It is often said that managing fisheries is managing people. This truism implies that fisheries science inherently involves disciplines that focus on fish and their population dynamics, humans and their behaviour, and policy and decision making. This is particularly true for recreational fisheries, where the human behavioural motivation and human response to management actions may be more difficult to predict than in commercial fisheries. We provide a synthesis of the multi-disciplinary literature on modelling recreational angler behaviour to inform management of recreational fisheries. We begin by defining the recreational fisheries system in an interdisciplinary manner. We then assess the literature for empirical evidence of disciplinary crossover. Using bibliometric data, we provide evidence that there is little disciplinary crossover, particularly between fisheries biology, including applied ecology, and quantitative social science, including economics. We identify critical barriers to disciplinary crossover, such as database indexing issues and nomenclature. Next, we provide a review of critical contributions to the literature, and locate these contributions within our interdisciplinary conceptualization of the recreational fisheries system. This synthesis is intended to be a cross-disciplinary bridge to facilitate access to the broader literature on modelling angler behaviour, with the ultimate goal of improving recreational fisheries management.