Don't know about any other thread that's been made, but I'll oblige the OP with the comparisons of fishing and 'sports of cruelty'
When people make a big deal about dog fighting, is hunting for animals as a sport really any better? I've never really heard people call fishermen cruel except for those crazy PETA people who throw paint on fur coats.
Mostly yes. People who pit two dogs in a fight to the death in hopes of watching them tear each other apart are cold-hearted motherfuckers who like bloodshed. Hunting for sport? Eh. Not quite as malevolent in nature most of the time, although the 'pride' of shooting down the biggest buck or hauling in the biggest Snapper simply to release it again is morally questionable. I wonder how many consider their practice for how it 'could' be seen from the outside as opposed to simply living out family/cultural tradition.
Fishing is obviously different because the fish are dumb enough to fall for the bait and it's not out of the ordinary for people to throw the fish back in the water after catching one.
Does that make it any less of an act of cruelty though? Disregarding the animal's intelligence and placement on the foodchain (ie: fish are a valuable resource), we still systematically create ways of tricking the fish into getting hooked for the sport and the thrill. We release it in a weakened condition where, depending on the type caught and other variables, a good portion will die. Granted, there are differences in the intent between certain areas of these sport types, such as a near instant kill in cases such as deer hunting being the aim, while catching a fish isn't always going to see it taken home and eaten or mounted.
This is all coming from someone who likes to fish. I do question the nature of my practice though.