Freshwater and Saltwater Fishing Competitions Coming This Year
For Floridians who love the sport of fishing, this year’s slate of tournaments thus far promises to be as competitive and exciting as ever. Below we include some of the biggest tournaments in the state that have already been announced, offering the most prize money and prestige.
If you are interested in participating, or simply want to keep up with the adventure, now is the time to start checking your calendar and making plans for 2023.
February 9–11, 2023
Sugarloaf Shores, Florida
From humble beginnings in 2011, the Cuda Bowl gets its name after the first tournament was held the last Friday and Saturday before Super Bowl Sunday. Started by flats and fly-fishing guy Capt. Justin Rea and his wife Loren, the tournament helps to generate winter time business for local shallow water fishing guides as well as entertain anglers with a fun and reasonably priced tournament.
Jimmy Johnson’s “Quest for the Ring” Championship Fishing Week
March 7-11, 2023
Pro Football Hall of Famer and former pro football coach Jimmy Johnson again presents his popular fishing tournament, joined by the country’s top anglers vying for the largest guaranteed purse in tournament history. Teams in multiple categories will compete for a guaranteed seven-figure prize.
The multi-event schedule includes the Quest for the Ring Championship, Celebrity Pro-Am Championship, JJ SportFish Tournament, and a Tournament of Champions. Fishing locations include Key Largo, Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach. Boat entry starts at $5,000, and anglers on the winning boat will receive custom-designed Jimmy Johnson’s NBC Championship rings.
Don Hawley Invitational Tarpon Fly Tournament
Named in honor of the late Don Hawley, the tournament that bears his name was first organized by Dick Pope Jr. in 1975 and continues 48 years later. The tournament holds the distinction of being the first tarpon tournament to become catch and release, only after conservation-minded anglers voted for a change in 1987. Contestants will not only enjoy five days of fantastic fishing, they will also be helping to raise money. The tournament donates all proceeds to the Guides Trust Foundation to help local fishing captains during times of need.
Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament
June 19-23, 2023
Referred to as the “Wimbledon” or “World Series” of tarpon fishing, the Gold Cup Invitational Tarpon Tournament is one of the oldest tarpon fishing tournaments in the United States. In fact, 2023 will mark the tournament’s 60th anniversary. The Gold Cup is an all release, fly-fishing tournament known worldwide by premier fly fisherman featuring a limited field of only 25 anglers with awards given out for various categories.
Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic at Sandestin
June 21-25, 2023
Miramar Beach, Florida
Located in one of the South’s most popular resort destinations, the 21st annual Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic at Sandestin is considered by some to be the standard for world-class sportfishing tournaments.
The event takes place in one of the hottest fishing waters in the United States and is timed to coincide with the peak of the Gulf Coast’s blue marlin season.
Anglers enjoy the deep blue Gulf of Mexico waters of the Gulf of Mexico, plentiful fish, generous payoffs and onshore attractions. With cash awards surpassing two million dollars, this competition is one of the top big money tournaments in the world.
Key West Marlin Tournament
July 19-22, 2023
Key West, Florida
The Key West Marlin Tournament, which coincides with the annual Hemingway Days Celebration, offers $50,000 in guaranteed cash prizes.
The tournament is limited to the first 75 boats that register. The boat entry fee is $2,250 and provides for a captain, a mate, two anglers and four social privileges. Additional social privileges are available for $150. There is no maximum number of anglers per boat, but additional anglers may pay $250 each to fish and enjoy social privileges.
2023 XTreme Bass Series and Championship
- Statewide divisional competitions January-September 2023
- Championship event, November 2-4, 2023
Xtreme Bass Series Website
The Xtreme Bass Series Championship, the largest grassroots tournament trail in Florida, begins with statewide divisional competitions in January, and culminates its 18th season in Florida with its biggest event of the year: a 12-division circuit competition that boasts nearby events, top payouts, low team entry fee—and the opportunity to compete for a new bass boat package at the end-of-season Championship event November 2-4.
Participation in the November Championship challenge will require participation in one of the 12 competing divisions across the state. Each division will participate in nine events stretching from January through September. Schedules and results for each division will be posted each month. Check tournament rules for fees, scoring rules, pre-registration and other information.
Insure Your Fishing Boat with Farm Bureau Insurance
If you’re heading out on the water this year for fishing or recreation, make sure your boat is protected against damage and liability with a high quality, affordable insurance policy from Farm Bureau Insurance. Get started by contacting an agent near you using our Agent Finder.