Preparing yourself to be a Professional Angler…In the Classroom

When an aspiring professional bass fisherman thinks about how they can prepare themselves for the long, difficult road of making fishing into a career, what do they think about? In most cases the number one hurdle is finances and sponsorships.

From there they probably go immediately to on the water challenges. When and where will I have to fish well to have a chance at climbing the ladder. But what about college and classroom education? It’s a great tool that if used properly can be a major asset to a future professional angler. There are several courses or majors that relate very closely to the fishing profession.

The number one major and course load that should be considered is marketing. In this day and age, professional bass fishing is all about marketing yourself and when you get them, it’s about marketing your sponsors. Pro-Staff managers are smart people; they can read an individual and know if they have what it takes to be an asset to their brand. If you know the ins and outs of marketing strategies and can speak fluently about promoting a brand or yourself as an angler, this will be a great advantage.

Another option is the communications field. This major relates to marketing in many ways and often times get mixed into marketing major requirements. No matter your profession, communication is huge. If you can’t speak and communicate professionally, your brand as an angler will suffer. Often times your success all boils down to sponsorships and the PR that you as an individual can create.

Champions Tour angler, Trevor Lo, who earned his Marketing Degree from the University of Minnesota and was the 2015 BASS Collegiate Champion has gotten a glimpse of professional fishing as he competed on the Bassmaster Open Circuit in 2016 feels that “school helped me understand how businesses work and how I can specifically help create brand exposure and awareness for my sponsors.”

The next idea dives into the science of fishing, topics like wildlife biology, fisheries biology and fisheries management. Understanding bass and why they do what they do can be a great advantage for a professional fisherman. You can fish every day and refine every technique, but there’s still so much to learn about the science of wildlife.

Lastly are business, finance and economics degrees, these can all be very beneficial to an aspiring bass pro. As a professional fisherman you are ultimately a small business owner and that business is you! Having business smarts and making the proper decisions financially can help keep you afloat during the early stages of your career. And when you do finally “Make It” these tools will come in extremely handy to help make sure you stay there.   “There’s so much that goes on behind-the-scenes in the fishing profession; a lot of which you can learn about in various college courses,” stated Lo.

To be a pro angler, you don’t need a degree but it can help prepare you for some of the challenges you’ll face throughout the process. And don’t forget, college fishing teams are exploding across the nation so you might even be able to wet a line while you’re on campus!

Three Tips from Trevor Lo

Take business, marketing, and communication courses. Business courses prepare you for the behind-the-scenes work with various companies; marketing teaches you how to sell yourself as an angler and be an asset for companies, and communication helps you relay important and key information to your viewers.

When you first start, you cannot expect much of anything from your sponsors. It will start out small, but focus on WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR THE COMPANY, NOT WHAT THEY CAN DO FOR YOU. The more you do, the more you can begin to expect.

Be professional on social media. Companies keep track of how you carry yourself on social media – getting drunk at college parties and posting about it doesn’t appeal to companies AT ALL.

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