The Fishing Tourney is a recurring event taking place throughout the year in Animal Crossing: New Horizons! Learn about all of the Swag Prize items and how to get the most points in our guide.
Fishing Tourney Dates and Times
In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the Fishing Tourney event is held four times per year during each season on the second Saturday of January, April, July, and October! See the table below for the Fishing Tourney exact dates during the year of 2020:
When you’re playing the game on one of these dates where the Fishing Tourney takes place, you’ll find the C.J. special character setup with a tent outside of Resident Services beginning at 5AM when the day begins.
Unfortunately C.J. likes to have his morning coffee first before starting things up, so the Fishing Tourney event won’t actually begin until 9AM in the morning. And at 6PM sharp in the evening, the event will shut down and end meaning you’ll no longer be able to participate.
How to Play the Fishing Tourney
To begin playing in the Animal Crossing: New Horizons Fishing Tourney event, speak with the special character C.J. outside of Resident Services and ask him to start a challenge!
You can participate in an unlimited number of time trial challenges from C.J and the first one will be free, but you’ll have to pay a 500 Bells fee to begin new challenges after that.
Once the challenge begins, you will have three minutes to try and catch as many fish as you possibly can! A timer and fish caught counter will be displayed at the top of the screen to track your progress.
After the timer ends, talk to C.J. back outside Resident Services to find out how many points you earned from fishing. You get one point per fish caught, with a bonus 2 points awarded if you catch at least three fish during the challenge! These points can be exchanged for exclusive Fishing Tourney items later.
Selling or Removing Fish From Your Cooler
When you catch fish during challenges in the Fishing Tourney, your fish won’t actually be added to your regular pocket inventory but instead sent to the cooler outside of Resident Services.
This will save you the hassle of dealing with inventory space, but if you happen to catch a new fish that hasn’t yet been donated to your Museum, make sure to manually grab it from the cooler before it gets sold.
Once you speak to C.J. after the challenge, you can quickly sell the entire contents of your cooler to him. He’ll pay you at a premium rate of 150% of the regular sell price for fish, and you can sell fish caught outside of the tourney to him as well.
How to Get More Points & Win the Fishing Tourney (Tips & Tricks)
Without fully optimizing your Fishing Tourney strategy, it’s unlikely that you’ll earn more than 7 or so points in each challenge attempt. That’s not going to do the job though if you want to go for Gold ranking in a timely manner!
We’ve got a few handy tips on how you can get more points in every challenge run and rack up as many points as fast as possible.
Craft At Least 9 Fish Bait With Manila Clams
Since the goal of a Fishing Tourney challenge is to catch as many fish in a short period of time, a lot of the challenge is spent wasting your precious time hunting down a new fish shadow to catch.
To save yourself time and avoid racing around waiting for a fish shadow to appear, we recommend crafting Fish Bait to throw in the water anywhere guaranteeing a new fish shadow. You can do this repeatedly in one spot to maximize your limited time!
Plus if you’re playing the event during the Bunny Day Easter event in April and those pesky Water Eggs are getting in your way, using some Fish Bait can prevent that because you’ll always catch an actual fish when using bait!
If you’re not already familiar with Fish Bait, you can easily craft it by collecting Manila Clams. The recipe for Fish Bait is automatically learned the first time you get a Manila Clam.
Manila Clams can be found by searching for conspicuous activity in the sand on your island’s beaches and digging the spots with a Shovel. Just keeping looking up and down your beaches for the spots where you can see water squirting out of the sand!
Play Multiplayer With Friends
Another great way to get more points in a challenge run is playing the Fishing Tourney together with friends online or in local wireless! Not to mention, the grind is way more fun with some pals.
When you play a challenge together with friends, an additional bonus of up to 10 points is awarded for the fish you caught together as a group. Then the regular points you’d earn in single player for your own fish caught are added too!
Because of this, you can essentially guarantee getting more points in every challenge attempt than you would on your own in single player, so we highly recommend playing the Fishing Tourney with friends if possible.
As an extra bonus, the entry fee does not apply when playing challenges in multiplayer, so you can even save a bit of money at the same time.
We also noticed it’s possible for someone to earn the group bonus points even if they don’t catch any fish. So if you’re feeling generous, you can actually let one of your friends leech some free points while you do all of the work!
Use The Island Designer App to Terraform Water Nearby
When the Fishing Tourney challenge starts, you obviously want to head to the nearest area of water as fast as possible to begin fishing. For most players this will be very close to Resident Services, but if your water is farther away, you can use terraforming to create a pool of water closer.
To create water, you’ll need to use the Island Designer app on your NookPhone and select the Waterscaping option. Then you can simply create a pond or river of water directly next to Resident Services.
This trick won’t be particularly helpful though unless you’re using Fish Bait, but if you care enough about optimizing every part of the event to do this, then you’re likely already using Fish Bait.
How to Get Fishing Tourney Swag Prize Rewards
The Fishing Tourney in Animal Crossing: New Horizons features a new special set of exclusive items for participating in the event! After you’ve participated in one of the Fishing Tourney challenges and racked up some points, you can exchange for swag.
To exchange your points for swag prize items, chat with C.J. and select the “Swap my points for swag!” option. He’ll let you know how many points you currently have in your ‘pool’ and allow you to exchange 10 Points for one exclusive Fishing Tourney item!
From our experience, you will always get one complete set of each item once from C.J. before he’ll start to give you duplicates. Since there are 13 items to get, you’ll need to earn and exchange at least 130 Points to get the entire Fishing Tourney swag item set!
How to Get Fish Trophy Items for Total Points
In addition to the prize swag items that can be obtained by trading in your points to C.J, there are bonus Fishing Tourney Trophy items available for reaching milestones of total points.
Bronze Fish Trophy
Silver Fish Trophy
Gold Fish Trophy
It’s to good know that spending your points in exchange for prizes won’t affect your total points for earning a trophy. When you reach a milestone after completing a challenge, C.J. will let you know about it!
If you’re not sure how many total points you’re at so far and how close you are to the next milestone, you can add up all of your prizes so far and multiply by 10 to estimate, since each prize costs 10 points. You’ll need to have spent everything of course.
Complete List of All Fishing Tourney Swag Prize Items
You can exchange your points for 13 different Fishing Tourney exclusive fish themed swag items, plus variations for some items! A complete list of all 13 items are available below including furniture, bags, clothing, accessories, and more.
Anchor Statue + Variations
There are six variations of the Anchor Statue item including Black, Silver, Gold, White, Blue, and Retro.
You’ll get a random Anchor Statue version from C.J, but the item can be customized to your choosing at a workbench.
Fish Doorplate + Variations
There are eight variations of the Fish Doorplate item including Light Blue, Red, Orange, Yelllow, Green, Blue, Black, and Gray.
You’ll get a random Fish Doorplate version from C.J, but the item can be customized to your choosing at a workbench.
Fish Print + Variations
There are seven variations of the Fish Paint item including Giant Trevally, Red Snapper, Blue Marlin, Squid, Black Bass, Carp, and Giant Snakehead.
You’ll get a random Fish Paint version from C.J, but the item can be customized to your choosing at a workbench.
Fish-Drying Rack + Variations
There are three variations of the Fish-Drying Rack item including Fish, Squid, and Octopus.
You’ll get a random Fish-Drying Rack version from C.J, but the item can be customized to your choosing at a workbench.
Fishing-Rod Stand + Variations
There are three variations of the Fishing-Rod Stand item including Natural, White, and Black.
You’ll get a random Fishing-Rod Stand version from C.J, but the item can be customized to your choosing at a workbench.