I recently spent some time bass fishing with one of the elite guys practicing for the classic. During this time I learned more about the business of fishing at the top level than about fishing in general, a matter of fact…
I recently spent some time bass fishing with one of the elite guys practicing for the classic. During this time I learned more about the business of fishing at the top level than about fishing in general, a matter of fact I didn’t learn much of anything with the elite pro beside a couple of small bait rigging tips, some mental strategies and the fact that I need a 1197 SI Graph.
Before spending time with this guy I wanted to take my fishing to the next level by fishing some bass opens, or some Strens. After experiencing the financial struggles that these guys face and the strategies that go into running a successful business of fishing, I realized that the sacrifice for me is far greater than just chasing a dream. You not only put your family’s financial security on the line but your relationship with them as well. These guys travel 250 days a year and believe me it’s not a 250 day vacation it’s a grind far greater than most of us at our 8-5 jobs. Only a small % of the pros have the money to bring their family on the road with them and make a decent living like many of us do.
Next is the business side of the elites. Like any other successful business it’s all about sacrifices and investments. Some of these pros have more financial resources than others and believe me, they use them to there full abilities inside of the rules of the game. I have learned that a couple of the pros have people that they employee to, promote them, manage their sponsors and go as far as hauling their rigs to tournaments and finding fish and Contact for them.
Pros and how they network Information is amazing. This may be the most impressive side of the business. These guys are unbelievable when it comes to selling their selves for local information. They use their sponsor existing network of people, star image and own personal money to get the information they need to do the job and make their business a success. Many of them will go to extreme levels inside the rules to get this information from locals and use it in their arsenal on tournament day. Its just like in any other business, the less money you have, the less resources you have the harder you are going to have to work to compete against the big guys of your business.
Fishing ability and the knowledge of water in general. This is also what separates the best of the best. Not only do these guys get the best information about specific waters but they can process this information far quicker than most. They understand fish in general, how they migrate, react to certain weather changes and the way they use different structures and cover depending on the time of the year and the current weather conditions. These guys can adapt to a condition change in a mater of seconds when it takes your normal angler hours and that’s if they ever do. Most of these guys have one particular strength in their game rather it be flipping, rigging, finesse, deep, etc. and they predominantly stick to that strength and use it in different ways. Among your top guys their electronics are also their life line, they help them see through the eyes of the fish, these guys can do amazing things with their electronics and that also helps them to do their job more efficient.
If I tell you guys anything about these pros its one thing, respect them and what they are doing because they may seem to be over confident or somewhat cocky, they may try to use you for your knowledge but you have to remember they are doing their job. This doesn’t mean just give them what they want it means handle them as if you would handle any other business at work because that is their business. Most are not doing what they do to make friends or to be some star they are doing it because they love fishing and they are trying to feed their families at the same time and everyone of them have different ways of running their business. Some get help, some don’t, some pay guides some don’t, some are cocky, some aren’t, some can find fish, some cant, some catch better than other some just rely on there networking ability and ability to find fish, and some have the whole package which brings me to my final point.
With the current economy and the cost of living I think you need to ask yourself these questions if you want to go to the next level and when I say next level I am talking about big opens and top tour levels.
1) Do you have the financial stability? Because if you don’t, the added stress of making money to feed your family will overwhelm you and take away with the sheer concentration and mental preparedness that you need to compete at that level.
2) Do you have the mental Game? Can you dominate at the local level (every tournament in the top 10) Can you have Clunn on your left and KVD on your right and know that if you don’t cash a check in this tournament than your family will run the risk of loosing their home are missing a meal. Fishing at this level is mental, everyone can catch fish it’s the decisions you make and the way you manage your practice tournament day and emotions is what puts you on top.
3) Are you a natural? Most of this is natural talent at this level, some have it and some don’t, its unexplainable, its like you are part fish, you think like one I guess. The old timers called it (Holding your mouth rite and the best do it all of the time)
4) Do you have the social ability? Can you network sponsors, and build a report with other tournament anglers to strengthen your knowledge of both waters and techniques? Sell your self, its everything at this level.
5) Do you have the look? Sad enough that in today’s society people are judged on their appearance more than their ability. Looks are a big part of this game.
6) Finally do you have the drive? Do you have it physically and mentally to compete, and work harder than the next guy. Do you have the ability to make those sacrifices of financial, family and friends? Will you get up and go to work at daylight and grind to dark 7 Days a week and 4 hrs after preparing your metal game and strategies?
In conclusion I have the upmost respect for these guys, they are hammers, they work hard, they have what it takes to be a pro. Do I? I may have a couple of factors under me now but by no means do I have it all. Do I want to become pro? Maybe one day but as of now I am fine on the river grinding it out on the local level. I enjoyed my encounter with the guy I helped, he didn’t know he was teaching me everything in the above, he was just trying to gain the tools for his business just as I was doing for the future of my mine. All in all it was a great experience with hopefully some great rewards come February the 22nd when the guy I helped is holding that trophy over his head. It’s definitely been one of the greatest tools yet that I have put into my pocket and I hope others will learn from what I have shared.
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