|Sponsor decals are prominent on this kayak.|
I am intrigued by the number of weekend anglers out there who are "sponsored" by companies who make rods, reels, lures, lines, leaders, kayaks and other merchandise.
My feeling is that many of those weekend anglers are duping these companies. However, I don't believe you can be duped unless you want to be duped.
I'll never forget a local fellow who worked in a local tackle shop and guided part=time. I mean really part-time. He did maybe two or three charters a month.
But he was sponsored.
He somehow convinced a nationally known outdoor writer to fly to Sarasota and fish with him during tarpon season. Even though the guide had a terrible reputation, the outdoor writer somehow managed to hook and land a tarpon.
After landing the fish, they decided a few photos were apropos. But before the camera was out of the bag, the guide removed the hook from the tarpon's mouth (they caught the fish on a live crab), cut it off and replaced it with a Rat-L-Trap.
Seems as if the guide was "sponsored" by Rat-L-Trap.
I'm on the water nearly every day. I don't have time to sit in front of the computer and email tackle companies, line manufacturers or lure makers to solicit sponsorship. When I get home after a day on the water, I've got kayaks and tackle to clean. Plus, I have to get ready for the next day's trip.
Meanwhile, Peter Pro Staff is sitting in front of a computer at his day job surfing the Internet and sending out email inquiries about sponsorships.
He misses more than he hits. But he does hit every once in a while.
Sooner or later, he's collected a stable of sponsors. He gets his kayak(s), rods, reels, line, lures and even apparel at a decent discount.
Meanwhile, some who work full-time on the water go without.
Here's a classic look at these "tackle whores:" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzwF72B2F2w
What a "Pro Staffer" actually gets is a discount . Most companies don't expect much in return.
One company that I used to be affiliated initiated a "Pro Staff" program. That's cool, but the collection of Pro Staffers that it attracted was laughable. One of the new Pro Staff was a guy who works full-time for a living in retail and fishes maybe a half dozen times a year. Another new Pro Staffer just a started fishing out of their kayaks and applied to the program. He was accepted without question.
Another Florida angler who resides on Florida's east coast is a Pro Staffer for several companies. And that person always pay tribute to sponsors on Facebook at every opportunity.
"If it wasn't for my Big Fish Gloves, Lunker Line, Realto Rods, Supreme Reels, Fishy Kayak and Fred's Fishing Shirt, I couldn't have caught this redfish. Thanks!"
Are you kidding me?
But the sponsors get plenty of exposure on Facebook from the person. They don't get much exposure from that person on the water because he or she only does a half dozen charters a year.
Yet that person has more sponsorships than most full-timers!
They're all the same. Their vehicles are covered with sponsor decals. Ditto for their kayaks. The only trouble is they usually don't fish all that much.
They're known as tackle whores. Only problem is, they take all they can get, but don't put out very much.