Kayak Fishing Ultimate Resource

Thursday, 01 March 2012 11:19

Is sponsorship for you?

Written by Bob Bramblet
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Scarcely a day goes by without someone asking me about pro staffs and sponsorship. Like many other kayak anglers, I display stickers and logos on my kayak that are designed to garner attention, and they do. As a result, I get asked these questions quite frequently, and I am always happy to share my knowledge on the subject.

What does “sponsorship” mean?

The first thing I tell people is that sponsorship means different things to different people. For some, receiving a percentage discount on gear is enough to “letter up” the kayak and advertise a business. For others, it means selling the ad space on their kayak for cash. For me, I think the answer lies in the middle. Gone are the days where companies can afford to pay an angler to represent them. The economy and low profit margins won’t support it. It is entirely reasonable, however, to expect some kind of consideration for your product placement and word of mouth. This can range from displaying a sticker of your local tackle store on your kayak in return for 20% everything you purchase to a kayak manufacturer giving you a kayak to use exclusively in exchange for your fish pictures in the aforementioned kayak. So, basically sponsorship is getting something in return for your promotion of a company or item.

How does someone get sponsored?

Stand out from the hundreds of thousands of kayak anglers out there! Kayak fishing is still relatively young, and there are already a few big names out there. There is still a lot of room at the top. Hone your skills and fish a few tournaments, or start a blog. Learn everything you can about being a better angler on a kayak. Post your fishing reports on as many forums as you can find. Learn how to take better pictures - exceptional pictures are mandatory! If you have a company in mind, start posting pictures on their Facebook page showing how successful you are at using their product. Once you have done all of this, you still have to ask. No one will come out of the woodwork and ask to sponsor you. You have to email, call and write to make it happen. Out of every hundred or so contacts you make, you may get one sponsor. The more you stand out, the easier it will be to sell yourself to potential sponsors.

Do you have any tips?

Try to have a thick skin - be prepared for denials. No matter how good or valuable you think you are, it’s their decision to sponsor you. If they say no, be prepared to move on. I once had several kayaks from a particular manufacturer. I loved their products and I contacted them. I informed them that they didn’t have to give me a thing, as I already had everything I needed. I just wanted to be on their pro staff. I was denied and have since moved on and am now on another kayak team.

Stick with companies whose items you use anyway. You already use them and like them, so try not to ban yourself from using them. A good friend of mine used soft plastic lures from a certain company. He always caught fish with them and bought them by the dozen. He made the mistake of accepting a pro staff position with another company that makes soft plastics, and can no longer use his favorites because they are “competition”.

Don’t “give it away”. Everybody makes stickers nowadays, and it’s not uncommon to see a lot of them on someone’s kayak or vehicle. There is nothing wrong with that, but if you want sponsorship keep your kayak uncluttered. Why would your favorite bait store offer you a discount on purchases when no one will see his sticker on your boat? Why would a lure company offer you a discount when you already sport their logo?

Lastly, have fun. When it comes down to it, it’s just fishing. No one that I know makes a living fishing from a kayak, so don’t take things to the extreme. Worrying about sponsor obligations and tournament performance can easily take the fun from the sport. A very close friend of mine recently sold his kayak and stopped fishing altogether. He told me he didn’t think there should be so much pressure for something that was supposed to be fun.

In Conclusion…

If you are lucky enough to get the attention of a sponsor, always remember that you now have another job. You have to represent that company as much as possible by working hard to get their name out there. That means lots of pictures, fishing any tournaments that come your way, and using their product all the time. Consider carefully what you want out of sponsorship and whether it’s worth it. Good luck.


About the Author:  Bob Bramblet is an avid tournament angler, competing in local, regional and national events. He is the President of the Southwest Florida Kayak Angler’s Association at www.swfkaa.com, and Captain of the Blue Line Fishing Team at www.bluelinefishingteam.com. Bob also writes kayak fishing articles and reviews for several online resources and kayak fishing magazines. He can usually be found fishing his home waters of Estero Bay or Pine Island Sound, where he has been fishing for over 20 years.

Read 16997 times Last modified on Thursday, 29 January 2015 08:43


+1 # jpcorrigan 2012-03-02 07:54
The best advise "It's Just Fishing".
# soccerdad 2012-03-02 09:56
Good story and good advice BB ! I like the quote .. He told me he didn’t think there should be so much pressure for something that was supposed to be fun .. a good thing for Pro Staffers to keep in mind. Sometimes the pressure you put on the average Joe weekend weekend angler is an extreme turn off. Not that I've ever been turned off by a pro staffer :-) But I know a guy who knows a guy .....
# ABadBackcast 2012-03-02 14:35
A lot of folks think that if you're on a pro staff, that they just send you free stuff and you're done....but that's really where it all begins. A true pro staffer is ALWAYS pimping their products, whether it be online through social media/forums, seminars, tournaments, etc. If you aren't doing those things, then that person isn't a very good pro staffer.

I know how your buddy feels....that's why I had to go on a self imposed exile and just get back to fishing without having to worry about all of the other stuff...
# Mani-Yak 2012-03-05 13:45
The worst thing a potential sponsor has told me is "NO"...oh well :-)
# Yakkin Tackle 2012-09-11 04:09
Really well written and informative article on the pros and cons of sponsorship.
Thankyou for sharing your experiences and keep up the good work
# pedro 2016-01-14 10:17
just started kayaking verey intertaining soprt wanted to up grade thing on my kayak i have a sit in starer kayak every comfort in it is any one have a idea were i can get free supply stickers in such thanks jr.

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