Fishing has always been a great American pastime where you can immerse yourself in nature and catch some fish.
However, there’s no denying that fishing is also a sport and it can become really competitive, making it a great spectator sport. For many anglers, being a professional means getting paid a lot of money attending fishing tournaments. For those who have mastered the skills involved in angling, participating in tournaments is the ultimate way to challenge themselves.
For this article, we will cover some of the biggest and most popular fishing tournament events in the United States.
What Are the Top Fishing Tournaments in America?
From professional to novice, many men and women are trying their hand with tournament fishing. Here are some of the most prominent angling tournaments in the country.
Bassmaster Tournament Trail
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail is the original and undoubtedly the most popular bass fishing tournament in the world where 50 of the best anglers compete.
Participants compete in 12 different events that culminate in the world-famous Bassmaster Classic.
In 2016, Jordan Lee bagged the championship with a total weigh-in of 56 lbs, 10 oz, and a prize money of $300,000. That’s not including the commercial contracts, sponsorship deals, and marketing royalties. The Bassmaster Tournament Trail takes place is some of the country’s bass fishing waters like the Lake Hartwell in Greenville, South Carolina.
Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament
The Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament is widely considered to be one of the best saltwater fishing tournaments in the country.
The tournament takes place in June – a season when blue marlins are lurking the waters of North Carolina. It’s also the summer so it’s a perfect time for the most hardcore fishing enthusiasts. This is a week-long tournament that pays the big bucks.
Participating in the tournament means that it will cost you around $19,000. However, the prize money (not to mention the fun that you will have) is quite awe-inspiring. During the 58th Big Rock, angler Ashley Lauren and her team were able to reel in 621.4-pounder which won them $662,995.
This is one of the oldest tournaments on the East Coast and is rich in the history of blue marlin fishing.
Walmart FLW Tour
What? Walmart has its own fishing tournament? Yup, it also happens to be a very high-paying bass fishing tournament and is very popular as well.
The FLW Tour is organized by the Fishing League Worldwide and like the Bassmaster Tournament Trail, this tournament is participated by the world’s best bass anglers. The tour begins in September where the competitors fish for several events which culminate to the Forrest Wood Cup in August.
The current champion of the 2017 Walmart FLW Tour is Justin Atkins who bagged $300,000 in winnings.
The Mid-Atlantic Saltwater Fishing Tournament
Established in 1991, the Mid-Atlantic Saltwater Fishing Tournament is a million-dollar-plus tourney that is held at Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, New Jersey.
In 2015, the tournament has given a total payout of $2,812,010 which is nothing short of impressive. This competition is unique because there are various categories and optional jackpots that allow the prize money to be shared with more winners, instead of the winner-takes-all approach.
The tournament happens within five days of fishing where anglers target fishes like tuna, billfish, and more.
How to be Eligible for Fishing Tournaments
Qualifying for the top fishing tourneys in the country starts at the local level. You have to compete and win your local fishing tournaments to have a chance. For example, only the top 50 bass anglers are able to compete in a prestigious event like the Bassmaster Tournament Trail.
Winning is also not enough to move up the rankings because popularity is a factor as well. In most fishing tourneys, you can only register if you’re invited. So on top of winning, anglers must also know how to market their own name. This is where competitors can get help by receiving sponsorship from local businesses or big companies.
Final Cast Thoughts
Fishing tournaments tell a great American story.
If you are really serious about your angling career, you might want to consider starting from the bottom like a kids fishing tournament (that means starting young). There is no stopping the popularity of fishing tourneys within the United States, and they’re only going to get better and bigger.
Competing in a tournament is a great way to do something that you love while getting the chance to earn big bucks. So our only advice is to keep at it. Who knows? One day, we might just see you competing in one these prestigious fishing tourneys.
Have you competed in a fishing tournament before? How did you do? Any tips that you can share? Feel free to share your experiences with us and our readers by commenting below.