Competition Fishing

If you love fishing, you might be interested in becoming a competitive angler. Fishing tournaments, also known as derbies, are incredibly popular and with good reason. Tournaments like the BassMaster Classic represent one of the fourth most popular sports in the country. That’s right, fishing is one of the top five sports in the US, and competitive fishing has exploded into a must-see event for many people. Let’s look at some interesting facts.

While fishing competitions have been around for centuries as friends and family try to one-up each other, open tournaments hit television in 1967 on Lake Arkansas during the BassMaster Classic. It all began with a man watching a basketball game and wondering why he couldn’t watch his favorite sport: fishing. Since then, an entire industry has been born.

The largemouth bass is the single most sought-after game fish in the United States, with one out of every three competitions focusing on that specific variety. As for catching these big bass, it’s not all about who lands the largest one. Many factors decide who gets first, including the line weight, the total number of fish caught, and other tournament-specific criteria.

One surprising fact is that since 2009, competitive fishing has been classified as a sport in some schools. The first tournament saw 217 high schools send over 800 anglers to compete. In 2021, over 15 states sent multiple high schools to the championships, which lasted three days. It’s become such a big deal that the National Professional Anglers Association has partnered with the Student Anglers Association and taken everything to the next level up, with over 100 tournaments taking place each year.

The largest fish on record happened during a tournament in Australia. A 585 lbs swordfish was hooked by a 17-year-old, though it didn’t happen quickly. The team spent over five hours feeling it in. If you think that’s not impressive, the previously recorded largest swordfish was 416 lbs.

If you’re worried about what this is doing to the fish population, don’t be. It’s vital to many tournaments that the fish be returned to the water unharmed, and you can be disqualified for killing your catch. Instead, the trophy specimens are put in live wells and let go after officials’ examinations. In fact, fishing goes hand in hand with conservation. As a direct result of the first televised competition in 1969, a sports fishing organization was able to bring their worries over significant polluters to the court system and won! They continue to fight against pollution and dehabitation to this day.

So, if you’re interested in becoming a professional angler, now is the time. This sport is only getting bigger and better with each year that passes by. Get in on the fun and show everyone what a fantastic angler you are. If you do well enough, you can get sponsored by one of your favorite fishing equipment companies!