Image via Nintendo

I’m not much of an angler, but I do love a friendly competition, especially when there’s prizes involved. Even if it’s cheap, tacky junk, you make it a prize for a competition, and I want it. Luckily, fishing in Animal Crossing: New Horizons takes far less skill than real fishing, so you’ve got a much better chance of winning all the random oceanic knick-knacks your heart desires. Here’s the general low-down on fishing tourneys in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

Four times a year, every year, fishing enthusiast C.J. will set up a big stand in front of your island’s Resident Services building. This is the signal that it’s time for C.J.’s big fishing tourney! The fishing tourneys run from 9 AM to 6 PM on these dates:

  • January 9th, 2021
  • April 10th, 2021
  • July 10th, 2021
  • October 9th, 2021

To compete in a tourney, grab your favorite fishing rod (and perhaps a few extra rods) and go talk to C.J. You can compete as many times as you want, and your first entry will be free of charge. Every subsequent entry costs 500 Bells.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons Fishing Tourney Event Guide

When the round begins, you’ll have three minutes to catch as many fish as possible. Size, species, location, it doesn’t matter, just keep catching fish until the timer runs out. Every fish you catch scores you one point, and catching at least three fish will net you two bonus points. Oh, and don’t worry about running out of pocket space; any fish you catch are automatically transferred to the cooler at C.J.’s stand.

When the time runs out, go talk to C.J. again to tally up your score. With the points you get from competing, you can redeem one of 13 different kinds of nautical knick-knack, some of which have multiple variations. One prize redemption costs 10 points, so you’ll need at least 130 points to get one of everything. If you score enough points over the course of your entries, C.J. will also reward you with tourney trophies that’ll be mailed to your house the following day. 

  • 100 Points: Bronze Trophy
  • 200 Points: Silver Trophy
  • 300 Points: Gold Trophy

Additionally, you can sell any fish you have stored in C.J.’s cooler to him for his usual 150% markup. You can sell everything you caught at once by talking to C.J., though if you caught something you want to take to the museum or otherwise hold onto, make sure to manually remove it from the cooler before you sell everything off.

It can be an undertaking catching 300 points worth of fish in a single day, so make sure to craft a lot of bait, ensure you have easy access to water, and keep spare rods handy. Oh, and if you can, invite your friends! Fishing with friends in a tourney will net you up to ten bonus points per round!