Westernbass Magazine - FREE Bass Fishing Tips And Techniques - Winter 2016, Page 40

Westernbass Magazine - FREE Bass Fishing Tips And Techniques - Winter 2016, Page 40

alarming. I spoke to my colleague and friend Ken Duke, the keeper of all things bass fishing, and he gave me the statistics. There have been a total of 253 different anglers compete in Elite Series events. In those anglers over the 10 seasons, there have been a total of 9,200 entries into the events (not counting postseason tournaments). In 89 total events, there have been 48 different winners.


The average Elite Series pro cashes checks 3.9 times per year. So, the average touring angler on the Bassmaster Elite Series loses nearly $30,000 – every year. FLW Tour anglers had things a little better before the recent changes to their tour payout structure, but the truth is, only those at the upper echelon of the sport earn enough in paychecks cased during tournaments to cover a season of fishing.

The cruel reality for most, is that while everyone believes that these pros have it made, the truth is, they have to sell a boat every year to break even on their bill for it, and they must align with more than $75,000 a year in sponsorship dollars if they want to have all of their expenses covered. That is just the amount needed to compete on the Elite Series, not what it takes to operate a household, pay their mortgage, truck payments, utilities, medical expense etc.


I’m not asking anyone to feel sorry for these anglers; they all made the decision to pursue a career in this industry. What I am suggesting is that we as fans have a little more understanding of the pressure they are under financially, and to give them a little respect for the efforts they are making – on and off the water.

I am also trying to educate those of you out there with the thought of trying to make a career yourself


out of your fishing hobby

what to expect. It certainly

can happen, but the one who

makes it is going to be the

individual who prepares for a

rough start to their career.

An angler needs to think

of themselves as a startup

publication. In the publishing

world, a new magazine

typically has a hard time

convincing advertisers

to sign an advertising

contract with them. The

reality is that 90-percent of all startup magazines fail, and advertisers do not want to be stuck holding the bag on money spent when the publication folds.

Early career professional anglers tend to be the same. The cruel reality is that most true rookie professionals’ careers falter in the first two seasons, so companies hedge their bets by not entering long term contracts or spend less than perceived market value for those anglers in the first two years. Once they see that the angler is more likely to continue along their career path, then pledges of more support can come.

I did an article with 2007 Bassmaster Classic Champion Boyd Duckett about his thoughts on this matter a while back on Advanced Angler. Duckett, who has had a very successful fishing career, but is even more successful as a business man, feels that an angler needs to learn to be successful in his home region long before attempting to branch out nationally. Only after he has begun cashing checks consistently at a local, then regional level, can an angler then begin to enter the Bassmaster Opens or FLW Rayovac Series and have a reasonable expectation of success ahead of himself.

Until then, he is throwing darts at a distance, hoping to make things stick. The good news is that anglers can leave the West and find things a little more reasonable out here financially. Fuel costs, home prices, property and income taxes all are lower, as are some living expenses. Those types of things can make it a little easier to pursue the career, but without a complete understanding of what it entails, an angler is doomed to become one of those guys that could have…