Such is the harried life of a professional BASS angler. With the advent of the 2006 CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series, and the continued overall growth of the sport, many anglers are discovering they need help managing their fishing business. And all of them think it’s a positive step in the right direction.
“I want to be the best fisherman I can and that takes total concentration, and no interruptions,” said Aaron Martens, the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year. “Being a really great bass fisherman takes total focus, and when you get in that zone, interruptions will set you back.”
For years, anglers have relied on their significant others to handle needed but time-consuming errands like travel arrangements, appointments, scheduling and returning calls. Husbands and wives also work together on sponsorship proposals, sponsor obligations and other duties that help make a successful career. But just like professional athletes in other sports, anglers are getting so busy they need business managers to keep up with the demands on their time.
“It’s hard for a touring professional,” said Boyd Duckett, a BASS pro angler from Alabama. “It’s hard to work off a cell phone on your boat, and we all try to do that to a certain extent. But you don’t make good decisions, and maybe you don’t have the best conversation. You don’t want that key conversation to come when it’s 96 degrees, and you’re outside, and the wind is blowing and you can barely hear on your cell phone, and you can’t concentrate, and you’ll end up telling your best sponsor the wrong thing.”
Professional bass fishing now is more of a business than it has ever been before, anglers said. “It’s getting to be more and more of a job,” said Lucy Mize, an Arkansas angler fishing the Women’s Bassmaster Tour in 2006. “More and more anglers are finding they really don’t have the time to handle the business part of it.
“Since ESPN bought BASS, the sport has grown so much, and the publicity has grown. There are people that are watching fishing that never had a clue what fishing was about, so with that, the interest is growing, so the possibilities are out there.”
Duckett believes the continued growth of sponsorships and the advent of the CITGO Bassmaster Elite Series is putting a new face on the way anglers need to handle their affairs. “Everybody’s got to get involved in sponsorships, find a way to deal with those sponsorships and spend the time,” he said. “In the next two or three years, I think you’ll see more managers involved because everybody doesn’t want to handle it, everybody’s not good at it, and some people choose not to handle it.”
BASS is the worldwide authority on bass fishing, sanctioning more than 20,000 events through the BASS Federation annually. Guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans, BASS sets the standard for credibility, professionalism, sportsmanship and conservation, as it has for nearly 40 years. BASS stages bass fishing tournaments for every skill level and culminates with the CITGO Bassmaster Classic. Through its clubs, youth programs, aquatic resource advocacy, magazine publishing and multimedia platforms,
BASS offers the industry's widest array of services and support to its nearly 550,000 members. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.
To join BASS, or for more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit www.bassmaster.com.