In this article, I hope to shed some light on the beginning of the bass tournament sponsor journey. To start I will give a little background on myself. I am lucky enough to be married to an outstanding wife who is supportive of my goals. Also, I am blessed with a six-year-old son who loves the outdoors as much as I do. For the past ten years, I have been a carpenter for an interior contractor in Cincinnati Ohio. I did do some college right out of high school, but I felt like having a trade would benefit me better. In 1999, the tournament bug bit me, and since then I have been fishing competitively.
About eighteen months ago I began to research the marketing side of the fishing industry. In August of 2004, I stumbled across a booklet on eBay called How To Get Sponsored For Tournaments written by Scott Rauber, founder of Fishforfree.com. His book helped me acquire some local cash paying sponsors, which help take the penny pinch stress out of fishing tournaments. Next, I felt in order to grow in the business of fishing I should work with a few tackle companies. At this point, I felt that I should be 100% committed to making it work. Yes, sponsors are very helpful, but it is a two way street. There are no freebies. Sponsors expect results or at the very least hard work. If I could not prove that I was interested in promoting his or her company, why keep me on staff, there is always someone out there who is.
My duties vary, depending on what kind of promoting the companies expect. Some skills that benefit me are good grammar skills, writing skill, ability to speak in public, positive attitude and a good work ethic. Before I applied, I made sure to know the company history and services they offer. Honesty is prudent; I either believe in or have used the sponsor’s product or services. Any consumer will see right through it if you are being dishonest. When out in the public, I always keep in mind that my actions represent my personal sponsors. I try never to disgrace them by acting a fool.
The management of my time is probably the toughest part. I try to give at least one hour a day doing something for my sponsor. This could be stopping in a tackle shop, posting in a forum, out talking to anglers or writing an article. Having six sponsors it can get a little busy. Having a good filing system is very helpful. Keeping track of communications, notes, product list and offered services can make time more manageable. Being organized looks positive in my efforts to promote the sponsors. I at least spend some time each day finding a creative way to represent my sponsors. While out fishing, I never miss an opportunity to show off the products of my sponsors. Also during tournaments, the prelaunch dock talk and at the weigh in are good times when I get in and chat. I will give an example. I heard someone mention they didn’t have a big enough garage, this was a perfect time for me to mention Wright-Patt Gem City Realty who is one of my local sponsors. A lot of times these opportunities will present themselves, all I have to do is listen.
Will I ever be a professional fisherman? I don’t know! I would hate to say that I never tried at it. Over the next several years, I plan to build up my skills in both fishing and marketing. I plan to work my way up, not to rush in above my head. It has already been very rewarding. I have meet people from all over the country and made some great friends.
I am sure many have tried, and some have not succeeded. But, if one has the determination and drive, then you have a greater chance to persevere. There are many companies who will put out sponsorships. You just need to make sure; they know how they will benefit from sponsoring you. Remember never to promise more than you can do.
Sponsored by Sqworm Tackle, Persuader Lures, Fish for Free.com, Wright-Patt Gem City Realty, Ambush Lures, and Feather Ridge Turkey Calls
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