My question is when are we ready, knowing that it is only a matter of time, before large national corporate brands such as Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Toyota, and others want to make a marketing push and enter the growing tournament scene of the kayak fishing industry? It’s hard to know what that push or entry will look like and if the integrity of the sport will stay intact. Will we lose the small sponsors that have dominated and helped grow the industry to what it is today or will it open doors for these smaller businesses to promote their products to a wider market with the help of these corporations. Will the forum threads still be filled with new kayak anglers showing their DIY projects while the seasoned kayak anglers are telling them that they have done an awesome job and inquiring for instructions on how to make their own? Or will you find kayak anglers that scoff at the newbies ideas because they now have their corporate sponsors that are providing a manufactured product that looks better?
I am asking these questions mainly to start a discussion within the kayak fishing community on how we feel about the idea of large corporations wanting to get in on the action that we have all come to love and develop a passion for. Many of us have created lifestyles around the sport as well as having our careers deeply rooted within the industry. I believe kayak fishing has a since of integrity and a community of place, where anyone of us could reach out to a fellow kayak angler through a forum, Facebook, or other social media platform and ask for advice or just start a conversation about the sport. Never meeting that person in real life I imagine you could talk like you have known each other for years. I personally have met many kayak anglers on different platforms such as online forums, social media pages, fishing clubs, and small tournament trails that I may never meet in person or see again but I know if I had a question or needed help on a kayak fishing issue I could contact them and they would gladly give me their insights and advice. I would hope that same since of integrity and community of place stays intact for years to come with or without corporate sponsors as it is why I and many others have grown to love the sport of kayak fishing. I also feel there is room for everyone in the sport but I got to admit I am concerned with what it may look like in the future.