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Marketing yourself the intelligent way part 1


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After reading some of the latest posts about people wanting to get sponsored, and after trying to prevent my head from exploding due to them, I figured we should maybe once again touch on the important things people should consider when thinking about pursuing sponsors.

My first bit of advice is to actually do it the old fashioned way, fish hard and build up a reputation. Join a club. For lack of any other statement and the fact I was a cop in the ghetto, build some street cred. Once you are confident that you actually have something to offer, go into town and try to get a local business to back you. You can even cheat, maybe it will be your Mom's boss or a family friend.....perfect. It doesn't have to be fishing related. It could be a car wash or a butcher shop etc. That is the guy who may accept the...."I'll wear your logo" for local advertisement purposes. I'm not sure what they can give you in return, maybe a little cash, some pork chops but most importantly, you will get your feet wet and know how to deal with the responsibility of representing a local business. Now, realize that this isn't Shimano or Zoom. They may actually be watching how you conduct yourself. So don't go drinking with your buddies and steal the local ccigar store Indian that happens to be a county landmark, (only about 35 of them left in the country) ;) Anyway, I digress.

marketing tip-Check out Fish For Free 1 and 2 by Scott Rauber. These are books written all about how to attract sponsors and not necessarily fishing related ones. Two great reads. If you are serious, they will absolutely help you. I read both of them after I was already sponsored by several companies. As an experiment, I took a little about what I learned in those books and sent out a couple of resumes and was picked up by each company....perfect track record following that advice.

I can't help but stress that age is important. Yes, you may think at the ripe age of 12 or even 16 that you have experience but you don't. If you put on your resume that you have been fishing since you were two, I delete it right there. Be serious, How much serious fishing time can you do without having your own tow vehicle to pull your own boat....not going with Daddy who operates and dictates what you will be doing?

OK, lets talk resume and website. Both are good to have but...the first thing I look for as I review either is spelling and grammar. Not because I'm a stickler for either but because I figure that if you do not care enough about providing me with a flawless representation of yourself, a spotless resume or a well done website that is supposed to convey to me that you are of impeccable character and you are serious and the best man for the position, along with showing me how your represent yourself, then you can't possibly care about my company or represent it in the way I expect you to. READ THAT AGAIN

This is a common reason that I hit the delete key without even finishing the read. It is so easy to do right but so many people fail right here. Your not even in the door and you are already out.

Here's my 1st tip of the day. Proof read, spell check and for heaven's sake, know how to spell sponsor.

Next, about the content of the resume, I think the first and most important thing about someone who is applying for a position is that you really should know about the product. You should use it regularly. it makes sense.

When I was 18, I was banging up the local circuits and got featured in the newspapers, local fishing publications and even wrote a little on my own for a magazine. This is good street cred. When I decided I may want to go at way, into the semi-pro angler field, I immediately took stock in what I used every day. At the time I was using BPS rods, no chance for a sponsorship there, Owner Hooks.....HMMMMM, Sea King Line...HMMMMM, all kinds of plastics, maybe a hand pour company would be interested in me. Forget Strike King, Zoom, Mann's and all of the big names. They fork out the money to the real Pro's and know you can't offer them anything they already get from a big name.

Tip of the day#2- Do not set your sights too high. If you expect to land Daiwa...when they don't answer your inquiry or turn you down, you will get upset and lose motivation. Solicit manufacturer's whose products you actually use.

Wearing a patch is not a badge of courage. It is not a status display. You should be doing it for the right reasons and if you are serious, you will be. You are a representative of that patch. you should know about the products and act in a proper manner.

Plan out your resume. Explain how you intend to help promote my company. How can you get media time or spread the word? DO NOT SAY you will wear my patch, logo, boat wrap, whatever....etc. That is something I will dictate if I choose to. Can you get TV time? Radio time? do you write for a newspaper or magazine? Know someone who can do any of this for you? That is what is important. How can you influence sales or marketability of my products? Saying you can wear a patch is so generic and low tech, it doesn't interest me. That is really putting in little effort. I have people who buy my logo merchandise and wear it...for me at no cost to me. If this is the best you can offer and the backbone of your resume.....go back to the drawing board because it will not cut it.

Tip of the day #3- If you are 12 to 16 years old and this is all you can offer, maybe you shouldn't jump into this until you can seriously offer something more to expose your targets better.

Last resume tip- Never demand or ask for anything until they ask you what you are looking for. Asking for cash is absolutely out at the bottom rung of the ladder. Asking for a few bags of baits in the resume cheapens the resume and makes it seem like you are looking for a handout.

It's great to say you love the products, you use them all the time and even...I have a few ideas about how to improve them, I modify them certain ways to make them more effective etc.....um, make sure you really do because you might get called on it. Any small time bait jockey will be flattered and may make it a priority to follow up to chat with you. This is what you are hoping for....impress!

The resume is just a tool to perk their interest in you. The follow up is how you close the deal. No manufacturer will hold on to a resume. If he doesn't follow up on it, your in cyberspace. Never say, this is my second request or second time sending this to you, I haven't heard back.....don't be a thorn in someones side, they are not going to give you a shot if you are.

This is the resume I sent out several years ago. I haven't updated it, there are some pictures on it that may not load on to here but take a look at it, it describes me, it doesn't ask for anything, it doesn't say I'll do anything. I leave that for later. It is more a press release than a resume but it has worked for me because it is different. Check it-

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Craig De Fronzo grew up in Hauppauge NY on Long Island. Very early on he became interested in bass fishing as he lived in the middle of what he terms the Western Suffolk Big Bass Belt. This was a series of lakes that were all located in close proximity to each other. Fishing on Blydenburg, Millers Pond and Lake Ronkonkoma, Craig became a power fisherman and took what he learned on these lakes to Florida every Spring during his youth. Craig cut his teeth fishing Floridas famed big bass waters such as West Toho, Lake George, St. Johns River, Suwanee River , Lake Osbourne, the Everglades, The Big O, Kissimmee and others. In the early nineties Craig took a trip to the Ocala National forest and caught a 13.9lb bass on 6lb test. This was the turning point in his young angling career as he switched over to the realm of finesse fishing.

Craig began to adopt all of the "New" West Coast methods and re applied them to his fishing here in NY. Not only did he discover he could get more bites when scaling down his tackle, he saw that he was catching far more large fish as well. He has documented through the NYDEC Diary program an outlandish number of bass over 5lbs all on light tackle. To date he has landed 21 bass over 7lbs on LI including 3 bonafide nine pounders. When he is not chasing largemouth bass, he can be found out in Montauk looking for big stripers.

Nicknamed "The Surgeon" by several of his friends and club mates, for his meticulous eye for detail and scientific approaches, he was selected to be on Owner Americas field staff in 1995. Craig has written articles that appear regularly on ., River Smallies.com, Kevins bass site, The Michigan Fishfinder, Bronzeback.com, Bassininny.com and several for the Fisherman magazine and NYDEC Sweetwater Angler. He has had 300 articles published within the last decade. Craig is also the author of 14 bass fishing related ebooks.

Craig has given several presentations on light tackle jig and tube fishing for the South Jersey Bass Busters and Suffolk County Bassmasters and New York Bass University. He is known for his technical approach to fishing and finding patterns. He is currently a police officer in NYC and was part of the Harlem Outreach program which taught inner city kids how to fish in Central Park. He worked with this program for the 5 years.

Craig believes that confidence and his unorthodox approaches often give him the advantage out on the water. He is part owner of Micro Munch Tackle and is sponsored by Kistler Custom Rods, Sea King, Mizmo Baits, Kick N Bass, BBQ Team Coyote Roadkill, Jerky Hut and Mr. B's Tackle. He is on the staff of BassinUSA and Ultimate Bass and is a guest writer for RiverSmallies.com, Kevins Bass Site, BassResource.com, Illinios smallmouth Alliance, Michigan Fish Finder, BassAnglersonline.com.

Each fishing season Craig hosts a charity bass tournament dedicated in the memory of is childhood friend Tom Aylward who was killed in an auto wreck in North Carolina in 2000. The event draws some big name sponsors and 100% of the fees and donations generated make their way to the Aylward family.


Although I fish competitively and wear my sponsors colors proudly speaking with many anglers at the ramp, I feel my greatest attribute is being able to promote products and services through speaking to people at the seminars I do and through the many articles I write for various publications and websites. I am a staff writer for 3 of the biggest bass fishing websites on the net as well as several smaller sites. There is potential for my articles and ideas to reach over a million anglers a year, likely many more than that. I have been featured as a guest host of several TV fishing shows and have several invitations to do more. The possibility to reach large numbers of viewers exists. In 2005 alone, I've done 25 speaking engagements for national boat and fishing shows, clubs and websites. I would estimate that I've spoken before 10,000 unique individuals at these functions. I have spoken alongside of such personalities as Jimmy Houston, Larry Nixon and Jason Reynolds.

One thing I feel that is essential for me to work with any sponsor is the absolute belief in the product or service. Product knowledge is paramount to my success both on the water and representing your company.

I have a degree in Criminal Justice and have been a law enforcement officer for the NYPD for over 10 years. I've seen and done it all. I believe that being a police officer has given me the great ability to be a public speaker bursting with confidence.

I do my best to represent this sport in a professional manner and I realize in truth that I am an ambassador to your company, a reflection of what your business is all about. For this reason, I commit myself to exhibiting conduct in a professional, courteous and humble manner at all times.

While I don't feel that my tournament activity should be a large consideration for a position with any company, I list the past few seasons results to show that I am active in competition.

Angling Accomplishments and Achievements

6-20-04 first place Loon Lake Craig DeFronzo- 14.69lbs 3 LMB 1 SMB

7-31-04 first place Upper Mills C. DeFronzo- 5LMB 18.79lbs

8-07-04 first place Hither Hills C.DeFronzo- 5LMB 18.10lbs

8-28-04 second place Bryant Lake C DeFronzo- 5 LMB 12.45lbs

10-24-04 first place Classic Forge Pond C.DeFronzo 10.37lbs

2004 Anglers of The Year: R.Fisher/C.DeFronzo: 74.40lbs

Mr Bass Craig DeFronzo 4.89 Smallmouth

Club MVP: Craig DeFronzo

Classic Champs: R.Fisher/C.DeFronzo

6-15-03 second place Hither Hills 11.88lbs Craig DeFronzo

6-22-03 first place Maratooka Pond 9.55lbs Craig DeFronzo

6-28-03 first place Upper Mills 13.80lbs Craig DeFronzo

7-20-03 first place Forge Pond 11.96lbs Craig DeFronzo

7-13-03 first place Swan Pond 10.72lbs Craig DeFronzo

7-27-03 first place West Lake 12.69lbs Craig DeFronzo

8-10-03 second place Hither Hills 8.15lbs Craig DeFronzo

9-7-03 first place Forge Pond 16.93lbs Tom Aylward Memorial Event Craig DeFronzo/Paul Ritchie

9-14-03 first place Upper Mills 6.48lbs Craig DeFronzo

2003 films pilot episode of Lunkerville

2003 ESBA Team Anglers of the Year Craig DeFronzo/Rob Fisher 86.54lbs 72pts out of 80 for the 2003 season

2005 Seminar Series at NY Boat Show with Larry Nixon and Jimmy Houston

2005 Filmed second Lunkerville Episode

Mr. Bass ESBA 2003 season Craig DeFronzo 4.89lb largemouth

2003 ESBA Club MVP Craig DeFronzo

6-2-02- first place Forge Pond 12.48lbs Craig DeFronzo

6-9-02 second place Zone 1 4.66lbs Craig DeFronzo

6-21-02 second place Swan Pond 7.87lbs Craig DeFronzo

7-7-02 first place Upper Mills 11.50lbs Craig DeFronzo

8-11-02 second place Forge pond 9.70lbs Craig DeFronzo

8-25-02 second Place Hither Hills 7.74lbs Craig DeFronzo

9-15-02 first place Swan Pond 7.59lbs Craig DeFronzo

9-22-02 first place Maratooka pond 9.50lbs Craig DeFronzo

10-02/ 10-03 -02 ESBA Classic first place 16.79lbs Craig DeFronzo

2002 Team anglers of the Year Craig DeFronzo and Rob Fisher

2002 overall angler of the year Craig DeFronzo

2002 club MVP Craig DeFronzo

2001 Helps establish Green Eyes Worm Works and Wicked Tubes, hand poured baits

2000 Forms Micro Munch Tackle

1995 Invented the proto type of the Micro Munch Jig

1995 co-Founder Harlem Outreach Fishing with Inner city Kids Program

1995 Runner Up Big Bass World Championship for NY 8.16lbs

1994 Runner Up Big Bass World Championship for NY 7.34lbs

Pro Staff Affiliations


Mr. B's Bait and Tackle

Owner America Corp.

Sea King Line

Micro Munch Tackle

Kistler Custom Rods

Kick N Bass

Jerky Hut

Fish For Free

BBQ Team Coyote Roadkill

Mizmo Baits

Micro Munch Tackle Blue Label

Key Stats :

Largest Largemouth Bass 13 pounds 9 ounces Ocala National Forest

Largest NY Largemouth Bass 9 pounds 14 ounces Wildwood lake

Largest NY Smallmouth Bass 6 pounds 2 ounces Hudson River Catskill Creek

Largest LI Largemouth (2) 9 pounds 3 ounces Largemouth Bass Peconic River both Zone II

Largest 5 bass Tournament total 22 pounds 14 ounces Mahopac NY 2000

Largest LI 5 bass total 32 pounds 4 ounces Millers Pond 1991

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I'd like to believe that the above resume shows my passion for the sport. It obviously has many things that show a potential sponsor that I have some avenues to promote them. I think that is important. If I was to add to it today, I could list that I have written and authored 16 Bass Fishing CD-ROMs, that my own custom tackle company has received several awards etc. You can build on it as time moves forward.

It doesn't say I'll wear your logo, it doesn't say give me something. It is just an introduction. I kind of am up in the air about the tournament results part of it. I know it looks impressive but I'll be the first to tell you that  local tournament circuit activity is really nothing special. I was persuaded by a friend to put that stuff in there because he felt that it showed a dominance in competition. That has always had me on the fence but it certainly has worked for me. You don't want to look too "heady" but these are my accomplishments and I was advised to use them to my advantage.

I used this resume from 2004 thru 2006. I pretty much don't solicit anyone for anything now. As a writer, I am often sent things by companies to check out.....remember what I said about street cred, well, I built it up and this is the result. I've had some big manufacturers send me products that I critiqued. If I don't like it, I let them know. One of the products I did back in 2004 was US reels Super Caster 225. It was a reel designed by Ray Scott. I hated it, I let them know and they redesigned it. I'm really active in the light tackle circle of bass fishing. Many people know this and things filter down to me because of it.

Back to your resume- overview

check spelling and grammar

don't be generic

don't ask for anything

explain what you can do to promote

leave out the I'll wear you patch thing

most importantly perk their interest

The resume process is just like fishing. Your resume is bait, you want a sponsor to bite at it. Once they are on the line, you need to be able to effectively follow up and land the deal.

next installment: The plan

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  • Super User
Just remember, stay away from the cigar store Indian!!!

I am still laughing about that.

The other one is about the local butcher shop...."I'm not sure what they can give you in return, maybe a little cash, some pork chops"

MMM, pork chops!!!  Now we're talking!!!

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  • Super User
I just read it. And I am 12

Great, now tell us what you got from it?

Again, you were not listening enough and opened your yap to "defend" yourself as a 12 year old.

BTW, if you are considering the fishing industry as a career, you may want to develop a little thicker skin.

Once again, have a nice day young fella..... 8-)

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Speed Bead is right....BP96. I was really young when I set out to fish competitively. Maybe 16 or so. I started by using all of the West Coast Finesse methods that were really new in the 80's. I was putting a serious hurting on the guys I fished against. They laughed at my tackle at the launch and then called me a cheater at the weigh in. I kept my mouth shut, not only because I didn't want to get my A-$$ kicked but because I let my fishing do the talking. After a while people get over it and you get accepted. But you can't let it bother you. Later on in life some of these same people sat in the audience for some of the seminars I've spoken at. People are jealous and if you consistently flog them at something they think they are skilled at, they will get frustrated and mouth off. Like I said, let your fishing do the talking. You are not always going to be liked. I've been following your responses to these threads and you are quick to defend yourself when criticized. Chill out. You really do show your age and it isn't flattering.

TR said, Walk softly but carry a big stick.

It means, keep your mouth shut and let your actions do the talking. Or have a really big gun.

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earthworm77, im very experience in bas fishin and i am good with jigs.  pleaze pleaze sponsar me!!!  ;D

Your above posts are absolutely on key.  Granted I'm not sponsored by more than my wife's photography company and my own miniature bait company that doesn't even sell producte yet (lol) but it's a start.  I field staff for rage tail and some of those same techniques were used in that.  To those of you wanting to pursue the big trails, you should probably read Craig's posts about a dozen times...then buy some of his jigs.  Speaking of which, I need some myself  :D

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  • Global Moderator

This is a great thread.

Thank's Craig!

And Brian...Yes!  

You do need some Micro Munch Tackle jigs!


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Brian, you know what, you are on your way. Getting a sponsorship with a photography studio is a perfect example of thinking outside the box. Part of me thinks that there are some people who are in charge of a Pro staff program, somewhere that actually look at a guy who has other sponsors extremely favorably. Like maybe that they have the experience and they should know what to do...it might be easier for them to assimilate into company X's program. I will have a bunch of jigs come the fall, right now, plastic dominates my custom business and it would be silly of me to side step that.

I have built my reputation in the fishing industry by doing things differently from most other people. Your not breaking any rules by finding a new approach, in fact it should be welcomed. I got a little lazy this week but I'm going to do part 2 soon.

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Wanna really see out of the box? My affiliation with Rage Tail is not financial and I am not asking for a bunch of free stuff. I've gotten some stuff, but I'm not being a financial drag on Steve either. I still buy a ton of rage tail products on my own and don't expect much, since I'm not on any tours or circuits. I just enjoy helping Rage Tail out because I love the product and I like Steve. Besides, by law, I'm not allowed to recieve any money for sponsorship, since I'm in the Army. So a few free packs of lures and some idea talking back and forth is enough for me to work lol. With my wife's photo studio, it's only to help her out. She gives me about 5% of her profits to keep my tacklebox kicking (sometimes), but that's about it. Basically, that means I get a few crankbaits or packs of plastics on her every once in awhile lol.

I'm really more interested in helping test and develop lures rather than fishing in pro-circuits. I really enjoy the relationship that I have with Rage Tail, since their entire lineup has become confidence lures for me. I will be kicking up a storm on Co-Angler FLW events if I land a job at the Baton Rouge Fire Department. 9 days of work a month for more than I make now sounds SWEEEEET!!!!

Earthworm77, when you make some more jigs, I'll probably pick up some more black ones from ya. I am also looking really hard at those tubes again. A friend gave me a pack about a year ago and I'll have to get some El Gordos now. I'm not sure of the color, thanks to being partially color blind, but I'll just guess at the next pack's color...watermelon armageddon ;)

This really is a great thread and it would be interesting if a few of the site sponsors would offer their input. I'd have to check to see if any have...they may have already. I have a great memory :-[

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I'll warn you now, the new tubes are the smelliest ones I've ever dipped. Really, I'm packaging them in 4mil laminated scent locker bags because they are strong.

Sounds like my kinda tube lol. Whats the website?


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  • 2 weeks later...

Earthworm, great advice. You've really helped me to understand sponsorship. Thank you again, and sorry for the headache!

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  • 12 years later...

@earthworm77 I am a 13 year old angler competing in a tournament series called DETX. I was wondering if I could send this to Reaction Innovations and if you could give some tips on what to improve in this letter.  

Dear Mr. Andre Moore,


My name is Benjamin , age 13. I am a fisherman that has bought many of your lures and loves to fish them. I have recently signed up to be on a school fishing team and I was wondering if you would consider sponsoring us. I know that you probably have way better people to sponsor and you don’t even know if we are a good high school team. My school and my team fish the DETX series on Lake Sam Rayburn. This tournament is once a month launched at Jackson Hill Marina. This is an all high school tournament that my team and school has done well in. My favorite lure you make is definitely a sweet beaver 4.20 in color california 420 and houdini. My second favorite is the skinny dipper in color sexy shad, bad shad green, pearl blue shad, white trash, houdini, sungill, purple smoke, and impact bluegill. I have at least 2 bags of each of those colors. I have yet to try the spicy beaver but it looks like I might use it every day on the water. I am some day hoping to go pro but I need some help getting there. I would love to wear the Reaction Innovations name because it is by far my favorite brand of lures. I understand that you can sponsor pros with a great fishing record but I assure you I would do my best to promote your brand. Thank you for your time and have a great day.







last name not included in post for safety

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bass 4 life, I'm sorry to tell you this, but Craig passed away last year.  




That being said, your letter could use some work.  Specifically, it rambles and includes a lot of unnecessary details like your favorite bait colors.  Try to organize it like this:


Who am I?

Why am I writing to you?

What I can do to help your business?

What accomplishments do I have to prove I can do this?  E.g., tournament results, larger number of instagram it YouTube followers, etc.

Closing - thanks for reading, I'll contact you via phone in xx days to follow up



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  • 9 months later...

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