Finding Local Fishing Tournaments For First-Timers

By Debbie Hanson

Feb 21, 2017

Local fishing tournaments can be a good way for first-timers to get experience with competitive fishing. Find out about the best fishing tournaments near you.

Do you love recreational fishing, but want to get a feel for what it might be like to fish competitively? How about finding and entering one of the best fishing tournaments near you? Local fishing tournaments can be a great way to meet other anglers, raise money for charity, or just find out if future fishing contests and competitions might be of interest to you.

Best Fishing Tournaments Near You

There are many different types of fishing tournaments that you can consider participating in. While some may be invite only or may have a cap on the number of participants, you can almost always find one that would be a good fit depending on the type of fishing experience you have. You can find a list of the best fishing tournaments near you by searching online, checking local fishing magazines, and listening to your local fishing radio show.

Charity Tournaments

Charity fishing tournaments donate a percentage of the entry fees to benefit a specific charity. If there is a cause that's important to you, there may be a fishing tournament near you that gives back to this cause. For example, there is a tournament that is held near Fort Myers Beach, FL every year called the Grouper Grapple that uses the proceeds from the event to fund program activities aimed at supporting combat wounded veterans and their families. If you do a search online for "charity fishing tournaments" and include your city or state, you should be able to find an event in your local area.

Fun Tournaments or Fishing Clinics

You can often find fun fishing tournaments or local fishing clinics that are geared toward families. These types of events are designed to be fun and aren't intended to be highly competitive. Many fun tournaments and fishing clinics are created as an opportunity to get younger generations excited about fishing while teaching them the value of fisheries conservation.

Local Bass Fishing Tournaments

Most local bass clubs hold bass fishing tournaments on a regular basis with other bass clubs in the same region or area. If you want to know how to get started in bass tournaments, connect with a bass club in your area and contact the tournament director. Some clubs may require you to be member in order to fish a club tournament, but many clubs also hold open tournaments that non-members can enter.

Non-Boaters Tournaments

What if you don't have a motorboat, but still want to enter a fishing tournament? Don't worry; there are tournaments that non-boaters and kayak anglers can enter. In fact, there are many bass fishing tournaments that accept entries from co-anglers or non-boaters. These types of events generally pair a non-boater with a boater so that the non-boater can gain more experience with tournament fishing.

Learning how to enter fishing tournaments won’t take you much time. Make sure you have a valid fishing license, fill out an entry form (either online or on paper), and then submit your entry form to the tournament organizers along with your entry fee. Finally, don't forget to read a copy of the tournament rules or ask if a tournament meeting will be held to review the rules and guidelines before the day of the event.

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.