Fishing Tourneys in ACNH will be introduced after the player has upgraded and decorated the island, and you may see a notice on your bulletin board at the start of the week announcing the fishing tournament on the coming Saturday. They only take place once per season on the second Saturday of the month.
When Do Fishing Tournaments Take Place
Fishing Tournaments in New Horizons appear to take place during each of the four seasons throughout the year, on the second Saturday of the month. On these days, C.J., the host, will run the tourney from 9AM to 6PM.
During this time, the music of the island will change to a more festive tune for the duration of the event, and C.J. will appear in your Plaza along with a large cooler. Your villagers will also get into the spirit by setting up spots to fish all over the island (though they will not directly compete against you).
You can compete throughout the day until the clock strikes 6PM; you will not be interrupted if this happens during a round. Once it’s past 6PM, you can still sell any remaining fish in the cooler to CJ and trade in your points for items. However you won’t be able to sell any fish not in the cooler to CJ if it’s past 6PM.
How to Enter the Fishing Tournament
On the day of the fishing tourney, talk to C.J. to learn all about how the fishing tournament works. Unlike previous Animal Crossing games that involved trying to find rare or specific fish, this tournament is all about quantity.
You will have 3 minutes to catch as many fish as possible, and will get 1 point for each fish caught – with an additional bonus of 2 points if you’ve caught 3 or more fish in that time. Your cumulative total of points can be exchanged at any time with C.J., who will give out a random item, clothing, or wallpaper/rug in exchange for 10 points.
You can repeat this event as many times as you like during the time of the tournament. The initial entry fee is free on your first attempt, and all other attempts will cost 500 Bells.
All fish you catch will automatically be transported to C.J.‘s cooler once caught, and you can then choose to sell them directly from the cooler to C.J. at 1.5x their normal sell value, or you can choose to grab any fish if you wish to keep them for yourself – but you cannot begin a new attempt until the cooler has been cleared.
Tips on Scoring the Most Points in the Fishing Tournament
The tournament itself is a relatively relaxing affair. Even with 3 minutes on the clock, you really can’t loose – and even 1 fish caught is 1 point gained. However, if you wish to maximize your point totals, consider these tips:
- This tournament will test your ability to angle your casts in a quick and efficient manner – above all else. You’ll need to be able to move rapidly between fish, figure out where the front of their shadow is facing, and angle yourself to cast your line to get their attention.
- Always keep at least one spare Fishing Rod in your inventory. Be sure to craft a Flimsy Rod with 5 Tree Branches, and then upgrade it using an Iron Nugget with the Better Tool Recipes redeemed with Nook Miles.
- Sprinting in a circle around your main river and the beach is a great method to quickly find new fish – just be sure your running does not scare them away. Since you can see much further North, Sprinting in that direction is much less risky.
- Having trouble catching a fish at the right time? Remember the words of the great Obi-Wan Kenobi: “Your eyes can deceive you, don’t trust them.” Once you know a fish is coming to nibble at your lure, rely instead on the sound alone and wait for the telltale “plop!” of your lure being dragged under to quickly react and catch your fish.
- If you don’t want to waste time searching for fish, you can always stockpile Fish Bait between attempts by digging up Manila Clams on the beach. Tossing bait into the water will always make a new fish appear – but you’ll have to quickly reorient yourself to then cast a line. Remember that fish that appear in the river will usually turn to face either upstream or downstream, while fish summoned in the ocean will always face towards the shore. Fish in ponds can face any direction.
- Even during an official event, you can still accidentally catch things that are not fish – like trash or Water Eggs during the Bunny Day event. These unfortunately don’t count towards your score, and will waste valuable time.
- When your time is up at the end of the 3 minutes, any fish you are currently in the process of catching will not count unless they are already in your hand and you are showing them off. Since the number of nibbles a fish will take are anywhere between 1-5 seconds, expect to spend anywhere from 10-15 seconds per fish.
- Use Terraforming to your advantage to create an ideal loop of a river and beachfront that’s free from obstacles. Time spent dodging around houses or placed items is time off your clock!
As you accumulate points for each fishing attempt you undertake, you can exchange 10 points with C.J. to get a random fishing-themed item. He will also keep track of your point total for the day, and award you a trophy if you’ve amassed enough points over the course of the Fishing Tournament day:
|100 Points Total||Bronze Trophy|
|200 Points Total||Silver Trophy|
|300 Points Total||Gold Trophy|
Given the rate at which you are likely to accumulate points (and knowing that everyone will catch fish at a different rate depending on skill), you can likely expect to take up to an hour accumulating 100 or so points.
Not everyone has the time to fish for several hours straight. If you find yourself unable to accumulate enough points in the day but still want a shot at a trophy, you can quit the game and turn your Switch’s internal clock back by a few hours to extend your time in the tournament. However, if you slip into the next day or the previous one, your point total will be lost.
Below are all the different swag items you can win from the Fishing Tournament by trading in 10 points to C.J.. He should give you a different prize each time you trade in points until you have each type, at which point you will then start receiving duplicate prizes.
- Anchor Statue
- Fish Door Plate
- Fish Drying Rack
- Fish Pochette
- Fish Print
- Fish-Print Tee
- Fish Rug
- Fish Umbrella
- Fish Wand
- Fishing Rod Stand
- Fresh Cooler
- Marine Pop Wall
- Tackle Bag
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