By Todd Ceisner
BassFan Editor


John Salamone said he used to buy Land O' Lakes butter because the company once sponsored pro bass angler Carl Svebek. He'd also put Kellogg's cereals in his shopping cart because Texas angler Jim Tutt flew the company's colors (and still does).

It stands to reason that now Salamone is hoping anglers will associate the opportunity to earn extra money in tournaments with his insurance agency.

Salamone owns a Farmers Insurance agency in Jasper, Texas, and he's seen his business boom since introducing an incentive program last year that benefits tournament anglers who have a policy of any kind (home, boat, car, etc.) through his agency.

The program works much like that of the bass boat manufacturer contingency programs that BassFan detailed last year:

> An angler competes in a sanctioned tournament
> He/she wins or is the highest-finishing eligible angler
> He/she provides proper proof of his/her finish to Salamone
> Salamone pays back a $200 cash award (if the boater's partner also has a policy through Salamone, the award doubles)

Currently, Salamone's agency has tie-ins with the Bud Light Trail, Bass N Bucks, Platinum Team Trail and the Anglers Quest (Sam Rayburn) tournament circuits. He told BassFan his agency is now the top-producing agency across all Farmers agents nationwide when it comes to boat policies. He attributes the growth directly to the incentive payback program.

"It's been wildly successful," said Salamone, who also serves as tournament director for the southeast Texas High School Fishing Association. "It's just something we decided we'd take a risk on and see what happens. I'm a firm believer in supporting anglers and the people that support them. I've seen it so many times. Now, Farmer's is getting behind it and backing the program. It's just one step in what I'd like to accomplish."

He said the program has gotten the attention of members of Farmers' corporate structure and they've reached out to him to learn more about the program and how it could possibly be expanded to reach a broader range of consumers and anglers.

"It's really nice," he said. "I know we've got miles and miles to go, but we're getting closer to the ultimate goal."

Salamone's success story is just an example of how companies in and around the fishing industry are helping tournament anglers at all levels of competition cash in based on the equipment they use. From a trolling motor cord to marine batteries, there are a number of ways for anglers to earn bonuses for winning tournaments or being the highest-finishing eligible angler.

For anglers, these programs are a great way to get more out of the products they would otherwise already need or use. For that reason, many of them are no-brainers if you're going to invest in a product or service, why not spend money on one that could ultimately pay you back?

Below is a breakdown of the some of the popular non-boat contingency programs available to anglers for 2014:

BoatUS Angler Weigh To Win
> 2014 fee: $38 (membership and unlimited on-the-road towing) or $67 (membership and unlimited on-the-water freshwater towing)
> What's included: Decals
> Top potential prize: $1,000 (Bassmaster Classic or Forrest Wood Cup). Click here for prize payout structure.
> Rules/Requirements: Click here
> Eligible tournaments: Click here
> Want to sign up?: Click here
> BoatUS Angler says: Of all the contingency programs out there, few provide the peace of mind that comes with a BoatUS Angler membership. It's a win-win for tournament anglers they receive towing service (if needed) on the road or water, plus it pays back at a pretty nice return rate.

For example, the highest finishing eligible angler in a BFL can take home $150, which would cover nearly 2 years of BoatUS Angler services.

"It's been very well received because it provides anglers who are traveling to and participating in tournaments towing services they know they can trust," said Kendell Callaway-Mooney of Dynamic Sponsorships, the Tulsa, Okla.-based firm that heads up the program. "It adds a safety factor for those traveling on the roads and on the water, plus they have the opportunity to win some contingency money."

The Weigh-To-Win program is entering its third year and it continues to grow in popularity, mostly because it's a value-added service, according to Calloway-Mooney.

Added features for 2014 include a non-boat payout and additional team trails where the top two eligible finishers can add some green to their bottom line.

"We continue to make improvements to it because we're continuing to see support from the angling audience," Calloway-Mooney said.

Toyota Bonus Bucks
> 2014 fee: None (must own or lease a 2010 or newer Tundra, Sequoia, Tacoma, FJ Cruiser or 4Runner).
> What's included: T-shirt, hat, decals
> Top potential prize: $7,500 (Bassmaster Classic). Click here for prize payout structure.
> Rules/Requirements: Click here
> Eligible tournaments: Click here
> Want to sign up?: Click here
> Toyota says: The Bonus Bucks program is a one-of-a-kind contingency in that Toyota is the only truck-maker to offer such a benefit to its consumers. Toyota literally owns the tow-vehicle contingency category and it continues to make inroads with anglers across all levels.

The program debuted in 2008 and its annual growth has attracted a loyal fanbase in which people who were enrolled in Bonus Bucks at its inception are now purchasing new trucks in order to remain in the program.

It's expanded so rapidly that Toyota started a Bonus Bucks Owners Tournament in 2012 as another way to reward Toyota truck and SUV owners who also enjoy fishing. From the top level of the pro ranks down through team tournament trails, pulling your boat with something other than a Toyota means you're leaving money on the table.

"We want to continue to do things like that and provide opportunities for our owners and show our appreciation that they're Toyota truck owners," Callaway-Mooney said. "The exciting thing about it is we continue to see it grow every year and expand. We're seeing more buy-in from the angling audience and that's exciting to see."

T-H Marine Atlas Awards
> 2014 fee: $19.95
> What's included:
> Top potential prize: $1,800 (Bassmaster Classic or Forrest Wood Cup). Click here for prize payout structure.
> Rules/Requirements: Click here
> Eligible tournaments: Click here
> Want to sign up?: Click here
> TH Marine says: Of all the contingency programs out there, few offer more program-eligible products than T-H Marine. T-H Marine makes the Atlas Series hydraulic jack plate and if an angler has that installed, it might behoove him to invest in some of the other products in order to boost his or her earning potential.

If a boat is equipped with an Atlas jack plate and three other eligible products from T-H there are seven eligible products an angler could win an additional $1,800 for winning a tournament. Not a bad bonus, eh?

T-H acquired the Oxygenator brand last year and that product is now part of the expanded Atlas Awards for 2014. New this year are a co-angler program and cash awards for being the highest-placing eligible angler.

"One of the big changes in addition to the additional products is the introduction of a high-finisher award," said T-H Marine marketing specialist Grant Stewart. "It should bring more people in because there are a lot more chances to win.

"We are actually seeing people say, 'I have the Hot Foot and the Jack Plate, I might as well get a (G-Force Trolling Motor) handle. It's a cheap way to get involved for $35 and you can win that over and over again just for having the handle."

With so many products included in the program, Stewart said there was concern about it being too complicated for anglers. However, the process has been simplified so much that after registering for the Atlas Awards, all an angler needs to do next is to send in the claim form in the event they won a tournament were the highest-finishing eligible angler.

"That's very important and was a very big challenge," Stewart added. "It's a little complicated, but we tried to get all the complications on our side. We wanted to make it as easy as possible for the angler."

Optima Batteries True Blue
> 2014 fee: None
> What's included: Decals available through sanctioned tournament organizations
> Top potential prize: $2,000
> Rules/Requirements: Click here (please note the 2014 rules/requirements will be posted shortly).
> Eligible tournaments: Click here
> Optima says: Batteries are unique in that unlike trolling motors, engines, electronics or even rods and reels, it's hard to tell what brand an angler is using by just looking at his boat.

The batteries are tucked away in the aft compartment, ready for their next cranking assignment. Visibility isn't a concern for Optima Batteries, which has featured the True Blue program for 4 years. Another unique feature of the True Blue program is it's mostly focused on grass roots tournament organizations and extends to walleye tournaments. This year, it's adding carp bowfishing events to its list of sanctioned tournaments.

"The strategy behind it was with the all of the grass roots fishing orgranizations out there, we wanted to focus our energy on the guys who are going to buy our batteries rather than the guys who're looking for a deal," said Ryan Chuckel, who heads up the True Blue program. "For people out competing and spending their disposable income and time and trying to outfish the competition, we want to give them an added incentive. We know our batteries are more expensive than some others out there and this gives people an opportunity to win some money to offset those costs."

Typhoon Optics Wear It To Win It
> 2014 fee: None (angler needs to own a pair of Typhoon Optics sunglasses)
> What's included: Decals, patches
> Top potential prize: $1,000 (Bassmaster Elite Series, FLW Tour, PAA). Click here for prize payout structure.
> Rules/Requirements: Click here
> Eligible tournaments: Click here
> Want to sign up?: Click here
> Typhoon says: The Typhoon brand has been around for about 15 years in the sunglass market, but only recently has the company started to focus on the fishing scene. The brand is highly visible at FLW events and last year the company earmarked more than $580,000 for the program, which rewards Typhoon users who finish in the Top 3 in any of the following circuits: FLW Tour, PAA, Bassmaster Elite Series, Rayovac Series, Bassmaster Opens or BFL.

According to Typhoon CEO Roy Burchett, more than 700 people have taken advantage of the Wear It To Win It program since its inception in 2011.

"It's the biggest bang we can get for the buck," he said. "It's a great way for the amateur angler to be compensated for helping us market our brand. It's a way to be on a team without being on a team. It allows the weekend warrior-types to buy a tool and benefit from it in more ways than just wearing them on the water.

"For us, it's a good promotion and for the fishing community, it's a great way to earn extra money."

Power-Pole Captain's Cash
> 2014 fee: $24.95 (also must own a Power-Pole shallow water anchor)
> What's included: Decals, patches
> Top potential prize: $1,000 (Bassmaster Elite Series or FLW Tour). Click here for prize payout structure.
> Rules/Requirements: Click here
> Eligible tournaments: Click here
> Want to sign up?: Click here
> Power-Pole says: This year marks the fourth season of the Captain's Cash program, which pays back up to $1,000 for winning an Elite Series or FLW Tour event. The program is also sanctioned by a catfish tournament trail and several walleye circuits.

"It's been pretty popular with the tours we're sanctioned with," said Curt Hill, JL Marine Systems' advertising manager.

Hill said the membership fee was initially $49.99 on top of the requirement that an angler own a Power-Pole shallow water anchor, but the move to slash the fee in half resulted in a significant bump in enrollment.

"When we lowered the price, we saw a lot more people signing up," he said. "For us, it's more to help out our loyal customers who've stuck with us over the years. We want to continue to support the tournament anglers who've run our product and will continue to run our product into the future."

HydroWave Competitive Angler
> 2014 fee: $34.95
> What's included: Hats, shirts, product discounts
> Top potential prize: $250
> Rules/Requirements: Click here
> Eligible tournaments: Any event with 50 boats or more
> Want to sign up?: Click here
> HydroWave says: Much like the way Power-Pole has revolutionized how anglers are able to fish shallow water more effectively, the HydroWave system has given anglers yet another tool to stimulate the feeding impulses of fish. Add to that the potential to earn $250 for a tournament victory for having a unit installed on your boat and it makes little sense to not have one.

The Competitive Angler program is entering its third year and according to HydroWave president Gene Eisenmann, it's a win-win all around.

"The reason we do it is because the guys want to maximize the payout at tournaments," he said. "All the bonuses play a big part and makes it more than just an entry fee swap.

"We want the exposure, too, so its a tradeoff. They'll be giving us the branding we need and we're giving them an avenue to make some more money. It's an important marketing tool because it shows that we're committed to paying the angler back."

Eisenmann said running a contingency program is in some ways more effective than handing out sponsorships to anglers.

"These programs are good for us because when you sponsor people you don't always know what they're out there doing," he said. "Here, they've got an investment in it and when we have to pay it out, you know you're getting some exposure."