches increased 18 percent since 1995. Here's a breakdown (not including the data from Puerto Rico) of who caught what-and the most-in 2004.

Atlantic Number of Anglers: 6,400,000Trips Taken: 48,000,000Number of Fish Caught: 229,000,000Most Popular Catch: Atlantic croakerTop Fish in Pounds: Striped bass, 26,629,000 lbs. Gulf (excluding Texas) Number of Anglers: 3,600,000Trips Taken: 24,000,000Number of Fish Caught: 187,000,000Most Popular Catch: Spotted seatroutTop Fish in Pounds: Red drum, 15,824,000 lbs. Pacific Number of Anglers: 4,407,000Trips Taken: 6,900,000Number of Fish Caught: 22,500,000Most Popular Catch: Barred sand bassTop Fish in Pounds: Chinook salmon, 301,500 lbs.