LOCAL SUCCESS marked Aaron Martens' jump to the pros

Just like cashing in when the fish finally move on your afternoon spot, good timing, not just good casting is critical. So it is with the efforts of most individuals who hold out hope to turn fishing into a profession.

Unfortunately, now really isn’t the time. Resources are in low supply for the companies that foot the bill for their promotional staffs, especially in the boating industry. (See the latest Strader report.) Ask any media account executive and they’ll tell you: when companies cut costs, a large chunk of cutbacks come from advertising and promotions.

But that doesn’t mean a pro career is a dead issue. I’ve mentioned before, a number of successful anglers who have been in the spotlight five, 10 or 20 years or more, did not necessarily blow up the national circuit when they started out. They worked toward that goal fishing as often as possible on various waters–and grabbing media attention, however modest, along the way.

So much hinges on the sale of big ticket items (boats, motors, tow vehicles) and everyone knows why those aren’t moving. Like it or not, it’s about employment and according to the latest government stats (click here), “In June, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was unchanged at 6.8 million. These individuals made up 45.5 percent of unemployed persons.”

Obviously, that group won’t be buying or entertaining the notion of buying any boats for awhile.

For the would-be pro, however, now is the time to build a resume. Stay visible, but not audible. Be seen doing shows, promotions, kids events; not heard slamming fellows or organizations that provide the stage for your fishing career.

Pick your spots in the lower level events including a few tournaments on unfamiliar waters where you can further develop your skills and expand your connections. But, of course, stay strong on your home waters for their cash and media exposure value.

And here’s something the leading fishermen almost never consider when they think about ways to increase local fields. When a top level guy has a bad day or bad tournament, he should never jettison his fish, but always weigh-in. What’s more, he should also make sure he congratulates the winners and others who finished ahead of him in the standings.

The perception that the top guys are unbeatable is self-defeating to a circuit. Encouraging all those whose attendance is necessary for the largest payouts is a skill that every potential pro should start developing immediately.

Then, when the timing is right, you can take that leap with as much going for you as possible.


One Response to “Turning pro takes good timing”

Got to love what you said about not dumping your fish and sticking around to the end of the event and giving congrats to the winner(s). Only thing I might add is to thank the folks who run the tournament.