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Sparkling rivers, babbling brooks, rolling oceans, quiet lakes, and balmy bays. Wherever you would choose to go, water is a source of calm, serenity, and tranquility. These waters are teeming with life, hidden within the cool depths or sunny shallows, waiting to be discovered by those who would care to find it.
If this scene speaks to you, then you might have spent time on a boat or shoreline with a fishing pole in hand. So many of us have fond memories with a beloved parent or grandparent learning how to cast a line, hook a fish, and reel in a catch. Above all, learning how to be patient and enjoy each other’s company as you wait for the fish to bite. It is these moments that make fishing so nostalgic, the moments with those you loved just talking about nothing and everything.
When searching for a tattoo, we often look for images or designs that have deep personal meaning. With fishing tattoo designs, those simple memories of childhood come back strongly as an inspiration. For plenty of others, fishing didn’t stop in childhood, but continues to be a hobby or even a way of life. In those cases, fishing tattoos represent that dedication to the sport.
No matter where your love of fishing comes from, a fishing tattoo design brings together several aspects of any great tattoo. First, is the bright colors of the water and the fish. Then, you have the elements of nature that speak to a wide audience. Finally, you have the personal meaning that makes the tattoo worth getting in the first place. If you are looking for your next fishing tattoo idea, you will surely find inspiration here!
The Best Fishing Tattoos
Fishing Pole Tattoo with Flowers
With each detail perfectly executed, the fishing pole is exquisite. Using a dark line to outline the flowers makes them stand out in the design and heightens their beauty. The movement of the line itself makes the overall look more interesting.
Red and Silver Fishing Lure Tattoo
Fishing lures make great tattoo designs as lures can be so brightly colored and intricate. Here, a more traditional fishing lure has amazing red and silver airbrushing to make the tattoo seem less flat and more like the real thing. Yellow accents make the eyes and belly of the lure pop. Dark outlines finish off the look.
Place Where I Was Happy
A different type of fishing tattoo meaning, this cool optical illusion design uses the aspects of the lake to form the fish. This is a particularly meaningful tattoo if you have a specific location as a model for your lake view within the fish. Going for a black and white look helps the illusion to work more effectively. This is the perfect placement for the size and shape of the tattoo.
This cool hook design brings together different traditional tattoo looks with the elements of a fishing tattoo. The hook shape turns into a real at the other end, with a crescent moon worked into the design. Other abstract elements set off the look, obviously meaningful to the tattoo owner.
Curving around the arm, a highly detailed salmon is a great fishing tattoo idea. Leaving the rocks below as simple, unfilled shapes allow the salmon itself to shine. A larger tattoo, this is perfect for true lovers of fish and fishing.
Lover of Nature
Working in several themes of nature, such as the flowers and mountain scene, makes this tattoo. The dynamic leap of the fish provides movement within the design, complete with the splashing of the water. Going for a colored fishing tattoo design helps the scene to feel more life-like.
Gone Fishing Tattoo: Full Back
A lovely scene, this Gone Fishing tattoo is a beautiful way to pay respects to a lost loved one. Here, the details help us to know that the person is honoring his father, but the same tattoo could be adapted to anyone you wish to honor. The intricate details and silhouette make the look deeply personal and all the more beautiful.
Spoon Fishing Lure Tattoo
A simple design, this fishing lure tattoo using an older lure, a spoon fishing lure. These lures are used for larger fish, such as pike, salmon, and largemouth bass. This is a great option for a bass fishing tattoo if you aren’t looking to use the fish itself. The red and white colors also provide a fun and bright look.
One Fish, Two Fish
These two fish are ideal in their size, and complement each other nicely in this fishing tattoo. The design is a simpler one, using just the black lines, but still using the details within the fish so that they appear realistic. While the tattoo placement in this case is on the chest, this would make a great shoulder or back tattoo, or if you just wanted to use one fish it would fit on the forearm.
I Told You I Caught One
A perfect replica of the real thing, this fishing tattoo has everything right down to the last detail. The sun seems to shine of the fish’s body, accenting the ripples of color through its scales. Having the tail in motion brings life to the fish, as does the choice to leave the mouth open. If you don’t believe the authenticity, see the model!
Fishing with Grandpa
Filled with nostalgia, this fishing tattoo design will have you on the phone with your grandfather in minutes. The details within the tattoo scene are wonderful and lifelike, but also make you think of a painting. It’s almost as if we are looking right into someone’s memory, and seeing it through the rose-colored glasses of time.
Gone Fishing Tattoo: Pike Fishing
Every aspect of this tattoo is unique, from the placement crossing over the body to the artwork style. It is almost as if this fishing tattoo is seen from the perspective of the fish rather than the person. The shadows of the fishermen and the way the hook flies overhead emphasize this idea. Going for just a few colors make the details pop and the look more effective.
Not All Fishers are Men
A unique fishing tattoo meaning, it is interesting to see that the one who is “fishing” here is not a person. The bald eagle is truly magnificent in its decent over the salmon, almost humanistic in its facial expression of triumph as it prepares to grab the fish. The colors within the scene make the whole piece come to life in a way black and white just cannot do.
Double Hook Fishing Lure Tattoo
Another lure used for bass fishing, this fishing lure tattoo features a colorful double hook lure. With its big eye, the lure has a cute look that makes the design more appealing. The use of colors within the lure are another fun detail. If it weren’t for the hooks, you might forget that this is a fishing tattoo at all.
Better Luck Next Time
Sometimes that “huge fish” you have on your line is nothing but a huge disappointment. This fishing tattoo depicts one of the worst moments for an angler, hauling in something other than a fish. Sorry buddy, better luck next time!
Caught in the Act
Capturing the moment right before the catch, everything about this fishing tattoo spectacular. Truly a piece of art, the movement and details of the fish make the tattoo jump out. Using shades of gray and white highlights, the fish takes on a distinctive look. If you are searching for bass fishing tattoos, you’ve found your next catch.
See You Reel Soon
A beautiful memento tattoo, the hook is a sweet reminder of the one who was lost. The artistry of the fishing tattoo design cannot be denied, using gorgeous colors and highlights to show the silver of the hook. Whatever you call your loved one, their name will fit nicely in the classic script of the tattoo.
More Beneath the Surface
A great option for a fishing tattoo stencil, this design shows that things are not always as they seem. The little boy is innocently fishing, but below the water much more is happening. He sits upon a skull, which is an ominous symbol. The water also teems with life, some of which might be more malicious than others. The bright colors make this a fun design in spite of the darker connotations.
Gorgeous in detail and color, multiple Floridian symbols come together in one awesome tattoo. Popular in Florida, the sailfish makes for a great fishing tattoo idea for as part of a Florida-inspired design. The other emblems work well with the bright blue of the sailfish, lively as it leaps from the water. Given the size, this is the perfect back piece.
Anytime is Fishing Time
A cool mashup of designs, this special fishing tattoo uses symbolism and artistry to show the particular significance of fishing to this person. The design layers detail upon detail, from the use of the clock on the moon to the shadowed figures in the boat. Even in the clouds, a woman’s face takes shape as part of an optical illusion. This tattoo shows that if you work with your tattoo artist, you can work together to create a masterpiece that is special just for you.
I’ll Be Waiting Here for You
Made in a painted style, this memorial tattoo speaks to many on a personal level. Not only does it have the appearance of a portrait, but also as though you are looking through a window to the past. The beautiful colors and details come together to form a gorgeous fishing tattoo design.
This fun tattoo has a hilarious double meeting, both in the sense of wanting the fish to bite and the snarkier tell-off. The sharpness of the hook matches the sharp nature of the witty statement, and is accented with the cartoonish glint. The Bite Me tattoo fits within the other tattoo pieces, but also works as a standalone tattoo.
Fly Fishing Tattoo
Simple and pristine, this quaint fly fishing tattoo captures a moment in time. Fly fishing is a skilled take on the sport of fishing, and given the nature of the location fly fishing really gets you into the middle of the action. In that sense, it is fitting that this wrist tattoo would put you in the middle of the cast.
There’s Always a Bigger Fish
Highly detailed and colorful, the smaller fish is about to meet his match in the larger. The spots and colors of the fish stand out and make the look of the tattoo. Nicely placed on the shoulder, but with this size of tattoo you could put it on the forearm or calf as well.
Teach a Man to Fish…
A sweet picture of a father and son, the simple lines of this fishing pole tattoo are all that’s needed to set the scene. The small details of the figures make the tattoo more personal, but still can give an inspiration to anyone looking for a similar fishing tattoo. Subtle shading on the dock helps to make the figures more prominent.
I Love You, Dad
Paying homage though this fishhook tattoo, the sweet and simple message of Dad makes the design meaningful. Putting the hook “through” the hand makes it seem as though fishing is in the blood of the person, literally and figuratively. Going for a black and white look here keeps the look simple, which fits with the meaning.
Taking fishing to a new level, harpooning a shark is an extreme version of the sport. Highly unlikely though it may be in real life, it makes for a fun fishing tattoo idea. The colors and the expression of the shark are slightly comic-like, but the art style in this instance works with the look.
Duck Fishing Pole Tattoo
A whacky design, this person obviously went for a fishing tattoo meaning that was personal to them. Combining your own symbols together in one piece is a trend in tattoo designs, particularly among younger tattoo owners. Here, it appears as though several inside jokes come together to make the piece, which is a fun way to go if you are getting a group tattoo.
Off the Hook
A bass fishing tattoo that goes in a different direction, the bass here is escaping the hook to swim another day. A painted look, the colors of the fish and the water are bright and lifelike. With this smaller design, the placement on the hand makes sense, but it would also fit on the shoulder or upper back.
Turning scars into cool tattoo designs is becoming more common as tattoos become more socially acceptable. Many times, the tattoo tells the story of the scar, other times the tattoo makes the scar into something beautiful. In this case, the scar is the spine and ribs of the fish with the tattoo as the head and tail. Shading brings life and detail to the tattooed aspects of the look.
I’m Telling You, it Was This Big!
Never be without a way to measure your fish again with this tattoo. Many states have rules about the size of fish you can keep, so it is important to measure the fish before tossing it into your cooler. However, measuring a live fish is easier said than done with all its flailing. Not sure if this tattoo will simplify the process, but you can surely try!
Optical illusions are a great choice in a tattoo design. Here, the salmon and flowing river are an ideal match, as salmons swim upstream in order to lay their eggs. The best part of the design is the tail turning into the waterfall, as it is the perfect transition. The blue and green complement each other, colors of nature for the nature scene.
This is the fish that everyone is after. The King of the Lake, the biggest catch, the one you choose to mount on your wall. A green behemoth of a fish that has managed to evade everyone else’s hook. The green color scheme of the tattoo is perfect and gives that natural feel. If you are a fishing tattoo fan, this is a great design choice.
Will You Teach Me?
A great option for a fly fishing tattoo, this beautiful and artistic design brings together the themes of fly fishing and family bonding. Going for black and white in this piece helps the sweet message come through, as well as the details of the design. A larger shoulder piece, this would also fit nicely on the calf.
Fishhook Ankle Tattoo
If you want a subtle fishing tattoo idea, this little hook is perfect. Such tiny tattoos are great for the ankle, foot, wrist, or neck. Particularly if you need a tattoo that is easily covered, a tiny tattoo is a great idea.
A sweet Gone Fishing tattoo, this design combines multiple symbols together to say goodbye to the person’s grandpa. Using basic black lines gets the look from being overly complicated and distracting from the meaning. Down home images like the boots fit the simple pleasure of the fishing pole. We don’t need to know Grandpa to know he would love this tattoo.
Falling in Love
There is nothing quite as innocent as two children fishing together, and nothing quite as sweet as knowing that this moment is the start of forever. While the cute image of the boy and girl sitting together would be enough to pull at the heartstrings, a fishing pole tattoo piece just adds that little something to the scene. Splashes of color complete the cute summer moment.
Grandpa’s Gone Fishing Tattoo
Another tattoo to honor Grandpa, a spectacular design with detailed shading is a masterpiece. Particularly if Grandpa was a bass fisher, this lifelike big-mouth bass is the perfect choice. Components like the wooden Gone Fishing sign and the Rest in Peace script make the tattoo beautiful.
Bright Fishing Lure Tattoo
With cool placement on the forearm, the bright colors of this lure make a fun tattoo. The details of the scales help add to the design. A streamlined design means that this fishing lure tattoo could be placed on the calf or across the upper back if you preferred.
Silhouette Gone Fishing Tattoo
Father and son sitting on a dock, going fishing, talking about nothing and everything. Such a sentimental moment is great for a tribute tattoo. Simple silhouettes stand out against the clean lines of the dock and the fishing pole. The script for Gone Fishing is beautiful and fits the mood of the design.
Forearm Fishing Pole Tattoo
Perfectly situated on the forearm, this fishing pole tattoo is simple and streamlined, but effective. Small details make the fishing pole lifelike but also picturesque. Using the fishing line to create a word at the end of the tattoo is genius, and helps to add that personal touch to the design.
Fishing Pole Finger Tattoo
This tiny tattoo takes fishing tattoos to a new level. The fishing pole tattoo on the pointer finger was adorable enough, but the addition of the fish on the middle finger makes for such a fun design. Being able to play with your tattoo all day long will be either a perk or awful, depending on how distractible you are. Playing Go Fish has a new meaning with this fishing tattoo!
Small Fishing Pole Tattoo
A smaller version of the earlier fishing pole tattoo, this is a nice way to go for a smaller fishing tattoo idea. Lighter lines make the tattoo seem more delicate, which is perfect if that is more your tattoo style. Again, using the line as a place to put a message makes the tattoo more meaningful.
Fishing Pole Ankle Tattoo
Sleek and small, this cute fishing pole tattoo is a great design if you are looking for a subtle look. The fishing pole is naturally a minimalist design at this size, so perfect if that is your style. Choosing to leave off the line here allows the tattoo to remain streamlined.
The two styles of fishing poles make a cool look. This fishing pole tattoo would be a great option for a couple’s tattoo, but also a tattoo for anyone for whom fishing is a key part of their relationship. Going for a smaller design means that you can place the tattoo almost anywhere on the body.
…He Feeds Himself for Life
Not only is this a cool and realistic bass fishing tattoo, but it is a great way to honor the sport in general. The phrase Teach a man to fish and he feeds himself for life implies fishing not only as a pastime, but an important skill. Especially for someone who was taught to fish by a mentor figure, this tattoo is a great way to honor that individual.
Fishing Boat Tattoo
For many, fishing boats are a source of livelihood. Whether that is the truth for you or someone you love, getting a fishing boat tattoo is a way to show respect and passion for that living. Bright colors help the fishing boat come to life. Add whatever details you like to make your fishing boat tattoo more personal.
Fishing is such an important part of so many of our lives. For some, it goes back to times when we were young and spending time with our parents or grandparents. For others, it is a quiet morning away from the pressures of everyday life. For others still, fishing is everyday life. However you spend your fishing time, for pay or pleasure, you can find a fishing tattoo idea that will speak to you.
With so many different species of fish to choose from, as well as a plethora of fishing locations, you will be able to create a fishing tattoo design all your own.