Best Fishing Tournaments to Put Your Fishing Skills to the Test!

Fishing Tournaments

Ready your rods, lures, and bait, and put your fishing skills to the test by participating in these best fishing tournaments in the United States! In this article, we’ll go through each fishing competition’s requirements, entry fees, and prizes. 

Keep in mind that the details can still change. We suggest visiting the tournament’s official website for the latest announcements. 

Billfish Tournaments

picture of a marlin

Silver Sailfish Derby

Date: 5th to 9th January 2023 
Location: West Palm Beach, Florida 

If you’re a sailfishing fan, make your way to the Silver Sailfish Derby tournament in West Palm Beach, Florida. This fishing competition is the oldest running sailfish tournament, but it still attracts anglers from all over the country. 

You stand a chance to win prestigious awards at this tournament, including

  • The Louis S. Boski Outstanding Catch Award
  • The exquisite Mrs. Henry R. Rea Trophy

Unfortunately, this tournament limits boats to 50. It is also not open to professional anglers, crew, and captains (those paid to fish in the previous year). To know more, you can read the 2022 Silver Sailfish Derby tournament rules.

Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic 

Date: 5th to 11th June 2023 
Location: Biloxi, Mississippi 

Another billfish tournament you should participate in is the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic (MGCBCC), one of the largest billfish fishing tournaments in the Gulf of Mexico. 

This 2022, anglers paid $6,000 for the entry fee. This covers the boat and four anglers. A separate entry is available for their five tournament award divisions. 

Fun Fact: In 2022, the It Just Takes Time team swept all the blue marlin divisions, taking home the top prize of over $600,000! 

If you want to join this tournament, you must be conversant with Highly Migratory Species (HMS) regulations and possess an Atlantic HMS Angling Permit. To qualify for the state record, having a Mississippi saltwater fishing license is required. 

Blue Marlin World Cup

Date: 4th July 2023 
Location: Worldwide 

The Blue Marlin World Cup happens in one day, making it more fun, exciting, and challenging. There is only one winner in this competition; Whoever catches the largest blue marlin (over 500lbs) is the champion. 

If you want to participate, the entry fee is $5,000 and covers everyone on the boat. However, you can pay $8,000 per person to enter the Big Blue Challenge. Here, you stand a chance to win a bigger award. 

Winning anglers take home hefty cash prizes and bragging rights for catching the largest blue marlin. In 2022, the tournament winner, My Victoria, took home $628,000

But before anything else, ensure you get the proper permits and licenses and abide by the IGFA rules.

The Wharf Marina is the organizer, and Costa is the official sponsor of this blue marlin fishing tournament. 

Bermuda Big Game Classic

Date: 13th to 17th July 2023 
Location: Hamilton, Bermuda 

The Bermuda Big Game Classic will happen at the Hamilton Princess resort. It is an event under the Bermuda Triple Crown Billfish Championship (BTC). The event has sponsors like Bacardi, The Waterfront Residence, Costa, Yeti Coolers, and Merrit’s Boat and Engine Works. 

The Bermuda Big Game classic’s entry fee costs $3,500, which already covers six anglers. This fee covers registration and participating in the tournament’s social and entertainment activities. On the other hand, non-anglers will pay $200 per person for access to activities and entertainment spots at the resort. 

The winning team must have the highest points accumulated throughout the tournament for the Team Division Awards. However, optional jackpots include

  • The Daily Billfish Release Jackpot
  • The Daily Blue Marlin Jackpot

Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament

Date: 9th to 18th June 2023
Location: Morehead City, North Carolina 

The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament is an annual tournament and part of the NC Billfish Series. As such, you have the opportunity to win massive cash prizes. 

This year, teams were competing for $3,000,000. To bring this money home, the first team had to earn 3,300 points across all the events in the tournament. 

Fortunately, the entry fee for this fishing competition is flexible, depending on the level you’re signing up for. But since it’s a hook and line, rod and reel fishing tournament, you must adhere to strict requirements. Moreover, harpooning, shooting, and lancing are illegal. 

The tournament sponsors include Town Creek Marina Beaufort, NC, Towne Bank, and Hatteras, among many more. 

Bass Fishing Tournaments

an angler removing the hook from a bass

Bassmaster Tournaments

Date: Starting 16th February to 14th October (depending on the series) 
Location: All over the United States 

The BASS (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society) organizes these fishing tournaments alongside sponsors like Toyota and Humminbird. 

Only 16 years old and over BASS members can qualify for these tournaments. In addition, every event has a different venue, and the prizes vary depending on your division. For instance, 1st place in the Pro Division got $35,000 this year.

To make it even better, you will battle other anglers hoping to catch the largest bass. Doing so will enter you into the Bassmaster Elite Series for 2024. 

Northwest Bass

Date: 22nd April to 24th September 
Location: Oregon and Washington 

Nixon’s Marine and Anglers Inn International are long-time supporters of the Northwest Bass. This exciting three-day event welcomes bass lovers in or around Oregon and Washington to sign up individually or as a team. Team entries for the tournaments cost $250. However, other options cost between $20 and $50. 

If you’re part of a team, you must participate in three Washington and Oregon Qualifiers to move on to the combined championship. In 2022, anglers participated in the Big Bass Tournament in May for over $50,000 in prizes. 

Alabama Bass Trail

Date: 11th February to 21st October 2023 
Location: Alabama 

The Alabama Bass Trail has a North and South Division, each with five fishing tournaments. These events will happen on five lakes in Alabama during this 10th season in 2023. The prize? $600,000 in cash, including $10,000 to commemorate the event’s 10th year. 

Every team must pay $1,300 as the registration fee to cover events in both divisions. If you and your pals want to reserve a spot, pay a non-refundable fee of $500. Remember to pay the balance before the event. 

Some of the event’s sponsors include:

  • Yeti Coolers
  • T-H Marine Supplies 
  • Phoenix Bass Boats 

Unfortunately, you cannot participate if you’re an FLW Tour Boater, Bassmaster Elite Series Angler, or a Major Fishing League Angler.   

Big Bass Bash 

Date: 15th April to 8th October 
Location: Lake of the Ozarks, MO, and Grand Lake, OK  

The Big Bass Bash targets weekend anglers who want to have a great time with family. The competition trails are children-friendly and offer huge cash prizes. Event officials reserve the right to inspect your boat, and participants must take a polygraph test before the event. 

The entry fee for one day is $140. On the other hand, a two-day ticket costs $190. Kids pay $10 daily to participate in their division. The sponsors of this tournament include the American Fishing Tackle Company, Phoenix Boats, and Bajio. 

Catfish Tournaments

close up pictue of a catfish

Cabela’s King Kat Tournament

Date: 3rd November 2023 
Location: Huntsville, AL – Wheeler Lake

This tournament has local events running from January to October. However, the creme de la creme is Cabela’s King Kat Classic. The entry fee for local events is $300 for a team of two. However, these local tournaments allow one extra person under 16 or over 65. On the flip side, you must pay $400 to participate in Cabela’s King Kat Classic. 

The fishing competition lets you try your luck at the King Kat Classic purse with hefty cash prizes and awards. The sponsors include Yeti Coolers, Costa, Smooth Moves, Mercury, and Lowe Boats. 

To qualify for the King Kat Classic, you must:

  • Finish in the top five at any event 
  • Enter at least five events 
  • Finish at least one King Kat event 

American Catfish Association (ACA) Tournament Series: Catfish Mafia

Date: 25th March to 16th September 2023 
Location: Sunbury. PA to Susquehanna River 

If you love catfishing and would love to participate in a tournament, register for Catfish Mafia. This family-friendly competition, sponsored by the ACA, hosts two tournaments; the shoot-out and the regular.

The shoot-out tournaments are $130, while the regular competition costs $70 for the main pot. An optional side pot sets you back $10 for both 

Note that all tournaments in this series pay back 100%. The top team gets 100 points, second place gets 95, and third place gets 90 points. 

Kids Fishing Tournaments

Kids Fishing Slam

Date: Spring 2023 
Location: ROC Park, Madeira Beach 

The Kids Fishing Slam is a no-entry-fee competition. It welcomes kids from under five to 14 years old to participate. It’s a one-day fishing competition where all kids have fishing gear, ready to get into the water. 

Old Salt provides fishing rods and baits if you don’t have them. This organizer also gives goodies and assistance to the first 250 young kids to join the tournament. Still, this kids’ competition is more about having fun with the family and making new friends. 

Sponsors include:

  • Century Dental 
  • Madeira Beach Marina 
  • Beach Builders 

Many prizes and trophies are up for grabs at the end of the tournament. However, the aim is to have a fun-packed day. Moreover, there are no strict requirements to join as long as you’re a child, 14 years and under. 

Kids Catch-All Fishing Tournament

Date: Last weekend of June 2023 
Location: Indian River Marina, Delaware 

The Lyme Disease Association of Delmarva and the Indian River Marina are the official hosts of this kids’ fishing tournament. 

If your kid is three to 18 years old, you can enroll them in the Kids Catch-all Fishing Tournament. To register, pay $25 per child or $150 per boat, which must have only six children. After registration, you get an email with the rules and all the necessary information to make your weekend fun-filled.

Every angler receives an award since the aim is to raise funds for the Lyme Disease Association of Delmarva. 

The Big Reward 

Attending a fishing tournament is the perfect opportunity to bring friends and family together. Moreover, you can put your fishing skills to the test, have fun, and win cash prizes. You also have excellent options, from one-day events to weekend-long competitions. So, ready your fishing gear and get going if you love fishing!