All About Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ Fishing Tourneys


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Animal Crossing New Horizons’ Fishing Tourneys have officially begun!

This once a season event, lasting from 9AM to 6PM local time, challenges players to catch as many fish as possible within a time limit, and offers exclusive rewards for players to collect.

It also happens to be a great way to earn some bells, too!

Hooked your attention? Stay on the line, and reel in everything you need to know about this once a season event!

Event Overview

Once a season, (Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall), from 9AM to 6PM, C.J. will host a Fishing Tourney on your Island, challenging players to catch as many fish as possible in 3 minutes.

Participating in this challenge will allow you to acquire points, and with enough points, you can earn some limited-time rewards!

During the challenge, while the timer is active, all fish caught will be sent to a cooler in the plaza, freeing players’ pocket space.

These fish can be claimed after the tourney run, and since C.J. himself hosts the Tourney, every fish caught can be sold for a 50% bonus to C.J. directly.

The Fishing Tourney is not a one-time challenge, however. Players can attempt the challenge as many times as possible, for a fee.

Are you ready to start the tourney? Then talk to C.J. in the Plaza to begin!

How it Works

While the specifics vary depending on how the player starts the Tourney (more on that shortly), here’s the general process:

The rules for the Fishing Tourney are simple: catch as many fish as possible within a 3 minute trial. Each Fish you catch is worth 1 point, and your points are tallied up and saved after each round.

Once you collect 10 points or more, you can talk to C.J. and ask to exchange your points for exclusive fishing tourney items. These items are chosen at random by C.J.,

While the timer is active, any fish caught are sent directly to the event’s cooler. This cooler, located in a tent in the plaza, allows the player to claim individual fish of their choosing.

If players do not want their catches, C.J. will buy the fish in the cooler for a 50% premium.

You must, however, empty the cooler before starting a new round. C.J. will not allow you retry the tourney until this is done, so sell or claim your fish between each round!

The process after this depends on if you’re a single player, playing with friends online/locally, or if you’re playing on one system.

We’ll start with the single-player differences.

Single Player

As a Single-Player, you’ll experience a much more simplified and self-paced version of the tourney.

All of the other rules are the exact same, but you’ll have to pay an entry fee of 500 Bells a round, unless it is your very first attempt for the day.

There is also a solo bonus of 2 points if you successfully catch 3 or more fish.

While you won’t get as many points as you would playing with others, you are free to clear the cooler and start the time trial at your own pace.

Local / Online Multiplayer

If you have a friend with a Switch and another copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, this method of play is the best way to enjoy the fishing tourney.

Beyond playing with your friends, the entry fee is waived for all players, and a co-op bonus of 5 points applies to everyone when a total of 5 fish or more have been caught.

Also, the solo bonus of 2 points for the player catching 3 or more fish applies, too!

This means that each player can get 10 points or more a round, thanks to the generous co-op bonus.

The downsides? Like all other characters, only one player can talk to C.J. at a time, and every player who participates must empty their cooler before a new round starts.

This naturally means that if you have a friend who tends to idle, or forgets to empty the cooler, the entire tourney is halted until their cooler is cleared. You’ll also have to wait for them to finish talking with C.J., too.

Any one player can also start a round at any time, too, so other players may start rounds without you being ready.

And without any coordination between your friends, they can wind up scaring fish away and taking nearby fish spawns, as all fish spawns are shared between all players.

Don’t let the downsides scare you though, as playing with friends is the most efficient way of getting points.

Same-System Multiplayer

Of the three versions of the fishing tourney, this one is arguably the worst, depending on how many people actively play Animal Crossing on one Switch.

It also plays heavily into the leader/follower mechanic used for same system co-op.

Like the solo version, each round of the tourney costs the leader 500 Bells, unless they happen to be playing for the first time today.

Also, the leader is the only player that will gather points from this method, so the other player must be ok with helping just the leader benefit.

While I personally haven’t tested the tourney completely with this method, just hearing the rules alone made the event sound restricting.

This doesn’t even include the fact all players have to stay on the screen together, and that only the leader can pocket things directly to their inventory.

Same system multiplayer aside, there are some ways you can prepare for the tourney.

Preparing for the Tourney

Whether the Fishing Tourney is live or not, there are some preparations players can take to make the event easier and less stressful.

Stockpile Manila Clams and Fish Bait

The event is all about fishing, right? Well, what better way is there to prepare for your run in advance?

If you didn’t already know, you can make fish bait to force a fish to generate in water, saving you the hassle of running across the island for the tourney!

As for how to make Fish Bait, you’ll have to hang around your island’s beaches, and dig on dark spots that eject water from under the sand. These are Manila Clams, and digging up your first one will give your Villager the inspiration to make fush bait!

The individual clams take up a pocket slot each, but fish bait can be stacked up to 10 a slot, which is about how much you can use in a tourney round at once.

Just be sure to keep a nice stockpile for the fishing tourney!

Clear Paths to Bodies of Water

As simple as this sounds, it would be best for you to do a sweep of the island, making sure there’s no furniture or similar blocking your ways to the nearest bodies of water. You’d be surprised by how much your charming outdoor patio or private beach can impede your progress!

You won’t have to do any heavy remodeling or anything, but just make sure you don’t have furniture near the edge of a body of water, and that you have nice, clear walkways to your beaches and rivers.

This also means limiting how much fencing you use (if any), as you’d have to walk around a fence to get by.

If you happened to complete the main game’s campaign, you’ll also have access to the Island Designer app, which will allow you to make paths on the ground for visual routes to help navigate the island.

Consider these area management tips before racing the clock!

Carrying multiple Fishing Rods

Ok, this tip is fairly predictable, but it would be in your favor to have multiple fishing rods since, y’know, tools break a bit too often…

You don’t need to go overboard on the fishing rods, but consider carrying at least three at a time? All of your catches do go straight to a cooler in the plaza, so you’ll won’t have to carry a miniature aquarium in your pocket to play in the event.

And for this tip, we recommend using the regular fishing rods or better, not flimsy fishing rods. Iron Nuggets are fairly plentiful, so don’t be stingy!

Besides, if your fishing rod just so happens to break in the middle of a round, you’ll be glad you brought spares.

Use the Tool Ring! It is essential!

If you already know what a tool ring is, and already have one, skip this tip. If not, read on!

The Tool Ring is a very useful feature you’ll have to unlock, and as the name suggests, it gives you quick access to tools you have in your pockets. Up to 8 tools, specifically.

To get it, you’ll need to redeem a mere 800 Nook Miles at the Nook Stop, and to do that, you’ll need to have paid off your moving fees first.

If you haven’t already done so, see our guide on how to pay your moving fees in 30 minutes or less for help!

Once you redeem for the Tool Ring, you’ll then be able to access a “favorite” tool within seconds. Just press the up button and choose the tool you need!

And since Fishing Rods are rightly considered tools, you’ll want to have at least one or two registered to it.

The Tool Ring is a quick way to pull out your fishing rods with ease, and it’ll just as easily help you rebound if your fishing rod breaks and you have a spare. You won’t know just how much of a difference it makes until you don’t have one!

Fishing Tourney Tips

All prepared for the fishing tourney? Here are some simple tips to help you make the most of your tourney runs:

Use Fish Bait for a Guaranteed Fish Spawn

Similar to the above preparation tip, you’ll more than likely want to use fish bait during the finishing tourney.

Now, before anyone lets loose a roaring “Duh!” that rends the skies and breaks the internet, keep in mind that you only get points for catching fish, and that fish aren’t always guaranteed during the event.

This means that you can still possibly catch stones, trash, or yes, even those water eggs from the infamous Bunny Day event; All of which will not count toward your score, and still run down your timer.

Using fish bait eliminates these unwanted items, and guarantees that you get a fish with a successful catch.

On top of that, using fish bait also eliminates the need to run across the island looking for fish, since the fish will come to you.

If you don’t have fish bait, it isn’t impossible to do well in the event, but it does mean you’ll have to run across the island looking for your next catch.

Don’t Fish While Anxious or Stressed

Just like fishing in real life, you need patience and a cool head to be a successful angler in New Horizons.

If you’re too anxious or stressed, you’ll likely reel in far too early, which scares the fish away entirely, and can further increase your stress and axiety. Talk about a vicious cycle!

Some fish are also very cautious about biting, so you’ll really just have to wait, even if that one fish bit the hook fooorreeveerr.

To help you mellow out some, even if just for a minute, my advice would be to get comfortable, maybe turn on a fan for a cool breeze, and just let your mind relax.

That’s just my two quarters, anyways. If you know what helps you unwind, do it! Clear your mind for a bit and give yourself a break!

Now, for those of you who are clinically or chronically anxious, I’m not a licensed therapist, but one of my blog buddies are, and I found their posts to be very helpful.

Their blog, A Thousand Mountains, touches on topics of anxiety and depression, and I think that the advice they give is both insightful, actionable, and easy to understand.

Of course, you should consult your own medical care provider for medical concerns. We offer advice to the best of our knowledge, but only your medical provider will best know what works for you.

Don’t Fish While Distracted

Similar to the above, try to avoid fishing when there are distractions around you.

Well-meaning, but chatty friends/family, loud environments, TV, etc… can all seem like common everyday happenstances, but they can be distracting! And you’re likely to miss a potential catch entirely when you’re distracted.

Besides that, fishing in this game does have a learning curve, and the dynamic rumble of your controller — One of the 7 unique features of the Joy-Con — doesn’t vibrate any differently to let you know something bit the hook! You’ll need to keep your eyes and ears focused to tell!

Be polite about it, but if you really need the peace and quiet to fish, ask your family or friends to keep it down, or use headphones.

If you don’t feel either of those are an option, feel free to retreat to a quiet place elsewhere.

In the end, New Horizons is a very laid-back, self-paced type of game, so don’t feel like you have to adapt your life to it. Go with the flow, and just relax! But if you need some peace and quiet to focus on fishing, there’s no shame in it!

Avoid Running along the shore, Placing Objects, and catching other Critters

All of these above actions are considered noisy, and will immediately scare away any fish nearby.

If you must run to look for other fish, do so away from the edge of the water.

If you’re out of space, try placing objects somewhere out of the way, selling them, or putting them in home storage.

And lastly, unless a critter is new or valuable, you might want to wait until after your Tourney round is complete.

While some of these may sound common-sensical, it’s important to not to forget these tips in the heat of the moment. Above all else, keep calm, stay level-headed, and you’ll do well during your trials!

Fishing Tourney Swag

The Fishing Tourney isn’t just a fun, mildly competitive minigame; there are rewards to earn, too!

After each round of the Tourney, (which means emptying the cooler), you can ask C.J. to redeem your points for the new items.

You’ll have to have 10 points or more to get an item, and the item is given to players randomly. There’s no catalog or menu to choose from, so it’s all very much luck of the draw.

Here’s what you can get from the Tourney as “Fish Swag”:

  • Anchor Statue (Furniture)
  • Fish Print (Wall Decoration Furniture)
  • Fish Rug (Rug)
  • Tackle Bag (Bag)
  • Marine Pop Wall (Wall)
  • Fish Wand (Transformation Wand)
  • Fish Umbrella (Umbrella)
  • Fish Drying Rack (Furniture)
  • Fish Pochette (Bag)
  • Fresh Cooler (Wardrobe)
  • Fishing Rod Stand (Furniture)
  • Fish-Print Tee (Shirt)
  • Fish Doorplate (Doorplate)

After 6PM

Once 6PM hits, the Fishing Tourney is officially over, and C.J. will not be taking any more entries for the Tourney.

He will, however, give you a cumulative total of how many points you’ve earned, and send you a reward in the mail if you’ve scored high enough. You have to talk to him after 6PM first, though!

He’ll also stick around until 8PM, should you want to redeem 10 of your points for some fish swag.

Sadly, C.J. also stops buying fish from you after 6PM, so you’ll have to sell them for regular price at the general store.

After 8PM

Once the clock strikes 8, C.J. will leave the Plaza entirely, but the event cooler will remain for you to collect any fish left behind from the tourney.

I haven’t tested to see what happens to the fish if they still haven’t been claimed afterwards, but my best guess would be that they’ll either be sent to the Community Chest in Resident Services, or just deleted entirely.

What happens to my unused points?

That’s one of the best parts of the Fishing Tourney event. They don’t expire. So you can always redeem them in any future Fishing Tourney events! Just talk to C.J. before 8PM to exchange them, as he’ll leave the Island by then.

I Missed the Event Completely! What can I do?

Ouch. Well, it happens, but you aren’t out of luck entirely. The event is seasonal, so you can wait until the next one, or, you can “Time Travel” to the event’s active hours.

A friend of mine was able to sucessfully time travel and participate in the event on version 1.1.4 a.

As for how to time travel, you’d have to manually change the date and time on your Switch to the event’s active time, and reload the game. Be careful though, as going backwards in time will cause any turnips you have to instantly spoil.


That’s everything you need to know about Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ Fishing Tourneys! What are you looking forward to most in the event? Let’s discuss below!

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