RE: Balog on turning pro – Interesting article. Unfortunately, he makes the mistake that most wanna-be anglers do when thinking about bass fishing as a career. If you are a professional bass fisherman, you must sell product to make a living to make the business model work. Otherwise, the business model does not work.
In my opinion, the reality is that most companies do not care if an angler is 2nd, 3rd, 10th, 50th or wherever, if he sells product. Ask the general public who won at West Point just last week and 99.99999 percent of people have no idea what you're talking about. If you want to make money in fishing, you'd better be able to sell product. Tournament fishing is simply one platform and stage that allows you to sell product. Nothing wrong with competition. Nothing wrong with winning trophies and all that ... but keep it in perspective.
If you don't believe this is true, think of this: If a company did not sell product by participating as an angler or tournament sponsor, would the company pay for sponsorships of any kind? Absolutely not.
This idea of winning your way to a living is what always derails bass fishermen. Bass fishing is not like golf or basketball or football or hockey ... or any sport where the public will pay simply to view the sport itself. Professional bass fishing must be the stage where a product is promoted because the general public is not going to pay to attend or see the sport itself. It's not bad, it's just different.
How many Chevys has Earnhardt sold? How are sales influenced at Go-Daddy by Danica? If Earnhardt or Danica sell product, the company sees a return on their investment, and they invest more to sell more and make more money. The athlete makes money as the billboard to sell product. Sell more, make more.
I like to think about Roland Martin. Is he a great professional angler? Yes. Is is a great promoter of product? Absolutely. Would he have been able to make as good a living, or have his longevity, on his winnings alone?. No way. In my opinion, he gets it. He knows how to promote, he knows how to fish, and he knows how to combine the two to make a great living. My hat is off to Roland Martin.
If an angler thinks he's going to go fish, finish decent every now and then, then go crawl into a hole and expect money to come flowing to him because he's "great," he's wrong. The dollars would not even follow KVD. If he'll follow the pattern of Roland Martin – work hard, fish hard, promote hard and see himself as a total business and not just pigeonholed as an angler only, he can make it.
I can think of a long list of non-promoters who were great fishermen and are gone. I can also think of a long list of so-so fishermen who are great promoters who are still in the game.