Professional Fishing–What are the Odds?

The fame, the fortune, the notoriety; it’s not hard to understand why so many people dream of becoming professional athletes, but what are their odds of actually doing it?  They vary between the sports, of course but what are the odds that you could actually make it to the professional level of tournament bass fishing?  While tournament bass fishing has grown tremendously over the past few years, the odds of competing at the highest level of the sport still remains extremely low.

Recently a scenario unfolded where two of the biggest names in professional bass fishing, Jason Christie and Greg Hackney chose to move from the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour to the Bassmaster Elite Series and were faced with the daunting task of requalification through the Bassmaster Opens.  While conventional wisdom might lead some to believe that it would be easy for two of the most accomplished anglers in the history of the sport to achieve this goal relatively easily, this was far from the case.  With the Bassmaster Open field typically being at least twice as big as an Elite Series or Bass Pro Tour field your chances of success are automatically diminished based on the sheer number of competitors.  Add to the equation that some qualifying tours enforce no off-limits periods, and rules vary on how much information anglers can gather from local experts, and the task just became that much more difficult.  In a recent blog Christie echoed those sentiments, saying that in the Opens “It only takes one bad day and you’re out. I’m not talking about a bad tournament. I’m talking about one day.”  When one of the best bass anglers on the planet makes that strong of a statement about a qualifying tour, you better take notice if you plan on making it to the professional ranks.

With all this being said, it obviously isn’t impossible to make it to the highest level of professional bass fishing no matter which organization you have your eyes set on fishing with. However, it is helpful to know what odds you are up against if you choose to take the leap.  Many anglers will probably be wondering what the odds are to make it in professional bass fishing compared to other sports. We’ve compiled stats that tell you what your odds are to make it to the big stage.  The following statistics will show the percentages of high school and college athletes that make it to the professional level of various sports.

Odds to be…

  • Professional bass angler: Bassmaster Opens to Bassmaster Elite Series (roughly 1.7%)
  • NFL player: High school to pro (roughly 0.2%), College to pro (roughly 2.4%)
  • MLB player: High school to pro (roughly 0.5%), College to pro (roughly 10.5%)
  • NBA player: High school to pro (roughly 0.03%), College to pro (roughly 1.2%)
  • Olympic Swimmer: College to pro (roughly 0.0013%)
  • Division 1 football player: High school to D1 (roughly 2.5%)
  • Division 1 basketball player: High school to D1 (roughly 1.0%)
  • Division 1 baseball player: High school to D1 (roughly 2.1%)
  • Division 1 cross country: High school to D1 (roughly 1.9%)
  • Division 1 golf player: High school to D1 (roughly 1.9%)
  • Division 1 soccer player: High school to D1 (roughly 1.4%)
  • Division 1 tennis player: High school to D1 (roughly 1.7%)

Number of Anglers in Each Professional Level Tour

Making it to the professional level in any sport is quite the feat, and professional bass fishing is no exception.  Whether you are an aspiring professional or just someone who dabbles in fishing tournaments and likes to weigh the odds of going pro, these statistics should be a great reminder that the road to the top is a difficult one to say the least.