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Tips From a (semi) Successful Highschool angler


benburkefishing

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I'm not one to toot my own horn let that be said right off the bat. I felt the need to start this thread because about three years ago when I first found this site I was looking for what I'm about to say. So I consider myself a semi successful competitive high school angler, I have qualified for BASS Highschool Nationals once (last year, freshman year) I have qualified for THSBA (a Texas high school and junior high league large in Texas) state for all 4 years I've fished competitively. I've fished 2 high school leagues with a payout nearly ever tournament. I also fish countless working man's or weekly tournaments with success there as well. I have joined a few companies and I don't know if the rules say that I can't list them so I won't. These are companies that are pretty large in the fishing industry but not huge. The key that I've found out with getting these deals is too promote yourself. I mean dong this through social media, in person relations, and on stage. Once you have built up your own reputation, you can approach companies. BE POLITE, RESPECTFUL, AND CONFIDENT! Companies may not get back to you, that's fine they've probably got better investments. Some companies just might not offer a pro staff opportunity to young anglers that's fine as well. If a company excepts you, go above and beyond in promoting that company. Show them that they did not make the wrong decision in choosing you to represent their brand. Most importantly, remember that you are not only trying to expose a brand that supports you, you are also tying to bring yourself exposure. This will create more opportunities to better you as an angler, representative for a company, and will teach you people skills. As I said at the beginning, I'm not trying to act like I am the best, because I am not. The only reason I listed my accomplishments is to establish my credibility so you don't get useless advice. I hope this advice helped you.

Good luck guys!

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  • Super User

I don’t want to seem like a naysayer but coming from someone who has managed the prostaff and reviewed applications to join prostaff, here are a few tips I think you need to consider.  
 

It’s not about you.  It’s about the product.  If you can’t show me how you are going to increase the sales or revenue on my product, I don’t care if you’re on the stage every tournament collecting a check, you’re not going to get my sponsorship.  If you can move my product, I don’t care if you never cash a check.  It’s up to you to show me how you will do it and believe me there are a lot of ways. Sponsorship isn’t about fishing, it’s about marketing.  You better also know and use my product or product line and be able to prove it.  Lastly you better know what kind of sponsorship you are wanting because the difference between giving you a discounted purchase plan and paying for your entry fees are 2 different animals.  Sounds to me like you have had some good success on the water so you can more than likely”talk the talk” on the fishing side of the sport.  There are a lot of things that change on the business side.  Good luck in your continued success! 

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2 hours ago, TOXIC said:

I don’t want to seem like a naysayer but coming from someone who has managed the prostaff and reviewed applications to join prostaff, here are a few tips I think you need to consider.  
 

It’s not about you.  It’s about the product.  If you can’t show me how you are going to increase the sales or revenue on my product, I don’t care if you’re on the stage every tournament collecting a check, you’re not going to get my sponsorship.  If you can move my product, I don’t care if you never cash a check. 

Yessir, I completely agree with this. That is what I meant without going into depth by saying "promoting yourself". 

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One thing I forgot to mention is Social Media.  I wrote an article for Yamamoto’s Inside Line highlighting the importance of it.  Hopefully you will continue on to college and continue your fishing.  I would suggest a couple f classes in public speaking and marketing. 😉

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14 hours ago, TOXIC said:

One thing I forgot to mention is Social Media.  I wrote an article for Yamamoto’s Inside Line highlighting the importance of it.  Hopefully you will continue on to college and continue your fishing.  I would suggest a couple of classes in public speaking and marketing. 😉

Having done some marketing work in a previous career, I will also add that a writing class or technical writing class would also be very beneficial as you look to increase marketing effectiveness.  Graphic design/video editing would also be helpful given the social media age we live in.

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  • 1 month later...
  • Super User
On 10/25/2023 at 11:08 AM, benburkefishing said:

I'm not one to toot my own horn let that be said right off the bat.

 

To move product, don't you have to toot your horn? Don't you have to say, look at what I catch using this product? Aren't my fish big? Don't you want to catch fish like me?

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Sponsorship, and I'm not talking the coupon code pro deal anyone can get, is a huge burden that has to be respected. I dropped out of a fairly prestigious pro staff position because the commitments were too much for a recreational angler with a family. The perks and pay were decent for what I was encouraged to do, which overall wasn't to simply promote the brand but raise awareness in the segment the company occupied, which was experiencing a great deal of growth in the industry. We were encouraged to use and be familiar with competitor's products so that we can know why our products would be a good fit for potential customers. It was a cool deal, but ate up a ton of time on the weekends. 
 

Last bit, I'll add some accounting classes to list of courses to enroll in to help your career. 

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24 minutes ago, J Francho said:

Sponsorship, and I'm not talking the coupon code pro deal anyone can get, is a huge burden that has to be respected.

 

Heck, yeah, it is! YouTube videos aren't sponsorships, but they are moneymakers for some and when I watch the YouTubers who have hundreds of thousands of subscribers, I don't envy them. I pity them. I see their drone shots and their shots taken from tripods on the shoreline as they pull away, which they must then retrieve, and I think, "Thank goodness that's not me," because each of those shots yank them from actual fishing and being 67 years old, I only have a few years of fishing remaining and I don't want anyone or anything to pull me away. 

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  • BassResource.com Administrator

Here's a library of articles that every aspiring pro should commit to memory:

 

https://www.bassresource.com/fishing-tournament-tips/bass-pro

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The YouTube pros are just another segment of the social media component I referred to.  If you look closely it’s very few that are focused on product and many more who are focused on themselves and the entertainment value.  I’m not talking about the upper level pros here, they all are “required” to be on social media and have already established themselves.  Someone like me who was not into the tournament scene but was a guide are what the industry calls “organic”.  I’m the guy who is at your local Bass Pro or Cabela’s doing seminars and tank demonstrations and is available to be able to spend time and show you how to rig and fish multiple techniques.  I also work for a rep group who flew me all over the country for the grand openings of multiple retail stores and as a result they have product lines a mile long including hunting and I had to know about every single product.  Take for example Quantum/Zebco.  Do you realize how many products that manufacturer produces?  Everything from snoopy rods to deep sea gear.  All the actions, gear ratios and history of past models.  Look at a Quantum catalog and try to be somewhat knowledgeable in most all of the lines is a big ask.  I have backed off to much less due to my desire to fish more and travel less but I have kept a few sponsorships because I can focus in on the products I really enjoy. Even at that just look at the lineup that the new owner of Yamamoto has.  I feel obligated to know their product lines and in fishing alone they have Yamamoto, SteelShad, Bill Lewis, Big Bite, Buckeye Lures, and Cuda and that’s just the fishing side.  I have a lot of work to do to get familiar, use and report on how these products all work.  I’m sure Glenn’s articles cover it in more detail but from a personal perspective, there’s a lot more than meets the eye in “sponsorship”. 

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I struggled to find that word "organic" when I posted my response. I fell into that category as well. I would only echo what you added, and empathize with the feeling of wanting to fish more. Ironic how you get less time to fish when simply doing that is what makes you more relevant to the average angler. 

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Exactly.  Before he retired, my Brother In Law was a senior executive with Jack Links.  He is a marketing genius.  He used to send me cases upon cases of product to hand out at tournaments and other events.  He enlisted me to get honest feedback from what he called the “hooks and bullets” consumer.  I looked at product placement when I was working shows in different venues.  He coined the organic phrase and how important it is to any brand.  

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