Fishing is poised to do for business what golfing has done — give groups a chance to connect in a beautiful setting away from the office.

“We're right on the cusp of corporate fishing becoming a trend,” says Michelle Wierzgac, an Oak Lawn, Ill. —based meeting consultant. “It's already being used by many companies, especially in Florida, to get executives out of the office and into an environment with fewer distractions.”

Fishing-charter operator Steve Chaconas would agree. For the past decade, he has been hosting bass-fishing excursions on the Potomac River near Washington, D.C. Nearly all his customers are corporate, and approximately 20 percent conduct business while fishing. Chaconas attributes fishing's popularity to the fact that it's easy to learn and just about everyone has tried it at some point. “One of my best customers likes to bring a client out fishing — the same client who used to beat him on the golf course,” he says. “It's great retribution.”