How to Become a Professional Bass Fisherman

So you want to fish for a living. You want to do what most guys do on the weekends and get paid for it. But where do you start, what do you need, what kind of advice can you get, and who will give it to you? Besides qualification, a Professional Bassmasters needs certain attributes to become successful at the elite level of competitive fishing. How do you become a Professional Bass Fisherman?
  • Have Confidence-#1 attribute
  • Have a Passion for fishing
  • Start in small Competitions at the local level & work up.
  • Learn new Electronics & Products
  • Learn different fishing techniques
  • Learn the whole Fishing Business
  • Be able to pay entries for Tournaments
  • Entry is expensive-Anglers drop out & Spots open up.

If you would fish for free to be a Bassmaster, then that’s a good thing because you might have to at the beginning of your career in order to get going. That goes for any kind of Professional Fishing.


Qualifications to Become a Professional Bass Fisherman


In interviews with most professional anglers, the number one attribute they all talked about to be a pro fisherman was confidence. They knew that they always wanted to be fishing for a living and planned from early on that one day, they would be fishing for money in elite tournaments or at least part of the fishing industry.

They also talked about the love for being on the water and the sport of fishing and said that if you didn’t love and have a passion for fishing, you would never make it down the long road that’s needed to be successful and tournament fishing.

The plan is to be part of that successful development that comes when a fisherman becomes a Professional Bass Fisherman.

A Professional Bass Fisherman is tenacious and patient and understands that there is the amount of time fishing on the water and education it takes to move up in rankings and grab a spot in the elite field of anglers. Once there, the tournament money and everything else that comes with it as a bass pro may or not come, but the chance are there for them to take advantage of, and the dream of fishing for elite prize money can become reality. Something that they have been dreaming of since they were young.


In an interview, Pro Bass Fisherman Brian Latimer said,” no one has the money it takes to pay for a start, but if you committed to the sport of fishing, you’d find a way”  it was taking a chance on the thing you love the most.

If you are unwilling to take that chance, you’ll never get anywhere.  Bassmaster Gerald Swindle tells of his passion for fishing and how 90% of his days leading up to a Classic Title were nasty rainy days out in cold chilly water that had some guys crying and complaining. But Not him.


Confidence is Key for a Professional Bass Fisherman


He claims in order to be a Profession angler, you need to toughen up to a point that nothing matters. Not the weather or the horrible results from the day’s catch. Attitude is essential for yourself and your sponsors, and your team to reach this level. There is no other way.

He goes on to say, “If you ask me about football, I got it- If you ask me about politics- I got it, and if you ask me about fishing -I got it. “Even if I don’t, I’ll make it up, and you’ll never know if I’m lying to you because that’s what a fisherman does”  It’s called PMA. That means a Positive Mental Attitude.

Just the fact that these boys claim to be the best 150 fishermen on the planet makes them a special breed themselves. They are a colorful group of fellows that march to a different drummer.

They represent multi-million dollar corporations and come out of some of the deepest parts of nowhere. Modern-day heroes to a lot of guys, romanticize the one thing that they did as a child and still do as a senior citizen.


Bassmaster Elite Tournament


Most anglers start in their local Bass Clubs or fishing tournaments that teach an angler that is trying to learn the ropes in tournament fishing. This is how most guys start out locally and advance up to the next level of professional bass fishing. First bass fishing in tournaments building skills in Local-State-National Competitions.

To move through, you need to learn technology, and gear, make a name for yourself, and earn money for equipment and entry fees in tournaments in order to fish with the elite. There are no sponsors for fishing gear at this point in your career unless you are turning heads which takes tournament wins which takes money.

So a slow, steady pace while winning works well. Learning tips on the fishing industry and the business end by meeting the pros who are experienced on both sides of the industry that is fishing and how to carry yourself in the corporate world.

In order to be sponsored which is necessary, you need an education in that part of being a pro angler. Product Development, it’s all about the business of bass fishing especially to become a Bassmaster.

How Long It Take To Become a Professional Bass Fisherman to learn the fishing industry,  the skills, and the technology that is the college of fishing.

Most pro fishermen say 3 to 5 years if you are winning. The tournament winning brings you, sponsors. They come to you with new fishing gear to fish with. It’s your responsibility to learn and win while you are learning to fish. You need to turn heads, and when the time is right, they notice you.

You need to tell them what you will do for them and how you will sell their products. The other part of learning is the equipment and products, especially the electronic products involved with your expensive tournament fishing boat, which may change from year to year, along with lures, reels, and rods that will be the tools of your trade to fish with.

While you are proving yourself, you are learning to represent yourself to these corporate businesses, big and small. Developing angler friends with valuable information on the newest fishing gear and tournament fishing who are already there where you want to be.

Putting together social platforms and building teams and tournament followers who can help you along the way.  As the man said, it’s a long road to success in this business, and rewards go to a certain few who stand above the rest.

Elite Tournaments entries can run up to $ 45,000 dollars, and a few years back, the elite bass fishing tour averaged $80,000.00 for the fishing season just to join the tour.


How Much Does a Professional Bass Fisherman Earn


In the Classic Bassmaster 2019 Tournament, this year’s top prize went to Jordan Lee, who won $300,000 dollars. Second place won $50,000 dollars and third paid out 40,000. Dollars is a good amount of money for sure, but A certain percentage of the pros on tour, maybe 15 to 20 percent, make over a hundred thousand dollars.

Then you had some that made in the millions, but there was not a lot of room at the top. The good news is there are more Bass fishing tournaments being added to keep up with televised popularity. This will increase the prize monies that will be spread out more and raise the stakes.

The Bassmaster Elite Series of Tournaments are the highest level of professional Bass Fishing tournaments. Competitors qualify through the Bass Pro Shops, Bassmaster Opens, or the B.A.S.S. Nation and an angler who is already on the Elite Series must requalify every season by maintaining points throughout the fishing season.

Pro anglers compete all year for the opportunity to make points toward the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Award and to qualify for the Bassmaster Classic. Points equate to MONEY.

Bass Fishing Tournaments pay out millions of dollars to anglers each year on the tour. Some of the most successful fishermen are millionaires over the course of their careers. Kevin VanDam, the most successful fisherman in the history of Pro Bass Fisherman Tournaments heads the career tournament lists. In more than two decades on the tour, he has compiled more than 5.2 million dollars in Bassmaster events.

Skeet Reese and Rick Clun also appear on the millionaire’s list with 2.5 million and 2.1 million in tournament money wins. Most of the top 150 professional fishermen on the Bassmaster Pro tour earn an average of $10,000 to 20,000 dollars a year in prize money.

Endorsement and sponsorship money supplements the fisherman’s annual salary. Typical sponsorship for a pro angler may include free fishing equipment and payment of thousands of dollars to use the sponsor’s products.

The top successful pro-Angler on the water like VanDamm or Reese may receive hundreds of thousands of dollars a year from endorsement companies like Kodak, Bass Shops, Plano, or Busch to use their fishing equipment or wear their clothes as long as their on top of the winner’s list.


The Future of the Sport of Fishing


According to The National Sporting Goods Association, in the information that was released 10 years ago, over 44 million Americans hit the water and went fishing. US Fish and Wildlife, the same year, estimated that one out of every six kids in America would go fishing 16 days or more every year.

New updated information now says this sport’s popularity is much better than they predicted. Fishing and especially bass fishing has become cool again. It ranked 4th in popular sports by today’s kids.

The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation expect over 47 million people to participate in freshwater fishing in the coming years. They expected a rise of 4% yearly, but it’s also better than they projected.

Today, America has 60 million Anglers who fish per year that spend more than 46 billion dollars a year on fishing equipment, boating, lodging, and other expenses that are associated with the ever-growing popular sport of fishing.

Fishing supports more than 828,000 jobs in the industry, 35 million dollars in wages, and 15 million in federal taxes, and it is growing.


The Future of the Professional Bassmaster in America


The future of the Bassmasters Tournament looks bright. With the elite sport of bass fishing growing in popularity more and more every day, and the televised live  Professional Bass Fisherman events covering the sports channels on cable TV, it makes sense that the fishing industry is not going anywhere.

The Bassmaster’s tournaments notoriety has grown leaps and bounds. They have added fishing tournaments to the tour, televised events, podcasts, radio, and fishing gear. Professional Anglers have become sports stars making commercials and holding seminars and fishing gear product shows across the country.

We have seen other sports that have come of age in the past years, like the X Games and the UFC. It just makes sense that sportscasts like Bassmasters and other fishing tournaments with a wide audience will get their due, and there will be room at the top for the kid that loves fishing on the water and dreams about doing it for living one day.

As long as there is a boy or girl who has the qualities of tenacity and patience with the desire that is needed to fulfill the passion for this unique sport of bass fishing, then the future is looking good for Professional fishing no matter what they’re catching or trying to catch.



JimGalloway Author/Editor

Reference:   Sport Fishing Industry is a Huge Economic Engine



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