Despite recreational fisheries serving as a prime example of a coupled social–ecological system, much of the research on such fisheries has been monothematic in orientation and focused either on fisheries ecology or human dimensions. An attempt was made to break down some of the barriers to more interdisciplinary research on recreational fisheries at the 6th World Recreational Fishing Conference. The overall conclusion was that future research and management efforts should increasingly focus on the feedbacks between the interacting human and ecological components of recreational fisheries. Doing so promises to improve understanding of how recreational fisheries respond to social–ecological change. In this context, the behaviour of both fishes and humans provides an important, yet often overlooked, integrator of the ecological and social components of recreational fisheries. A better understanding of the behavioural dynamics of recreational fishers as well as exploited fishes will help predict how recreational fisheries change, evolve, adapt and reorganise through time to maintain resilience and achieve sustainability on a global scale.