A fishing tournament turns a casual hobby into a fun competition.
Winning a fishing tournament is the ultimate goal for professional anglers, as well as many amateurs. Having the biggest or longest fish in a contest often determines the winner, and competition in a fishing tournament is fierce. Although anglers often compete in a fishing competition simply for the joy of fishing, prize money can be a motivating factor. Some fishing tournaments are charity tournaments in which a local or national charity receives the prize money. There are also individual or team tournaments where the anglers themselves win money or other prizes.
Businesses or organizations commonly sponsor regional or national fishing tournaments. The tournaments usually focus on one particular type of fish, and the categories for winners are varied. Anglers can win for the biggest fish, the first fish, the longest fish, the most fish and the greatest combined weight of all fish caught.
In terms of duration, tournaments range from one to three days. At the end of the tournament, the tournament officials determine the winners and award the prizes, which are usually cash and can range up to thousands of dollars. Anglers who repeatedly do well in local and regional tournaments may be asked to compete in invitational fishing tournaments.
The Bassmaster tournaments are probably the most well known of all the fishing tournaments in the United States. Bassmaster hosts bass fishing events all over the country, including the Bassmaster Opens, Classic, Elite, Federation Nation, Weekend Series and the Women's Bassmaster Tour. Anglers compete at different locations throughout the year for the title of winner and cash prizes up to $100,000. Many anglers love the money, but they also love the bragging rights that come with winning one of these esteemed tournaments.
Not surprisingly, given their level of competition, Bassmaster tournaments are popular with both anglers and fans. Spectators follow the tournament trail to engage in activities like concerts, launch events, boat performances and demonstrations.
Both professionals and amateurs compete in this Lake Michigan fishing tournament. The Hoosier Coho Club Classic is in its 35th year and averages around 60 fishing teams. Prizes consist of a few thousand dollars.
A newer advantage of the Hoosier Coho Club Classic is the 333 championship series. Competitors take the three best fish from the tournament catch, weigh them and include them as part of the 333 judging. A variety of tournaments use the 333 championship series, but they are especially popular with the big lake tournaments listed on TournamentTrail.net. This series helps even the playing field for newer competitors - anglers who catch three good fish in two days have a chance to win.
The Ludington Offshore Classic is a Great Lakes tournament that lets competitors fish in one or all of the offered competitions. There were more than 300 entries in 2008, and the tournament has professional, amateur, ladies and youth divisions. This tournament offers more than $100,000 in cash and prizes.
Reeling for Kids is a celebrity fishing tournament that benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Alachua County, Florida. This tournament allows anglers to fish the ocean waters of Florida. Most fish are open game, with the exclusion of any out-of-season fish and sharks. Former University of Florida players Doug Johnson and Donnie Young sponsor and compete in the tournament, which often draws a crowd. Prizes include $3,000 for master anglers, and merchandise and a trophy for junior anglers.
The Get the Net tournament in Islamorada, Fla., is in its 13th year. This big game saltwater tournament in the Florida Keys is consistently rated by anglers as one of the region's best. Anglers can win $10,000 for catching a dolphin larger than 56 pounds. Other fish include wahoo, jack and tuna. The tournament offers competitors travel packages that include airfare and hotel accommodations. Anglers are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Caloosa Tournament Series includes the Caloosa Catch and Release Tournament, the Caloosa Summer Slam and the Caloosa Grand Championship. The series allows for wade fishing and places no limit on the number of anglers per boat. Fish include snook, redfish, trout and a mystery fish. Depending on the tournament division, competitors can win between $1,000 and $10,000.
The McDonald's Big Bass Splash is the largest amateur bass fishing contest. This competition is so popular because the sponsor is well known and the prizes are desirable. Prize packages include new cars and trucks, boats and cash prizes. The locations vary, and amateurs can relax in the fact that there are no professional fishers to compete with.