By Capt. Steve Chaconas
Ready for publicity? To “afford” to be a pro bass angler, you need sponsors! Acquiring and maintaining sponsors is usually predicated on how much publicity you can get.
Skeeter/Yamaha pro, James Charlesworth left Woodbridge to fish full-time. While he’s been very successful in getting national exposure, and exposure from ESPN’s Bass Center, BASSMASTER, Bass Times, and others, his first objective is to catch fish!
“That speaks for itself and media comes to you.”
In his second year, Charlesworth qualified to fish the Classic.
While there are no shortcuts to catching fish, he points to ways to get on the media fast track.
“Study your role models, evaluate their styles while adding your own personal twist.”
Working on his communication skills, Charlesworth reads everything about the sport…not only for information, but how it’s presented. “I want to help writers and they want to help me…it’s networking, meeting people through people…. Be prepared to talk with the media. But bottom line: you have to catch fish.”
Winner of the FLW Outdoors Stren Series (Hudson River) 2007, (Lake Champlain) 2006, Bassmaster Alabama Invitational (Lake Martin) 1999, Pete Gluszek has earned several other tournament honors, including 2 BASSMASTER Classic and FLW Championship appearances. Pete is known as the “Dean” of Bass University and understands the value of sponsorships in keeping his shows on the road and on the air.
Gluszek takes a pro-active approach working with media. Knowing it can be a while between wins, the New Jersey pro organizes media events. Recruiting local Chambers of Commerce, manufacturers, and other sponsors, Gluszek creates a win, win, win situation for sponsors, media and him.
Resulting in solid relationships he wins whether he’s winning a tournament or not.
“When I do win, I have a lot of recognition among media and sponsors, and this is another way for me to build my brand.”
The added experience working with writers, photographers and TV prepares him for expected or unexpected opportunities.
Gluszek puts in long days and months of preparation leading up to his media events as he did as a BASSMASTER Classic qualifier.
“It might be tough to work, but at the end of the day when you see your photo on the cover, then it’s all worth it.”
Gluszek has parlayed his relationships into sponsors for the highly successful bass fishing seminar and TV Bass University programs.
Skeeter/Yamaha pro Kelly Jordon has seven major tournament wins, 37 Top 10s and he is just shy of $2,000,000 in career winnings. Jordon was one of the originators of the Toyota Texas Bass Classic, and a founding member of Major League Fishing and the Bass Pro Tour.
Jordon agrees with Charlesworth and Gluszek. For newcomers, he says it’s a good idea to “volunteer” to help with outdoor writer conferences. Keeping in contact with the media is always a good idea too.
Placing a courtesy call to media people, if he’s in the area, Jordon sets up photo shoots and interviews. He also makes the best of many hours of driving time between venues, calling to keep in touch or to follow up on media needs.
“Think about new tactics, unique experiences or out of the ordinary topics.” He says it makes a writer’s job easier. “The outdoor writer gets a story. It helps your sponsors and helps you get your name out.”
Winning tournaments keeps writers knocking at his door, but Jordon says you better be prepared when you answer that door. “You have to be able to convey your thoughts in a way they make sense, illustrating your ideas in words.” Jordon says this places the outdoor writer on the same wavelength, understanding what you are saying.
When all is said and done, a pro angler is selling himself. Take things in order, win first, help the media, help your sponsors and eventually you will help yourself.