Most people fish for the fun of it. Catch fish or not, the experience is better than a day in the office. For other Type A personalities (if a true fishing person can be said to have a Type A personality) there are fishing vacations that can be centered around tournaments.
These types of tournaments can be broken down into two main categories – bass and salt water (both pier and deep sea). True, that classification overlooks fly fishing, a truly popular sport, but the other two are more widespread, coast-to-coast so to speak.
One of the most visible of these is the Bassmasters tournament series. Since bass fishing is the most popular freshwater fishing activity, it stands to reason it also would attract the most attention on the tournament circuit. This sport even gets regular coverage for the cable sports television networks.
Like many other so-called “rugged, outdoor” activities, fishing tournaments, particularly bass fishing tournaments, long have open exclusively to men, but that is changing. For instance, the Women’s Bass Fishing Association (WBFA) sponsors its own tournament tour, with events all over the country.
When it comes to salt water, marlin tournaments are king. Some of these and other coastal tournaments are not limited to one day or a weekend; some extend all summer or throughout the fishing season. In part, this acts as a boost to tourism, since vacationers are not limited to when to book the trip. Most sports fans have seen the winners of one of these tournaments, smiling while standing next to the winning catch hoisted up next to them, in the back pages of the daily newspaper.
These tournaments are big business and, often, also big for charity. For example, the Miami, Florida Miami Kiwanis Club sponsors a dolphin fishing tournament every year with a $5,000 prize for first place (a $750 first prize for the top woman angler). With luck, that might cover the boat rental. Of course, that does not include the drawing for the $15,000 Mercury 225XL Optimax engine open to the first 100 boats to register.
Smaller Fish to Fry
On the other end of the spectrum, is a tournament such as the Big Cats Fishing Tournament in Olsburg, Kansas, where anglers go “fishing for anything in the cat family on Tuttle Creek Lake.” (Unfortunately, that would not include the giant Mekong catfish found only in the waters of Southeast Asia.) A $20 entry fee there gets to angler in the money for the first prize of a new rod and reel.
In both cases, money raised at the events goes to charity.