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Read This Blog, Get Paid To Fish?
Janet Parker, NAFC Pro Staff Blogger
NAFC Club Blog
How do I get someone to pay me to fish?
That, I suspect, is what anglers are really asking when they ask me "How do I get a sponsor?"
I'll address those questions
and many more
in this blog in the weeks to come.
When I was initially approached to write this blog, my immediate response was “Yes! I would love to!” But upon sitting down to write my first post, I felt like Carrie Bradshaw in "Sex in the City," brain-storming column topics.
Some bloggers must have readers that enjoy a play-by-play, hour-by-hour documentation of their day, with only restroom breaks omitted! This blog won't be one of those.
And some blogs read like infomercials, promoting a product or service, but not explaining why their authors like Brand X over Brand Y. I won't be writing that type of blog either.
When someone says “you have to buy this, it's the only thing that will work, blah, blah, blah,” I am totally turned off. Tell me what makes the product you are promoting better than competing products. Tell me how you use it and why you it works for you.
I'm a big girl. I can decide if something will work for me or not. We've all dealt with a “know-it-all”
the person at work or in your local fishing club that has the “you have to do it this way only” attitude. I'm not that kind of person and won't be that kind of blogger.
I've found that the best teachers are often the people who are always learning, trying new things, open to new ideas. They say, “this is what works for me," or "this is how I like to do it,” and explain why. Not everything works for every person. To advance to a higher level
both as anglers and human beings
we must be able to process new information, digest it, individualize and tweak it, then apply it in a way that works for us.
So my blogging oath to you is this
I will always offer information I have gained through personal experience or from industry experts, with the goal of growing the sport of professional and recreational angling.
Sponsorships: Getting paid to fish?
As I travel the country, competing in bass tournaments and making promotional appearances in my logo-emblazoned jersey and towing my sponsor-wrapped Ranger boat, I'm often asked “What makes a good pro-staff angler?" and "How do you get sponsors?”
Since most deadlines have passed to get on any company’s 2012 pro staff, I'll focus today on the first question, “What makes a good pro-staff angler?"
There's much anglers can do to strengthen their existing relationships with their sponsors. And with the boat-show season quickly approaching, the time to act is now. One of the most insightful pieces of information I was given by a sponsor is “catch enough fish to keep yourself credible, but we need people to move product.”
It’s great to catch a huge sack in every tournament. But what will move the needle more on the pro staff “value-meter” is ink and airtime. Ask yourself “What do I do, or can I do, to generate newspaper, magazine or radio interviews?” If you can consistently generate ink and airtime, you become an asset to your sponsor, providing them a good return on their investment in you. And don’t forget about social media like Facebook, fishing forums, etc.
Do you want entry-level or top-level sponsorships?
Also important to sponsors is visibility. Contact your sponsors and ask for their boat-show schedules, open houses and other promotional dates on their books. I understand that family time is precious and in short supply. But you have to decide, do you want the entry-level discounts that almost any club tournament angler can get, or do you want to move up to the next level? When your lower unit goes out the day before your big tournament, do you want the mechanic to stay late and get it running?
If so, you need to show your appreciation for your boat dealer. As an expert that relies on your boat, electronics and other equipment for your livelihood
and not someone just trying to make a commission from a sale
you are a very influential resource for dealers to make available to potential customers. Your soft sell can be very powerful. It will show loyalty to your sponsors, willingness to be a team player and your commitment to building your fishing and marketing resume. So ask your sponsors “when," not "if," they would like your help.
Show and Tell
I saved the best for last. To sky-rocket your pro staff position and make yourself priceless to sponsors, get them leads!
If you're at a gas station and someone asks “what is that thing?” Explain to them that the Talon is a shallow-water anchor. Use your remote control to demonstrate how it works. Don't be in a hurry to leave. Answer all their questions. Ask them questions. Do they fish? Own a boat? In the market for a new one?
If your new friend is a boat owner, request their contact information and ask if it would be OK to have someone contact them with more information. Then pass that information to your sponsor to pass along to a dealer or sales person in the potential customer’s territory.
This will let your sponsors know you are doing your job, which is to promote their product.
What about the fishing? Don't you get paid to fish?
That's just a perk to being on a fishing pro staff.
Fishing the Bassmaster Open tournament circuit, Janet Parker is the first woman in history to earn two consecutive top-10 finishes, make three consecutive third-day cuts and to finish in the Top 20 in Angler of the Year points in a co-ed tournament series. She has earned five top-ten finishes in Bassmaster Opens. When not on the water, Janet works as Vice President at Liddle Marketing Company in Victoria, MN. For more information on Janet or Liddle Marketing Company visit
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Thursday, January 12, 2012 8:53 PM
I think more readers are interested in showing their cards, when it comes to getting the edge on what works rather than the old " Because I Said So"! attitude. I look forward to your next article. Thanks.. Sandune
Friday, January 13, 2012 5:07 PM
Ms.Parker,my name is Ron.Nice Smallie you got there if you know a lake with a nice clean rocky bottom! Lets try Carolina rigging soft plastics!!?or anthing else you wanted to do!! May I go fishing wit ya??
Friday, January 13, 2012 8:33 PM
Thanks for the Post. It was a great article, for me atleast. I have hopes of getting into tournament fishing once my term in the army is complete, and finding every bit of information helps me out to do my research and gather information on the more Do's then the donts. Thanks Alot.
Saturday, January 14, 2012 10:29 PM
do sponsers furnish the boat or do i have to provide the bass tracker?
Saturday, January 14, 2012 10:31 PM
What does sponsers provide and what do i provide?
Sunday, January 15, 2012 11:56 AM
well janet keep up the good work &good luck in the future
Monday, January 16, 2012 9:43 PM
This will be a good series for those looking at getting into tournament fishing. I just hope that everybody keeps up with the Blog cause as I'm sure you'll bring out, sponsorship/ Pro staff isn't as easy as asking to represent the Company.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012 5:43 AM
yea im really looking forward to her next post the more info i can get the better off ill be at taking the right step towards that goal of mine.
Thursday, February 16, 2012 11:30 AM
I have my own new 2008 Nitro with 250 Optimax Pro XS and fish in So California waters.any news about sponsors for entry level tournaments is appreciated,,tow it with a GMC pick-up. Have my own gear but always looking for trying new or established equipment. Retired and fish every chance I can. Would enjoy many entries for local or distant tournaments, lakes, etc.
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