Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Spring Fishing Tourney tips & tricks

While fishing fanatic C.J. can visit your island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons almost any time during the week, the main event with this character is the seasonal Fishing Tourney. A day-long bonanza of fishing, this is an opportunity to catch loads and loads of fish and then hand them in for big profits and fish-themed rewards

There’s four Fishing Tourneys spread out through the year – one each for spring, summer, autumn and winter – so time is of the essence. Here’s some tips and tricks on how to make the most of the event!

We’ve got plenty of other walkthroughs and tips for Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and more on the way. Visit our game hub to check those out.

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When is the Fishing Tourney and what is it?

The Spring Fishing Tourney is on 11th April, with C.J. turning up in the main plaza and the tourney running between 9AM and 6PM, local time. Each event is announced in advance on the notice board in the plaza.

  • The Summer Fishing Tourney will be on 11th July 2020
  • The Autumn/Fall Fishing Tourney will be on 10th October 2020
  • The Winter Fishing Tourney will be on 9th January 2021

On the day of the tourney, just speak to C.J. and you can take on a 3 minute challenge to catch as many fish as possible. This is free for the first attempt, but costs 500 Bells for every go after that.

What do you get for taking part?

Every fish you catch during a tourney attempt earns you one point, with two bonus points if you catch more than three within that 3 minute window.

Your points are cumulative throughout the day, and for every 10 points you earn you can redeem them for a random fish-themed reward from C.J. We’re aware of the following rewards, but there are almost certainly more:

  • Fish-shaped rug
  • Fish themed bags (multiple)
  • Fish umbrella
  • Posters and paintings (multiple)
  • Fishing-rod stand
  • Fish-drying rack
  • Cooler
  • Marine pop wallpaper
  • Fish door plate
  • Anchor statue
  • Fish wand

Additionally, once you earn over 100 points in total, C.J. will send a trophy in the mail. For 100 points, this will be a bronze trophy, for 200 points it will be silver, and for 300 points it will be a gold trophy.

Though the tourney event ends at 6PM, C.J. sticks around in the plaza until 8PM, so you’ve got plenty of time to chat and redeem your points after the whistle has blown for the final time.

For more on C.J. and his more common Seasports Challenge, read our guide here.

Fishing Tourney Tips & Tricks

Just running around the island looking for fish shadows is pretty time consuming, but there’s some simple tricks for getting the most out of each 3 minute attempt. With these simple tips, we can reliably catch 8-10 fish and earn 10-12 points per attempt.

Before you start:

  • Stock up on Fish Bait – Before you get started, craft at least 10 Fish Bait. To craft Fish Bait, you need to scour the beaches for buried Manila Clams, which you can spot from their signature water spray and shadows. Dig them up, take them to a workbench and craft as much Fish Bait as you can.

  • Have a backup Fishing Rod – Your fishing rod doesn’t seem to be able to break mid-attempt, as we’ve twice had it break just after the last fish was caught. However, just to be sure, craft a backup fishing rod  so you can quickly switch and keep on fishing just in case the worst can happen.
  • Don’t worry about your inventory – Thankfully you won’t need to worry about your inventory during this as any fish you catch will magic itself into C.J.’s cooler. It stores up to 20 fish and he’ll offer to buy them off you after the round, and you can inspect its contents if there’s something you’d like to keep separate.

During the Tourney:

  • Sprint to the nearest shoreline! – Though you’ve selected to start the tourney, there’s a brief moment before the timer actually starts. You can still move during this time though, so hold ‘B; and sprint to the nearest shoreline. We recommend a horizontal stretch of beach over a river or pier, as the distance and positioning of the fish that spawn lets you cast more quickly and more reliably.
  • Use Fish Bait and cast ASAP – Quickly open your inventory, select and use Fish Bait to sprinkle bait in the water. This spawns a fish, and if you’re at the seafront, it should be conveniently placed that you can just cast right away. To speed this along, you can mash ‘A’ all the way through from opening the inventory to the point that the fishing tackle is in the air. Just make sure to stop before it hits the water!

  • Turn the sound up and close your eyes – Now comes the waiting for the fish to bite, which can take a while as they gently nibble a few times first. One tip for fishing in general is to close your eyes and listen for the deeper sound of the tackle being dragged under water. Human hearing can lead to slightly faster reaction times than sight or a combination of senses. Just hammer that ‘A’ button again and the fish is yours.
  • Know when to stop – Even if the fish is arcing through the air to your hand as the timer runs out, it won’t count to your total. Because of that, we’d say to stop using bait once you pass 15 seconds on the clock. You’ll still get the fish (and can sell it to C.J. at 1.5x what the Nooklings will pay), but it won’t count for the tourney.

Once the timer’s up, just head back over to C.J. and see how many points he’ll reward you with. Don’t forget to sell the fish in the cooler between rounds.


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