For Chris Daves, tour-level fishing is a proposition that's no longer worth the risk.
The Virginian, son of former Bassmaster Classic champion Woo Daves, was the 5th-place finisher in the 2012 Bassmaster Northern Opens points chase, which secured him an invitation to fish the Elite Series next year. It's an offer he's decided to turn down.
"It's hard to make a living at it nowadays because it costs so much to do it," said the 40-year-old who runs a successful landscaping operation. "If I had a couple of bad tournaments, I could get into debt pretty quick."
The two-time Classic qualifier began competing in high-caliber B.A.S.S. events while still a teenager and logged several tour-level campaigns. The risk/reward scenario of the venture looked a lot better to him back then than it does now.
"The entry fees have gone up and the payouts haven't kept up with them. When I fished the Top 100s, I paid $1,500 to fish for a hundred grand, and now they want 5 grand to fish for that same amount. That doesn't make sense to me.
"Another thing is next year's schedule – they've got you running all over the place. That's too much traveling for me. I've got a pretty good business and it's hard to be away for that long."
He'll go back to work and wait for next year's Northern Opens to roll around.
"I'm glad there's still a few guys who can do it and I hope they fill up all of (the Elite slots) and have a good year," he concluded. "But if I tried it and went out and had a bad year, I'd be in trouble."