So You Want to Turn Pro?
by Charles Stuart
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
Stuart is a pro angler, journalist and NY State Guide who fishes
the B.A.S.S., RED MAN, FOXWOODS and the ABC Tours in the
Northeast. Born and educated in England, Charles fished
professionally in England when he lived there. Charles has now
lived on Long Island, NY for over 15 years. He's fished most
lakes, rivers, streams and ponds on the island. He has fished
from the Canadian border to Florida in search of largemouth and
One of Charle's
objectives is to use the knowledge he has gained to teach young
fishermen and women the joy of the sport and the art of
"catching". Charles feels that, unlike other sports,
all members of the family can enjoy fishing together. To Charles,
fishing is a sport that does not place pressure on a child to
succeed, thereby building the child's confidence and self-esteem.
Charles is sponsored by
Bullet Weights, G.Loomis, Budz Fishin Wayz, Gamakatsu, Lake Hawk,
Chevy Trucks, Hawg-ly Lures, Power Resources cranking &
trolling motor batteries, Uncle Josh, Ike-Con Fishing Tackle,
Snap-Set Spinnerbaits, Map-Trap, and Stamina Components.
You can email Charles