Steps to become a professional angler
Many people are interested in the sport of fishing, but are not not sure how to take it to the tournament or professional level, mainly because they are not properly educated. If you follow the steps below, you will find the process of becoming a professional angler a little easier to understand. Defining what professional angler is may be a little more difficult. There are a lot of people that are tournament fisherman but very few actually ever make enough money to actually make a living. Becoming a professional angler you need to consider other financial revenue that can supplement your career. SOme of these include speaking at seminars, writing articles, public appearances, trade shows and guiding.
Fish as many local tournaments as you can as a co-angler for the first 1-2 years. This will broaden your mind and help you find different techniques you may not of thought of or tried yet. This is also the best way to gain knowledge of a body of water.
Study the habitats of the fish you are targeting in your region. Learn how to locate the fish during changing weather conditions as well as changing seasons. You need to know the mating habits and feeding patterns. All of this is true for fresh or saltwater fish.
You really need to work hard at this profession just like you do your at a normal day to day job. The guys that are truly successful as professionals put in 1200-2000 hours on the water annually. Many of the professional anglers are guides as well as tournament fisherman. This allows them to make income while spending time on the water. Guides and charters have access to great sponsorships and equipment discounts. This really helps burden the financial responsibility.
Be a frugal road warrior. Learn ways to save money while traveling. If your goal is to make money at your profession you need to control costs as with any business. Some of the items that ad up fast are lodging, fuel and food. I save money on hotels by using a points card for a hotel chain. Everything I purchase day to day I buy with a Marriott MasterCard and I hardly ever pay for a hotel room while on the road and in some cases I stay with a partner and he pays half of the room so I make money. Pack food and eat out only when necessary. This also helps with maintaining a health diet. Fuel costs are tricky and the best suggestion is maintain your tow vehicle and have a tow vehicle that is easier on gas. We pull with diesel trucks but gas trucks are becoming more fuel efficient and are going to be the choice going forward.
After you have gained some knowledge of your local lakes begin to fish local and regional tournaments as a boater and build your confidence. You need to be able to win at a local level before competing at a regional or national level. If you are winning or placing high at a local level sponsorships will be easier to come by and retain. Sponsorships for entry fees, equipment and boats/motors are a necessary part of the equation.
The work needs to continue when the season ends.If you disappear from October until May your sponsors will disappear also. You need to start contacting your sponsors during this time and see what you can do for them in the offseason and begin to negotiate for the upcoming year. This is also a great time to build relationships and new sponsors. Make sure you keep up your personal blog or website and let followers know how you did and what the plans are for the next year. Having many followers or hits on your website is a big turn on for sponsors so do not neglect this portion of the business.
Learn as much as you can before you leap. Make sure you soak up all the information you can while fishing as a amateur and as a professional. Be sure you are financially sound before you make the next step. Good luck and have fun.