Many people would like to compete on the tournament trails,
and would do very well, even win large sums of money. What
about you? The first thing you have to ask yourself is,
"do I have what it takes"?
I will try to outline below some of the roadblocks and
requirements to answer your questions. Well to start with,
you need angling know-how. A good understanding of the lifestyle
and habitat of the fish you want to catch, including feeding
and mating habits. Then, you have to think like a fish!
These are just a few of the prerequisites you will need
before "stepping up to the plate". I began fishing in London,
England at the age of six on the banks of the river Thames.
Ten years later, I was competing in local tournaments or
matches against some of the best in the country. Using the
oldest cliché of all "I was hooked". By the age of twenty,
I was fishing in championship competition in different lakes,
rivers and streams, all over Europe. When I arrived in the
United States thirteen years ago, I fished European style
and kept catching these unusual fish called largemouth bass
(they are not native to Europe, however some have been found
in Italy and Spain). Five years ago I joined a local Long
Island bass club and it was there that I laid down the foundation
for what I do today. I began watching the club's senior
members catch bass consistently. I learned and used their
styles combining them with my own and formed a set of techniques
that I use today.
Once you have established a track record in tournaments
at a local level, sponsorship is a great way to start. When
selecting a sponsor, use their product because if you like
it and it works for you, you will have no trouble whatsoever
promoting its benefits on the road. Remember if you have
no confidence in a product, you will never successfully
convince others to use it. Always contact the marketing
division of the company and get a name to whom you can write
a letter, attaching your resume and relevant information
about your fishing capabilities.
Most sponsorship in the beginning will be in the form of
product. Once you have established a professional track
record, then dollars become part of the bargaining process.
This can be a lump sum per annum, or a "salary" based on
sales and seminar or trade show appearances. A fact worth
remembering is that there is more sponsorship dollars in
fishing today than golf and tennis combined!
While on the subject of dollars, this sport, like so many
others is not inexpensive. A typical tour of four, one-week
tournaments will cost you $2400.00 just to enter. Next comes
food, lodging, fuel and equipment, plus "on the road" vehicle
and vessel repairs. The amounts can vary, but a general
rule of thumb is between $6000.00 and $8000.00 per annum
for this one tournament trail. One-day tournaments are cheaper,
but still require overnight accommodations, entry fees and
all the other items previously mentioned. A weekend tournament
(typically Saturday and Sunday) will average between $300.00
and $600.00 dependent upon location.
Travel and vacation time play an important role in your
decision to turn pro. You will need a minimum 6 weeks vacation
per year if you hold down a full time job. That can be tough
and you will need an understanding boss. Virtually every
weekend you will be on the water, fishing or practicing.
I was once told while fishing with the legendary angler
Woo Daves, "there is no substitute for time on the water".
How right he was.
When you begin fishing from the back of another angler's
boat, you must have the basic skills to catch fish from
various locations regardless of who is in control of the
boat. The "back seat" angler who does his or her homework
has won many tournaments.
As if all that was not enough, you should be prepared to
address large crowds and speak to the press or television
crews who will come to you for comment and information.
The spectator and weekend angler is the bread and butter
of this $70 billion per annum industry. Without him or her,
there would be no tournaments, no new lures, rods, reels
or equipment, simply because there would be no one to buy
the goods or watch the shows on the weekend! Some of the
touring anglers can sometimes become aloof when dealing
with the public. Their success is usually short lived and
they pay the price for forgetting their beginnings. When
dealing with the press, they can be your best friend, or
your worst enemy. Personally, I prefer the first of the
two choices. Always make time for them, tell them what they
need to know and make sure you use the name of your sponsors
in your conversations with them.
Well if that has not scared you away from the tournament
trail, then feel free to contact me for further information
and hints on getting started.
Charles - Contact me with your questions or comments at