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The Fishin' Professor's Answer:

Thank you for your inquiry! Twenty years ago, I could still give you an easy answer to your question. Today, it's a whole new ball game. So, let's see if I can help you a little bit, and get you started on that road to turning Pro!

A major word of advice to start off with! If you want to turn Pro, and fish "full-time" as you put it: turning PRO is not only a full time job; with absolutely NO promises of fame & fortune; it can be an awfully expensive way to try to earn a living, if you don't succeed immediately! SO;

If you're single; make sure that you have enough of your own money, already in the bank, to support yourself (That includes: food, lodging, clothing, vehicle, boat maintenance & gas, and don't forget about tournament entry fees!); without any outside help; for a period of at least 18 months; AND, a job waiting off season, IF you need it.

If you're married; make sure that your wife/children are willing to do without the niceties that you've become accustomed to living with; for at least 12 months. AND that you have enough money in the bank to cover not only your own living expenses, but, hers/theirs as well, for at least a year. Or, that your spouse is willing to work to support the entire expenses of the household, while you're on the road. Again, don't burn your job bridges, when you make the transition!

Become an active member of the Professional Fishing Community, by joining the related Professional Anglers' Association; PBAA, PWAA, PCAA, or PSSA. Become a licensed guide, or charter captain. Join a Professional or National Tournament Circuit, and, its' related association. This alone will cost you $250 to $2,000 your first year out!

Picking sponsors is the easy part. But, before you consider asking XYZ Tackle Company, in Roanoke Maine, to spend their company's time and money on advancing your dream ~ make sure that ~ first, you are currently a user of their product; and second, are thoroughly familiar with the other products or services that they offer.
THEN ~ you can personally contact the advertising or PR departments of: lure manufacturers, hook manufacturers, rod makers, line manufacturers, reel manufacturers, boat manufacturers, clothing manufacturers, and, especially when you're starting out ~ consider your local businesses (car dealerships, boat dealerships, etc.); businesses that you are familiar with, and might be or are, very familiar with you, and your tournament fishing record. ASK them exactly what their company requirements are, for sponsorship at your level of tournament involvement. The easiest way in the world to get "blackballed" by the entire community of major fishing related manufacturers; is TO LIE TO ANY ONE OF THEM about anything at all during your initial inquiry, or on their application form. Most manufacturers in the fishing community advise other participating members, of both, accepted, AND rejected sponsorships, each month through AFTMA . So, make very sure that everything you tell them, is totally verifiable by a third party, not related to you. Make sure you also keep a list of tournament directors, and former sponsors, that you can use as references on your application. (names, addresses, phone/fax numbers) Remember too, incomplete sponsorship applications, usually, never go any further than the closest circular file.

The rest of the daily routine is totally up to you! Researching the tournament site waters, pre-fishing, and traveling; they all take their toll not only on your body, but on your mind as well! So remember to eat well, keep in shape, and enjoy taking that next step up the ladder!

Good luck! & Good Fishin'!

Dennis Bryant
the Fishin' Professor!

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