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Animal Crossing New Horizons Fishing Tourney Tips

Well, we just completed our first Fishing Tourney in Animal Crossing New Horizons and are here to share the details on how to max it out. The fishing tournament in ACNH happens once a season, on the second Saturday of January, April, July, October. Since I’ve only been playing Animal Crossing New Horizons on my Nintendo Switch for two months, this was my first fishing tourney challenge with C.J. I caught over 300 fish and earned lots of swag with my own villager, as well as a bronze trophy (100 points), a silver trophy (200 points), and the elusive gold trophy (for getting over 300 points). Here are our tips for winning big in the Fishing Tourney:

Win the Fishing Tourney in ACNH

1. C.J.’s fishing challenge lasts until 6pm, so be sure to make time during the day to play. You need 300 points to get the gold fishing trophy, so it will take some time.

2. In the weeks before the Fishing Tourney, gather up as many manila clams as you can find in the sand around the sea, and make them into fish bait with your DIY workbench or work table. I made 250 pieces, but found enough fish naturally fishing in the river and the sea that I only used about 1/3 of my stored fish bait, and was able to pass the rest on to others in my family to use with their own villagers/characters to win big too and catch lots of fish. Sometimes you find a lot of fish around, sometimes you need to attract them with the fish bait.

3. Bring several fishing rods with you so if one breaks, you have another ready to go before the timer runs out. Obviously, don’t bring flimsy fishing rods. This isn’t the time to garner nook miles for breaking lots of tools.

4. C.J. allows you to enter the first Fishing Tourney challenge for free, but after that he charges 500 bells to enter each subsequent Fishing Tourney timed fishing challenge. If you didn’t do well in the first challenge, you won’t have earned enough bells from him to pay to play again, so make sure you have at least 500 bells. He pays you after each challenge, so going forward you should probably earn enough for your fish from C.J. to keep paying to enter the next fishing challenge and only need your own bells in the beginning.

5. Once the challenge starts, C.J. sets the timer at 3:00 minutes. This isn’t three minutes from when you first catch a fish, or first reach a body of water. The timer starts once you agree to the challenge, so the time it takes to get to a river or the sea detracts from your overall time. I found it necessary to chop down trees and move furniture that were in my way of making a straight beeline to bodies of water, so I didn’t waste valuable time. You may have to move bushes or tables around too. If you catch at least 3 fish you get a two point bonus, which helps you get to 300 points faster (after a while, this gets tedious and you want to get there as fast as possible).

6. All the villagers are out fishing at the start of the day, and were in my way at all the spots closest to the plaza where the challenges start, so I had to figure out the best path with all those obstructions. The villagers can’t be moved or pushed away on Tourney Day, but as the day wears on, they do start dropping out and returning home or to normal island activities, so more space opens up.

7. Nook’s Cranny sells a timer that you can use to practice catching as many fish as possible in three minutes. The most I ever caught in the 3 minute challenges is 9 fish, so I have a goal to surpass next time. Start the timer in the plaza (where C.J. sets up) and plot your course to the nearest body of water.

Whether or not you have a goal of mastering the ACNH Fishing Tourney every season, and getting multiple Animal Crossing New Horizons gold trophies, at least enter a initial attempt, because you earn Nook miles after the first timed challenge each season. It’s fun to go all the way at least once and get the gold trophy to display in your house, and it adds to your home assessment when the HHA Happy Home Academy visits. Stay tuned for more tips for other events and challenges in Animal Crossing New Horizons!