Jump to content

This Bass Scene Seems... Toxic?


It'sJason

Recommended Posts

Hey all, I've really had a great time reading through this subforum.

I guess I might be a bit different, as I am a fairly well established (guide, prostaff, etc) fly fisherman (for trout) that has recently started to branch out towards conventional gear bass fishing.

I am lucky enough to work with a couple companies that supports both, and they have been GREAT to me. But I've recently been approached by a few different companies on the bass side, and this combined with my previous experience and reading through this subforum, has shown the two worlds are light years apart.

In my experience, with fly fishing, there are usually distinct, seperate levels with companies. Promotional staff (at the bottom), field staff (somewhere in the middle) and pro staff (at the top). In this industry, pro staff certainly means PROFESSIONAL, not promotional.

As "prostaff" I was always responsible for MUCH more than simply posting tagged pictures on Instagram. R&D/design, reviews, writing articles for websites, how to videos, shaking hands at trade shows, forum sponsorship and activity management, etc. Honestly, I'd say at least 85% of the work done never appeared on ANY of my personal social media outlets. In exchange, Ive been equipped for free. No minimum purchase agreement, no starter packages, not even shipping. And I've always been happy with those arrangements.

It seems, and has been said here, "pro" staff on this side of things means, and is, entirely different, with the "pro" meaning promotional (which in general would mean bottom rung in my world).

Being approached by companies on the internet stating they would like me on their prostaff, I get excited, cite my work and what I can bring to their company. They'll say that's great, we'd love you to do all this. But it ALWAYS inevitably ends in "great, just purchase our prostaff starter kit for $99, and then..."  Hold up.

You see things like NPS, and the offers some of these companies have, and I cant help but think there must be a lot of anglers in this scene desperate to simply put a title on their social media accounts. It seems EVERYTHING is highly driven by social media, much more so than Im used to. And it also seems there is a plethora of companies ready to, dare I say, take advantage of young anglers trying to somehow get established in the industry.

Is it typical to be offered meager discounts (Ive been offered as low as 10%) in exchange for a willingness and ability to do much more than simply tagging pictures? Granted, every company that has come to me so far has been relatively small, but I'd genuinely love to help a small company grow.

I mean no disrespect to anyone that has these sorts of sponsorships, but it seems like pouring hundreds of hours a year into a company would be worth more than seventy three cents off a pack of plastic worms.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forum... that's a heck of a post.  

 

As for your argument, I think that cultural differences between your average guy with a spinning rod and trout fly fisherman aside, I think both have really moved toward social media marketing.  Between youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, there are tons of pages with guys showing crap content with lots of energy offering give aways, etc.  That's not unlike a lot of other businesses.  Social media is super cheap and reaches everyone.  

 

As for the way things work for sponsored guys in competition, that's a whole other conversation.  

Also, lots of us on here also like chasing bass with a fly rod, and there are usually at least a few fly fishing threads rolling in the smallmouth forum. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didnt mean the post as an argument at all, and I'm sorry if it came across that way. I just simply felt like reflecting on some of the differences there seems to be in the little I have been involved in. I cant speak to anything concerning competitions, I have zero experience with any sort of bass tournaments, and the fly fishing tournaments out here are such small time things results arent even posted online, so they mean absolutely nothing in this context.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super User

Being on the Bass side and a guide myself, you are getting too deep in the weeds as far as terminology goes.  "Pro" can mean any number of things and as far as your agreements with companies, that is an individual thing usually based on what you bring to the table.  Just like in any job there are levels of sponsorship (no matter what the terminology is) based on your experience and what you can do for the sponsor.  I handle the Pro Staff for a couple of my sponsors and the details of those agreements are not public information.  As a matter of fact, disclosing contract deals can be grounds for losing the sponsorship.  There's also a marked difference between a sponsorship that is bound by a formal contract and those that are more of a handshake deal (or loose written agreement) where you get a bait discount.  Discounted bait sponsorships are usually the entry level of deals and are done for a number of reasons.  First to find out if the relationship works out and in some cases a cheap way for companies to get "word of mouth" activity without investing in you.  In the bass world, some sponsorships involve paying of tournament entry fees if the angler is a competitive fisherman.  What so many fail to realize is that sponsors are only interested in one thing.....moving product.  That can be accomplished many ways and normally cashing a check in your local club isn't one of them.  Competitive fishing is only one way and normally not a real good one.  As you demonstrate you can move product, usually the deals get better.  You admit you are just entering the bass fishing world and you are right, the difference between that and fly fishing are dramatic (I do both), as well as gear and techniques.  You cant expect a premium deal right out of the gate with no way to show how you have, or how you propose, to move the sponsors product.   Some sponsorships require things like added insurance.  I have to carry a 1 million rider policy with one sponsor as the loss payee so that I can do seminars in their brick and mortar stores.  I have a sponsorship with a Rep Group that requires me to travel all over the country and be knowledgeable in a multitude of products.  My point being, no 2 are the same.  Sponsorships are a negotiation and the pressure is on you to convince any company that you are worth what they are going to invest.  The more skill base you have in areas like Speaking/Demonstrations/Photography/Writing, etc., all works in your favor.  

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been tournament fishing for about 10 years now and have just recently gotten my feet wet into the whole Pro-staff game.  Full disclosure, I'm on NPS and have "applied" to three companies for "sponsorship."  I've also had one other company contact me directly which was nice (super awesome group of folks).  To be honest though, I'm on the fence with the whole process.  I think it's fantastic for companies.  Thousands of anglers, at all skill levels, buy product from them and provide, basically, free advertising.  Definitely a win win for the companies.  I'm not so sure it's a great thing for anglers, on the whole though.  I think it kinda saturates the market with anglers who, basically, work for free.  I feel like it's already happening; but I foresee this making it much more difficult for really talented anglers, looking to make a career for themselves, to get the sponsorships necessary to help make it happen.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Super User

Any sponsorships that I have had, I was approached by either the company leaders themselves, or a regional pro staff manager.  I generally stuck to top tier, and second tier sponsorships.  Not a discount coupon.  I could care less for that, and generally avoid companies' products that use this technique.  I am not currently sponsored by anyone, though I do a lot for our forum sponsors.

 

Like any business transaction, have a signed contract that clearly defines your responsibility and compensation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was on the pro staff for Callaway Golf for about 10 years, free clubs, bags, shoes, balls etc.  Had a contract every year. Was guaranteed XXXX$ every Tournament I won , I never cashed a check from them, but did have the best equipment that money can buy.

 I did have to wear their apparel and I did too ;)

 I am sure some got more and some less 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

The real issue here, is that being sponsored is seen as just as much as a status symbol as anything. Therefore, guys are willing to give themselves away for nothing, just to be able to have that "badge of honor" if you will of being able to say that they are "good enough" to be a sponsored fisherman.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • BassResource.com Administrator

A true sponsorship is when a company pays you cash to sell their products.  It likely includes enough free products for your personal use, but that's tertiary. The meat of the contract outlines what you'll do to promote and sell their products in exchange for X dollars. And like others have stated, there is indeed a written, signed contract involved.

 

As the OP stated and others have clarified, there are also various levels of "Pro staff", that often involve free product and/or other perks. The more each side will do for each other, the higher the likelyhood a contract is involved.

 

However, programs that merely offer discounted products for a fee are nothing more than that, a discount program similar to Costco.  That's great for somebody who really likes their products and uses enough of them to offset the fee.  But it's not a 'sponsorship'.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Unfortunately, your content contains terms that we do not allow. Please edit your content to remove the highlighted words below.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.



  • Outboard Engine

    fishing forum


    Outboard Engine

    Outboard Engine

    fishing tackle

    fishing

    fishing

    fishing

    fishing

    bass fish

    fish for bass



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.