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Four Tips for Tournament Fishing

Updated on April 18, 2015

Fishing in tournaments can be fun for anyone, young or old. A tourney is just like any other competition, where there is one goal of all the participants - to catch the biggest or most fish, usually of a particular species. Kids can be introduced to sportfishing tournaments by family fishing derby days locally, and those sponsored by regional fish and game authorities.

No matter the participants or the ultimate goal, here are some tips for the success in any fishing tournament.

Fishermen gather around the weigh-in table to have their catches logged. At the end of the event, the 54 children had caught 187 fish.
Fishermen gather around the weigh-in table to have their catches logged. At the end of the event, the 54 children had caught 187 fish. | Source

4 Tips for Tournament Fishing

There are four basic tips for tournament fishing:

  1. Learn the rules of the tournament.
  2. Know the fish you are fishing for.
  3. Start with a fish you know, or a location you are familiar with.
  4. Have the right attitude.

Learn the Rules of the Tournament

Every contest will have rules, and sometimes with very specific guidelines for entrance into the tournament. Know what equipment you can and can't use for fishing, which boats you can use, and if special permits are required, especially in the case of locations in private or public parks. Licensing will in most cases always be needed, and they obviously need to be up to date.

Also, read the rules carefully as how the fish are landed may mean a huge difference on whether you are disqualified in the end (like keeping the fish alive for the weigh-ins, or even how they are brought on board and kept).

Know the Fish You’re Scouting

This may sound basic, but it is important for beginners to know that fishing for one species if very different from another. Each fish species will have its own tackle, rigging, and likes & dislikes. If there is a tournament that catches your attention, learn all about the fish and actually fish for it.

Others in the tournament may already be 'experts' in fishing for that species or have fished in that area for years. The best advantage for a novice is to join a contest for a fish they already love to fish for in an area they are familiar with.

This fleet of sportfishing boats is heading out at the start of a fishing tournament, Georgetown, South Carolina.
This fleet of sportfishing boats is heading out at the start of a fishing tournament, Georgetown, South Carolina. | Source

Work Your Way Up

Some fishing tournaments will attract many professional fishermen and some may be really expensive to enter. Entering fishing tournaments can start feeling like a full time job after a while. Start with small tournaments to get a feel of following the rules, fishing on a time limit, and concentrating on a particular fish.

And don't enter what you can't lose as while the purse for some fishing tourneys may be very large, the entrance fees or rental fees for any required equipment can add up, too, and there is only one winner.

Have the Right Attitude

While there is only one winner at the end of the tournament, with many people vying for a few spots at the end (1st place, 2nd place, etc.), the right attitude for fishing should always be in check. It is a contest after all. On the other hand, it is recreational and fun.

A lot of people enter tournaments as a group of friends on a boat, or enter singly on a day off from work to spend time in the outdoors. Families can enter together as sibling groups or to build a family bond across generations, like parents and kids, grandparents and grandchildren, etc. In the end it is all about having a great time in the outdoors, and just fishing.

What Fishing Tournaments Have You Entered?

Which fish did you fish for?

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