(Tribune News Service) -- Fishing was one of the few sports where participation seemed to pick up when everything else went on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Daily routines were halted, and people were encouraged to distance from one another. Fishing gave them a way to safely entertain themselves outdoors.

It’s also why mobile applications like Fishbrain became so popular.

Fishbrain (which also has desktop capabilities) allows users to document where they catch a fish, what they caught, the type of bait used and more, while giving them a way to socialize, share their experiences and help others get better at fishing.

Almost five years ago, Fishbrain had 2.2 million users after its 2013 launch. This year, the app has grown to more than 8.5 million across the United States. It’s no coincidence the Swedish company saw a surge during the pandemic.

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“At a time when millions of people have been plunged into lockdown, many people took up fishing as a responsible, socially distanced pastime,” Johan Attby, Fishbrain’s CEO, said in a statement.

Lisa Kennelly, Fishbrain’s chief marketing officer, said the company also saw an increase in people using the groups feature to find new connections.

“We really saw those take off, and people really were looking for ways to connect,” Kennelly said. “People were organically forming these groups and sort of creating jokes and memes together. It was so cool to see people really trying to find that community.”

According to a 2020 Bloomberg report, Fishbrain saw an increase of 23% in its user base in April 2020 compared with a year earlier. The company also saw a combined 63.3% increase month to month in U.S. user registrations from April to July.

From 2019 to 2020, Fishbrain saw an overall increase of 25% in user registrations, Kennelly said, more than the company expected.

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