With the cost of new bass boats at an all time high, those who are considering purchasing a new rig are looking for creative ways to save or earn extra money with their new boat purchase.  Contingency programs, although based on tournament performance, can be a great way to make some extra cash and take the sting out of the sticker price.  This guide summarizes the contingency programs that the major boat manufacturers are currently offering and you can see which one might be the best for you.

Phoenix First Flight

  • There are two tiers that determines eligibility for this contingency, depending on what tournament the angler is competing in.
  • Platinum package fee: $99
  • Silver package fee: $49
  • Phoenix Boats logo (12” x 1.75”) must be displayed on tournament shirt
  • Factory installed decals must be on the boat (38” length)
  • Phoenix Flight decal must be displayed on windshield of boat
  • Phoenix Boats decal must be displayed on vehicle

Tier 1: Must be an original owner

2020, 2021 & 2022 Model Year 2019 Model Year Boat & Motor
$7,000 $3,000 Phoenix Boat w/ 250 HP
$5,000 $2,000 Phoenix Boat w/ 225 HP
$3,000 $1,000 Phoenix Boat w/ 200 HP
$1,000 $500 Phoenix Boat w/ 175 HP or smaller

 

Tier 2: Any Phoenix Boat owner

Any Model Year                    Boat & Motor

$500                                        Phoenix Boat w/ 250 HP

$400                                        Phoenix Boat w/ 225 HP

$300                                        Phoenix Boat w/ 200 HP

$100                                        Phoenix Boat w/ 175 HP or smaller

  • For more information on which tournaments qualify for each tier visit the website.

 

Ranger Cup

  • There are 5 tiers for the Ranger Cup contingency, and all must have at least a 60-boat participating field.
  • No entry fee
  • This contingency has a list that can be viewed on the website.

 

Tier 1: $10,000 cash payout

    • 1st place winner
    • Bass Elite and Bass Pro Tour/MLF Cup Tournament Only
    • Confirm (60) participating boats
    • 2019-2022 year model boat
    • 200 h/p minimum

Tier 2: $7,000 cash payout

    • 1st place winner
    • Any Tournament on the list, minus the ones above
    • Confirm (60) participating boats
    • 2019-2022 year model boat
    • 200 h/p minimum

Tier 3: $1,000 cash payout

    • If (and only if) the first-place winner, does not meet requirements then, highest finishing Ranger Cup qualified angler will be eligible for a $500 cash payout.
    • Any Tournament on the list
    • Confirm (60) participating boats
    • 2019-2022 year model boat
    • 60-175 horsepower engine

Tier 4: $500 cash payout

    • If (and only if) the first-place winner, does not meet requirements then, highest finishing Ranger Cup qualified angler will be eligible for a $500 cash payout.
    • Any Tournament on the list, INCLUDING the ones above
    • Confirm (60) participating boats
    • 2019-2022 year model boat
    • A minimum of 60 h/p

Tier 5: $500 BPS/Cabela’s gift card

    • 1st place winner
    • Any Tournament on the list
    • Confirm (60) participating boats
    • 2011-2018 year model boat
    • No horse power requirement

 

Skeeter Yamaha Real Money

There are two tiers for the Skeeter/Yamaha contingency: (1) Bassmaster Elite Series and (2) Grassroots. There is a registration fee of $75.

Tier 1: Bassmaster Elite Series Payout

  • $10,000 reward for winning the Bassmaster Classic
  • $5,000 reward for winning an Elite Series event
  • $1,000 reward for anglers 2nd through 10th place

Tier 2: Grassroots Payout

  • $5,000 reward for winning if running a 225 horsepower Yamaha or more
  • $500 reward for winning if running a 200 horsepower Yamaha or less
  • This contingency has a list that can be viewed on the website.

 

Triton Gold

  • There are 5 tiers for the Triton Gold contingency, and all must have at least a 60-boat participating field.
  • No entry fee
  • This contingency has a list that can be viewed on the website.

 

Tier 1: $10,000 cash payout

    • 1st place winner
    • Bass Elite and Bass Pro Tour/MLF Cup Tournament Only
    • Confirm (60) participating boats
    • 2019-2022 year model boat
    • 200 h/p minimum

Tier 2: $7,000 cash payout

    • 1st place winner
    • Any Tournament on the list, minus the ones above
    • Confirm (60) participating boats
    • 2019-2022 year model boat
    • 200 h/p minimum

Tier 3: $1,000 cash payout

    • If (and only if) the first-place winner, does not meet requirements then, highest finishing Triton Gold qualified angler will be eligible for a $500 cash payout.
    • Any Tournament on the list
    • Confirm (60) participating boats
    • 2019-2022 year model boat
    • 60-175 horsepower engine

Tier 4: $500 cash payout

    • If (and only if) the first-place winner, does not meet requirements then, highest finishing Triton Gold qualified angler will be eligible for a $500 cash payout.
    • Any Tournament on the list, INCLUDING the ones above
    • Confirm (60) participating boats
    • 2019-2022 year model boat
    • A minimum of 60 h/p

Tier 5: $500 BPS/Cabela’s gift card

    • 1st place winner
    • Any Tournament on the list
    • Confirm (60) participating boats
    • 2011-2018 year model boat
    • No horse power requirement

 

Nitro/Tracker Bass Pro Shops Tournament Rewards

  • There are 5 tiers for the Nitro Tournament Rewards contingency, and all must have at least a 60-boat participating field.
  • No entry fee
  • This contingency has a list that can be viewed on the website.

 

Tier 1: $10,000 cash payout

    • 1st place winner
    • Bass Elite and Bass Pro Tour/MLF Cup Tournament Only
    • Confirm (60) participating boats
    • 2019-2022 year model boat
    • 200 h/p minimum

Tier 2: $7,000 cash payout

    • 1st place winner
    • Any Tournament on the list, minus the ones above
    • Confirm (60) participating boats
    • 2019-2022 year model boat
    • 200 h/p minimum

Tier 3: $1,000 cash payout

    • If (and only if) the first-place winner, does not meet requirements then, highest finishing Nitro Tournament Rewards qualified angler will be eligible for a $500 cash payout.
    • Any Tournament on the list
    • Confirm (60) participating boats
    • 2019-2022 year model boat
    • 60-175 horsepower engine

Tier 4: $500 cash payout

    • If (and only if) the first-place winner, does not meet requirements then, highest finishing Nitro Tournament Rewards qualified angler will be eligible for a $500 cash payout.
    • Any Tournament on the list, INCLUDING the ones above
    • Confirm (60) participating boats
    • 2019-2022 year model boat
    • A minimum of 60 h/p

Tier 5: $500 BPS/Cabela’s gift card

    • 1st place winner
    • Any Tournament on the list
    • Confirm (60) participating boats
    • 2011-2018 year model boat
    • No horse power requirement

 

Falcon High Flyers

  • The Falcon Boats contingency program requires a $100 annual registration fee.
  • Angler must wear Falcon shirt and/or Falcon hat during competition days to be eligible.
  • Must display Falcon decal on boat and tow vehicle.
  • Must display Falcon High Flyers Program decal on driver’s windshield or console
  • Any tournament that has a minimum field of 30 boats is fair game, except for MLF/BPT, Bassmaster Elite Series, FLW Pro Circuit, and The National Professional Fishing League.
  • Must win the tournament to be eligible
  • Winners can win up to $6,000 in one year.
  • 30-50 boats: $350
  • 51-80 boats: $550
  • 81-100 boats: $800
  • 101-150 boats: $2,000
  • 151 or more boats: $3,000
  • This contingency has a list that can be viewed on the website.

Bass Cat Quest

  • Quest Membership is open to all Bass Cat owners, no matter the age of the product
  • Original owner (2000 model year and later) No charge/Automatic QUEST activation
  • Original owner (1999 model year and earlier) One time $200 membership/warranty transfer fee
  • Used boat owner  (no product age limitations) One time $200 membership/warranty transfer fee
  • Tier 1 Win: 70+ boats: $7500 (Original owner 2019 model year and newer, with less than two years from date of original purchase)
  • Sanctioned event win: 100+ boats or 200+ anglers: $1000, 60+ boats or 120+ anglers: $500, 30+ boats or 60+ anglers: $250
  • Double-Up Win: 125+ boats or 250+ anglers: $2,000 (Double-Up meaning 2x the maximum winnings of a sanctioned event win if the tournament field exceeds 125 boats or 250 anglers.)
  • Split Decision Team Win 50% Bonus: Tier 1 Team Win: Up to $11,250. 100+ boats or 200+ anglers: $1.500: 60+ boats or 120+ anglers: $750: 30 +boats or 60 + anglers: $375.
  • Highest Finishing Top 20: Top 20 finish 125+ boats: $500. Top 20 finish 75-124 boats: $250
  • National & Regional College Win: Full Time Student GPA >3.0: $3,000 Full Time Student GPA > 2.5: $1,000
  • Non-Boater/Co-Angler Win: QUEST Co-Angler Win 125+ boats: $500, 85-125 boats $250
  • Some seldom known highlights are: 
  • A) It’s the only program that lets a collegiate or high school angler use Granddads’, or an Uncles boat for a season with no ownership.
  • B) It’s the only program the Co-Angler or team partner can split 150% of the level ($11,250 / 2 = $5,625 each) if both own qualifying boats.
  • C) it’s one of few you can sanction your local event if you choose.
  • View all of the details of the Bass Cat Quest contingency program on their website.

Vexus Rev Rewards

  • Must be registered prior to the event
  • Minimum of 50 boats (if less, payout will equal winning purse up to $1,000)
  • Must win the tournament to be eligible
  • If competing out of a VX/DVX model, qualifying first owner can receive payout equal to their winning purse up to $10,000 (qualifying second owner up to $5,000)
  • If competing out of an AVX/ADX model, qualifying first owner can receive payout equal to their winning purse up to $1,000 (qualifying second owner up to $500)
  • Qualifying second owner can claim a maximum of one victory per year
  • For more information about the sanctioned tournaments, the list can be viewed on the website.

 

Blazer Bucks

There are 3 tiers of anglers who can qualify for Blazer Bonus Bucks tournament rewards. To qualify, an angler must pay a $99 annual fee.

Tier 1: Pro

  • Angler who wins the sanctioned event in a 2018 or newer can win $5,000
  • Minimum of 60 boats
  • Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, MLF Pro Circuit, MLF Toyota Series, MLF Bass Pro Tour, The National Professional Fishing League

Tier 2: Trail Blazer

  • Angler who wins the sanctioned event in a 2018 or newer can win $2,000
  • Minimum of 60 boats
  • Visit the website for information on the list of tournaments

Tier 3: Weekend Warrior

  • Angler who wins a non-sanctioned event not listed in Tier 1 or Tier 2 can win $500
  • Minimum of 60 boats

 

Caymas Cash

There are 3 tiers of payouts in the Caymas Cash program. There is a $100 registration fee. For the list of qualifying tournaments in each tier, visit the website.

Tier 1: Platinum

  • $10,000 to the winner (must be the original owner of a Caymas boat)
  • 60 boats minimum

Tier 2: Silver

  • $7,000 to the winner (must be the original owner of a Caymas boat)
  • Boat must be powered by a Yamaha, Mercury, Evinrude, or Suzuki outboard
  • 60 boats minimum

Tier 3: Bronze

  • $500 to the winner (must be the original owner of a Caymas boat)
  • Boat must be powered by a Yamaha, Mercury, Evinrude, or Suzuki outboard
  • 30 boats minimum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you love to watch and learn from professional anglers on YouTube, this guide can quickly show which pro bass anglers have a YouTube channel in 2022.  If an angler has a channel listed you can click to go directly to their channel.

Pro Angler YouTube Channel Guide

 

 

 

 

 

Bassmaster Elite Series
Angler First Name Angler Last Name YouTube Link
Daisuke Aoki Inactive
Matt Arey Active Matt Arey Fishing
Justin Atkins Inactive
Todd Auten Inactive
Drew Benton Active The Cut Line
Stetson Blaylock Active Stetson Blaylock Fishing
Scott Canterbury Inactive
Brandon Card Inactive
Hank Cherry Jr Inactive
Jason Christie Active Jason Christie Fishing
Gary Clouse Inactive
Rick Clunn Active Rick Clunn
Brandon Cobb Inactive
Keith Combs Inactive
Drew Cook Active The Cut Line
John Cox Inactive
John Crews Jr Active John Crews 
Clent Davis Inactive
Greg DiPalma Active Greg DiPalma
Josh Douglas Active Josh Douglas Fishing
Bob Downey Active Bob Downey Fishing
Seth Feider Inactive
Austin Felix Inactive
Jacob Foutz Inactive
Marc Frazier Inactive
Micah Frazier Inactive
David Fritts Inactive
Darold Gleason Active Darold Gleason Fishing
Buddy Gross Inactive
Jeff Gustafson Active Jeff Gustafson
Greg Hackney Inactive
Skylar Hamilton Inactive
Justin Hamner Inactive
Ray Hanselman Jr Inactive
Jamie Hartman Inactive
Matt Herren Inactive
Derek Hudnall Active Derek Hudnall
Cody Huff Inactive
Mike Huff Inactive
Michael Iaconelli Active Mike Iaconelli Fishing
Takumi Ito Inactive
Carl Jocumsen Active Carl Jocumsen
Chris Johnston Inactive
Cory Johnston Inactive
Jonathan Kelley Active Jonathan Kelley Fishing
Steve Kennedy Inactive
Kenta Kimura Inactive
Koby Kreiger Inactive
Caleb Kuphall Inactive
Shane LeHew Inactive
Brandon Lester Active Brandon Lester Fishing
Lee Livesay Inactive
Wes Logan Active Wes Logan Fishing
Ed Loughran  III Inactive
Bill Lowen Inactive
Scott Martin Active Scott Martin 
Masayuki Matsushita Inactive
Mark Menendez Active MM Bass TV
Chad Morgenthaler Inactive
Brock Mosley Inactive
Paul Mueller Inactive
David Mullins Inactive
Bryan New Inactive
Brandon Palaniuk Active BMP Fishing
Luke Palmer Inactive
Chad Pipkens Inactive
Cliff Pirch Inactive
Jacob Powroznik Inactive
Cliff Prince Inactive
Jay Przekurat Inactive
KJ Queen Inactive
Alex Redwine Active Alex R Fishing
Tyler Rivet Inactive
Matt Robertson Inactive
Pat Schlapper Active Pat Schlapper Fishing
Bryan Schmitt Inactive
Bernie Schultz Inactive
Hunter Shryock Active Hunter Shryock Fishing
Josh Stracner Inactive
Caleb Sumrall Inactive
Gerald Swindle Active Gerald GMAN Swindle
Jesse Tacoronte Inactive
Frank Talley Inactive
Patrick Walters Inactive
Joseph Webster Inactive
Kyle Welcher Active Kyle Welcher
Clark Wendlandt Inactive
Brad Whatley Inactive
Jake Whitaker Inactive
David Williams Active David Williams Pro Fisherman
Jason Williamson Inactive
Matty Wong Inactive
Jay Yelas Inactive
Chris Zaldain Active Zaldaingerous

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bass Pro Tour
Angler First Name Angler Last Name YouTube Link
Casey Ashley Inactive
Adrian Avena Inactive
Josh Bertrand Inactive
Tommy Biffle Inactive
Zack Birge Active Zack Birge Fishing
Stephen Browning Inactive
Brent Chapman Active Brent Chapman Fishing
Luke Clausen Active Luke Clausen 
Dustin Connell Active DC Fishing
Brandon Coulter Inactive
Cliff Crochet Inactive
Mark Daniels Jr. Active Mark Daniels Jr
Mark Davis Active Mark Davis Bass Fishing Pro
Ott DeFoe Active Ott DeFoe
Boyd Duckett Inactive
David Dudley Active David Dudley Outdoors
Dakota Ebare Active Dakota Ebare Outdoors
Brent Ehrler Active Brent Ehrler
James Elam Inactive
Paul Elias Active Paul Elias 101
Edwin Evers Active Edwin Evers Fishing
Todd Faircloth Inactive
Cole Floyd Inactive
Shin Fukae Inactive
Anthony Gagliardi Inactive
Shaw Grigsby Inactive
Roy Hawk Inactive
Dylan Hays Inactive
Brett Hite Inactive
Timmy Horton Active Timmy Horton Outdoors
Randy Howell Active Randy Howell
Clabion Johns Inactive
Alton Jones Inactive
Alton Jones Jr. Active AJ Fishing
Kelly Jordon Inactive
Gary Klein Inactive
Jeff Kriet Inactive
Jason Lambert Inactive
Bobby Lane Inactive
Chris Lane Inactive
Russ Lane Inactive
Jeremy Lawyer Inactive
Jordan Lee Active Jordan Lee
Matt Lee Active mattleefishing
Dave Lefebre Active Dave Lefebre
Jared Lintner Inactive
Justin Lucas Active Justin Lucas Fishing
Mike McClelland Inactive
Cody Meyer Inactive
Ish Monroe Inactive
Andy Montgomery Inactive
Andy Morgan Inactive
John Murray Active John Murray Fishing
Britt Myers Inactive
Michael Neal Inactive
Takahiro Omori Inactive
Cliff Pace Active Cliff Pace Fishing
Keith Poche Active Keith Poche
Skeet Reese Active Skeet Reese Fishing
Marty Robinson Inactive
Dean Rojas Inactive
Mark Rose Active Rose Outdoors-Mark Rose
Fred Roumbanis Inactive
Bradley Roy Active Bradley Roy Fishing
Ryan Salzman Active Alabama Bass Guide
Terry Scroggins Inactive
Fletcher Shryock Inactive
Gerald Spohrer Active Gerald Spohrer Fishing
Jeff Sprague Inactive
Wesley Strader Active Wesley Strader
Scott Suggs Inactive
Randall Tharp Active Randall Tharp Fishing
Bryan Thrift Inactive
Kevin VanDam Active Kevin VanDam
Jonathan VanDam Inactive
Greg Vinson Active Greg Vinson
David Walker Inactive
James Watson Inactive
Jacob Wheeler Active Wheeler Fishing
Jesse Wiggins Active Jesse Wiggins Fishing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit
Angler First Name Angler Last Name YouTube Link
Shannon Abbott Inactive
Jason Abram Inactive
Barron Adams Inactive
Stephen Albertson Active Steve Albertson Fishing
Stuart Arthur Inactive
Tai Au Active Tai Au
Evan Barnes Inactive
Clayton Batts Inactive
Mickey Beck Inactive
Matt Becker Active Matt Becker Fishing
Jason Blair Inactive
Greg Bohannan Inactive
Terry Bolton Inactive
Josh Bragg Active Josh Bragg Fishing
Jeff Bridges Inactive
Aaron Britt Inactive
Grae Buck Active Grae Buck Fishing
Miles Burghoff Active Sonar Fishing
Josh Butler Inactive
Jon Canada Inactive
Keith Carson Inactive
Joey Cifuentes Active Joey Cifuentes Fishing
Ramie Colson Jr. Inactive
Justin Cooper Inactive
Kyle Cortiana Active Kyle Cortiana Fishing
John Cox Inactive
Mitch Crane Inactive
Lance Crawford Inactive
Alex Davis Active Alex Davis
Darrell Davis Inactive
Randy Despino Inactive
Tommy Dickerson Inactive
Scott Dobson Inactive
Phillip Dutra Inactive
Dakota Ebare Active Dakota Ebare Outdoors
Charlie Evans Inactive
Ron Farrow Inactive
Mark Fisher Inactive
Trevor Fitzgerald Inactive
Cole Floyd Inactive
Tim Frederick Inactive
Nick Gainey Inactive
Jacopo Gallelli Inactive
Grant Galloway Inactive
Kyle Gelles Inactive
Ricardo Gonzalez Inactive
Shonn Goodwin Active Shonn Goodwin Fishing
Matt Greenblatt Inactive
Christian Greico Active Christian Greico
Chad Grigsby Active Chad Grigsby Fishing
Chris Groh Active Chris Groh Fishing
Blake Hall Inactive
Kyle Hall Active Kyle Hall Fishing
Cole Harris Active TheCHamplainKid
Nick Hatfield Inactive
Dylan Hays Inactive
Cole Hewett Active Cole Hewett Fishing
Billy Hines Inactive
Brett Hite Inactive
Jamie Horton Inactive
Miles Howe Inactive
Randy Howell Active Randy Howell
John Hunter Active John Hunter Fishing
Charlie Ingram Inactive
Clabion Johns Inactive
Brad Knight Inactive
Takayuki Koike Inactive
Bobby Lane Inactive
Cal Lane Inactive
Chris Lane Inactive
Brian Latimer Active Brian Latimer
Nick Lebrun Active Nick LeBrun Bass Fishing
River Lee Inactive
Robby Lefere Active Robby Lefere Fishing
Jason Lieblong Inactive
Shane Lineberger Inactive
Andrew Loberg Inactive
Steve Lopez Inactive
Richard Lowitzki Inactive
Justin Lucas Active Justin Lucas Fishing
Terry Luedtke Inactive
Lendell Martin Jr Inactive
Michael Matthee Inactive
Cameron Mattison Inactive
Mike McClelland Inactive
Bill McDonald Active Bill McDonald Fishing
Jeff McLain Inactive
Brandon McMillan Inactive
Jared McMillan Inactive
Jason Meninger Inactive
Colby Miller Inactive
Kerry Milner Inactive
Kurt Mitchell Inactive
Tom Monsoor Inactive
Brandon Mosley Inactive
Jim Moynagh Active Moynagh Bass Fishes
Robert Nakatomi Inactive
Michael Neal Inactive
Corey Neece Inactive
Jimmy Neece Jr Inactive
Ron Nelson Inactive
Dickey Newberry Inactive
Andy Newcomb Inactive
James Niggemeyer Active James Niggemeyer Fishing
Larry Nixon Inactive
Lance Oligschlaeger Inactive
Eric Oliverson Active Eric Olliverson Fishing
Lane Olson Inactive
Jordan Osborne Inactive
Bruce Parsons Inactive
Dave Parsons Inactive
Cody Pike Inactive
Pete Ponds Inactive
Tom Redington Active Tom Redington
Matt Reed Inactive
Clark Rheem Active EliteAnglerAcademy
Jimmy Reese Inactive
Skeet Reese Active Skeet Reese Fishing
Jason Reyes Inactive
Jeff Reynolds Inactive
Darrel Robertson Inactive
Ricky Robinson Inactive
Mark Rose Active Rose Outdoors-Mark Rose
Rusty Salewske Inactive
Casey Scanlon Active Casey Scanlon Fishing
Colby Schrumpf Active Colby Schrumpf Fishing
Chase Serafin Inactive
Braxton Setzer Active Braxton Setzer 
Spencer Shuffield Active Spencer Shuffield Fishing
Blake Smith Inactive
Derrick Snavely Inactive
Matthew Stefan Active Matt Stefan Fishing
Tyler Stewart Inactive
Troy Stokes Inactive
Wesley Strader Active Wesley Strader
Laramy Strickland Inactive
Mike Surman Inactive
Randall Tharp Active Randall Tharp Fishing
Scott Towry Inactive
Rusty Trancygier Inactive
J Todd Tucker Inactive
Jim Tutt Inactive
Jason Vance Inactive
Martin Villa Inactive
John Voyles Active John Voyles Fishing
David Walker Inactive
Jacob Wall Active JacobWallFishing
Todd Walters Active Todd Walters Fishing
Chad Warren Inactive
Jimmy Washam Active Jimmy Washam Fishing
Joshua Weaver Active Joshua Weaver Fishing
Mitchell Webb Inactive
Kyle Weisenburger Active Kyle Weisenburger
Joe Weiberg Inactive
Scott Wiley Inactive
Tyler Woolcott Active Tyler Woolcott
Gary Yamamoto Inactive
Steve York Inactive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you need to know to be the best co-angler to increase your success in tournaments? Maybe you just started fishing tournaments or have only fished with friends before. You signed up for boater, co-angler tournaments this year and want to know what to expect.  This guide gives you all the suggestions to make sure your tournament day goes as well as possible.

These suggestions are important to ensure your day is a success as you are entering someone else’s boat, which can be the same as entering their house in some cases. The boater has spent a lot of money and time to acquire his boat and most certainly has strong feelings about it. Preparing and planning ahead with these tips in mind will make sure it goes well.  These recommendations were compiled from hundreds of days on the water fishing with numerous different boaters.

Rod and reels, tackle bag and a bag of ice

Be on time

  • There is nothing more frustrating as a boater than to have to wait on a late co-angler, so please do your best to be on time if not early at the agreed meeting location. Write down the designated meeting time or save it as a note in your phone of when and where.

Boat rules

  • Always a good idea to ask the boater if he has any “pet peeves” or boat rules. The simple gesture is a good way to start out the day and makes a good ice breaker. Some boaters will be very specific with how they want things in their boat and others might have very few preferences. Asking first thing in the morning will make it clear for you. The way to find out about “unwritten rules” is to ask right away.

Pay your way

  • As you know, a day on the water is not free and a boat doesn’t run on “Thanks”. So, make sure you offer at least $40 toward the day’s expenses and consider more if your boater makes a very long run or incurs higher expenses in making your day successful.

Parking

  • When parking the boater’s rig please be sure to be extremely careful. Backing and maneuvering a new rig can be a challenge for anyone to get used to a new truck brand and using different mirrors. If you are inexperienced backing, try to get some practice ahead of time in the dark. Backing in the dark with a long line of boats waiting can add a lot of pressure to your first backing experiences.   If any accident occurs, please let your boater know immediately upon returning to the boat. Are the lights on “auto” or do you need to turn them off manually? Don’t walk away from the truck until all the lights turn off. Headlights off are easy to see, but are the running lights or a dome light still on? Make sure, as returning in the afternoon to a dead battery can cause real hassles. Triple check you have the keys before you hit the lock button. Also, when walking back to the dock to get picked up by your boater, make sure you take the driest path possible.  Walking thru fresh cut grass, wet sand or dirt can quickly make a mess of a boat when stepping in and get the relationship with your boater off to a rough start.

Be ready to go

  • When the boater says he is ready to move spots please be ready to go as well. Try not to have a lot of things to put away before the boat can get on plane. Over the course of a day this can waste valuable time and make the boater resent you for taking too long to be ready.
  • One good rule of thumb is to try to be the first one to sit down when leaving a spot and the last one to stand up when you get to the spot.

Rods and tackle

  • Try not to bring too many rods or too much tackle. The boater should tell you what to expect for the day so try to keep your load as light as possible.
  • If the boater, ask you to bring or do something specific please try to conform with that as it will only help you both have a successful day (applies to shared weight format).

Netting and landing Fish

  • It’s also a good idea to have a brief conversation about how the boater prefers to net/land the fish. Guys do things differently and it’s good to know what to do and expect regarding this before something bad happens.

Fish in the live well

  • As a co-angler you don’t want to be the reason for a disaster happening with a fish jumping out of the live well. So, try to refrain from opening the live well unless the boater ask you to check on this fish and even when he does please pay attention and be ready for a fish possibly trying to jump out.

Casting angles and snags

  • There will be times during any day where you might be in a difficult position to cast. Stay positive and make the most of what you have. Keep your lure in the water even if that means casting to the middle of the lake. Make sure your casts do not interfere or cross over the line of your boater’s cast. A good rule of thumb is to not cast in front of the consoles unless the boater tells you to do so.  Also, try to keep your casts in the direction the boat is going this will make getting snagged lures more efficient.  If you repeatedly make long casts behind the boat in the opposite direction and get snagged you better be prepared to break off as the boater will quickly tire of going backwards multiple times. Be prepared to lose some lures, if it is a simple jighead or Texas rig, just break it off.  If it is a more expensive or exclusive rig, tell your boater right away you are snagged and ask him to “please help you get it” as soon as you are snagged instead of waiting until you move further away from it.  It can also be a good idea to carry a simple lure retriever like a Pocket Whopper with you. It has a low cost, works quickly and is easy to store for non-boaters.

Need a seat?

  • If you would like a seat in the back of the boat, please don’t forget to remind the boater to bring the seat for the day of fishing. Often times they don’t keep them in the boat so a simple reminder could make sure you have a comfortable day on the water.

Drinks

  • Please try to refrain from bringing giant bottles of whatever you like to drink. Bottle sizes should be 12oz or less to allow the boater to have enough room for all the drinks and snacks that must go inside the cooler. Boat coolers full of ice don’t work well with large water bottles if you want to keep it cold. Never hurts to ask the night before also if your boater wants you to bring a bag of ice.

Things to bring

  • Don’t forget the important items that will help you have a comfortable day on the water. These items are but not limited to:
  1. Valid Fishing License
  2. Life jacket.  Do not assume your boater has one, bring one with you.
  3. Hat
  4. Sunglasses
  5. Buff/Sun Protection
  6. Snacks

Leave your fishing area clean

  • This applies to during and after the day of fishing. If you re-tie or get out more things, put them away when complete.  This helps with the ability to be ready to move to the next spot quickly. If the boater does allow you to use a back compartment, make sure you don’t leave it filled with trash when you remove your belongings at the end of the day.

 Don’t step on the seats in the boat

  • Every boat manufacturer has some sort of true step to get you to the back of the boat. Make sure that’s the only place you are stepping when accessing the back of the boat. Also, when you are accessing the back compartment try to refrain from putting your knee or weight in the middle of the seat as that’s how the seats get torn or seems come apart.

 Rigs for success

  • Shaky head, ned rigs, sticks and small swimbaits can be a great way to catch fish at any time of the year for any angler in the back of the boat. If your boater doesn’t provide a lot of information about what to expect for the next day these proven tactics can work anywhere and get bites in difficult conditions.

Be the extra pair of eyes

  • When you are running on plane please assist the boater by looking out for any hazards that might occur. Even if he might already know about it or see it, it never hurts to be sure. Floating logs, ropes or nets can quickly end a day and often are low to the water and very hard to see. Four eyes are better than two, so treat the runs like you are driving and keep your eyes on the watch.  Watch for other boats coming up from the sides that might be in the blindspot.  It can also be a good idea to look behind you occasionally on longer runs and let the boater know if faster boats are approaching.  That information can be very helpful to the boater as he plans turns or takes corners.

Fishing information

  • It is never okay to tell your next day boater where you fished the day before because that could lead to you being in an uncomfortable situation if your next day boater takes you to that spot and your previous day boater is already there. Just because a boater brings you to a successful area does not mean you have the right to return on your own or in a different tournament. Respect his water and the effort he put into find the fish. An angler may spend 20 years learning a body of water thru time on the water, you might learn about that spot in 10 minutes, so respect the places you are taken and shown the same way you want anglers to respect your efforts.

Positive attitude

  • A positive attitude can go a long way on making a day successful. Every cast counts and it is a long day, you most likely won’t have equal opportunity so be prepared for that. You might fish seven hours with no success and then catch your limit in 15 minutes. The end of the day is just as important as the start and the boater will relax when he starts to catch some fish or finishes his limit. This will open things up for you and give you better opportunities. In tournaments like the Bassmaster Opens the limit is three fish, so there will likely be a window during the day for you to get that filled. Shared weight formats also can help you work together better. Relax, have fun, work together and try to make a new friend.  Experienced anglers can be a great network for you in the future as you look to advance your fishing level and meet more people in the fishing industry.

Be flexible, throw something different

  • Your boater will have a plan for what he is going throw, be flexible and throw something different. It is easy after a couple of fish catches by your boater to want to throw the same bait, but throwing some different will often allow you to target different fish that your boater’s technique.  It will also help you work together as a team and develop other ways to catch fish in that area.

Smoking/chewing tobacco

  • This should ALWAYS be discussed the night before because a lot of Pro’s don’t allow smoking or chewing tobacco on their boat.

Dipping Dye

  • Most Pro’s frown upon it. If you want to die a bait, try using the Pen type application. If you are using the Pen type, please don’t color a bait on the guys carpet or anywhere in the boat. Use one of your tackle boxes to lay your bait on to color it.

Special Needs

  • If you have any special needs, please be sure to let the boater know ahead of time.

 

If you are looking for more great information on how to be the best co-angler, pro angler Bradley Hallman has a very helpful video from his years of experience fishing with co-anglers across the country. Follow these suggestions and you will have a great day on the water with your boater no matter how many fish you catch.

 

 

The Ultimate Guide on How to Get Fishing Sponsors-Updated June 18, 2020

If you are looking to become a sponsored fisherman, this ultimate guide will help you get started.  Learn how to find fishing sponsorship opportunities and make yourself stand for the best chance to be sponsored by your favorite brands.  This guide contains expert perspective from people that have spent years managing field staffs and pro staffs for numerous brands in the fishing industry. This ultimate guide will explain all the levels of sponsorships and give you suggestions for getting started and advancing to higher levels with brands you aspire to work with.  These suggestions will work for bass, walleye or crappie anglers.

Fishing sponsorships have changed radically in the past three years.  Companies used to only measure an angler by the totality of their tournament resume.  Top tournament anglers spent decades practicing, competing and learning techniques across the country in order to succeed.  Products sold because an angler won a tournament, and everyone wanted to know what that angler was using, which drove product sales.  Those write ups came weeks or even months after the event in print magazines.  The most successful anglers could also impact sales beyond tournament finishes.  Public speaking and working with media to write articles rose in importance and changed the way brands valued anglers.  The most valuable anglers were successful in tournaments and equally successful off the water with media.  The past five years have seen the largest changes in the fishing industry take place.  Globally, media and the consumption of media have changed forever.  Information is now available instantly in a much wider range of platforms.  The changing landscape of media has seen many traditional print and television platforms erode while the explosion of numerous new platforms have arrived.

The past few years have seen these changes accelerate, as platforms like Instagram and YouTube have given anglers the ability to reach large audiences outside of a tournament finish, television appearance, print or other traditional media outlet.  No longer was it required to win or finish high in several tournaments to gain sponsorship with a brand.   In some cases, you don’t even need to be a fishing expert any longer to be an influencer and impact sales in today’s world.  Long time touring pros are seeing their contracts being cut in some cases and those funds are being re-directed to influencers from Instagram and YouTube.  Successful brands like Googan and Tactical Bassin used their popularity with YouTube and social media to influence product sales and even launch their own branded products, racking up impressive sales across the country.  Their reach and influence far exceed that of all but a few of the most successful pro anglers or fishing television celebrities.

To start off, let’s first take a basic look at the different levels of sponsorship for a better understanding.  Anglers can start at the lower levels and progress up or they may build a successful platform and enter at a high level from the beginning.  Different opinions exist as to what defines a “professional angler” and it is often not cut and dry.  Traditionally, only anglers fishing Tour level tournaments or those with television programs were making all or considerable parts of their income from the fishing industry.  Today, more anglers that have never fished at a Tour level or been on television are gaining considerable income from the industry.

High school/college programs- Many companies offer discount programs to scholastic anglers allowing them to buy products at 30%-50% discount from retail pricing.  B.A.S.S., FLW and Collegiate Bass Championship all offer scholastic tournaments and coordinate discount programs for anglers competing in their trails.  Student anglers can also reach out to brands directly and ask them if they offer a purchase program for students.

Field Staffer- Often there are two levels of field staffer, the first level involves the angler receiving a discount to purchase product they use.  That discount is usually 40%-50% discount from the retail pricing.  Ever notice a company that has thousands of anglers on their field staff, it is because they offer a discount to any angler that contacts them about sponsorships.  An angler is really just a customer buying at a discount at this level as many companies use this program to launch their brand before they are able to get a lot of retail stores to stock their products.  Other companies are selective and pick only a small amount of the applicants for their field staff.  They strive to pick out who they feel are the most qualified candidates to help build their brand.  The second level at this tier is receiving a budgeted amount of free product for their use.  Some anglers may also be receiving unlimited free product.

Regional competitor- Anglers at these levels may be competing across a state or even across multiple states in a region.  They can be fishing team tournaments or boater/co-angler tournaments and often times a combination of both.  There are a number of great trails for anglers to fish at this level on a regional basis like Alabama Bass Trail, Texas Team Trail, Anglers in Action, Nichols Team Trail team tournaments.  Boater/co-angler examples include trails like ABA and BFL .   Anglers at this level can be receiving product discounts, free product and cash sponsorships in some cases.

Opens and Toyota Series- Until 2020, these trails were the stepping-stone to the two major tournament organizations B.A.S.S. and FLW.  With the acquisition of FLW by Major League Fishing, they have now made the FLW Pro Circuit the entry point for the Bass Pro Tour.  Many of the anglers in Opens and Toyota Series expect to start being paid for sponsorships to support their career at the next level.  This is typically where paid sponsorships start for an angler to support a brand with his jersey or boat wrap.  There are still many anglers at this level that are only receiving product support.  The FLW Pro Circuit changing from the top level of FLW to a qualifying series for the Bass Pro Tour, caused many anglers to leave the FLW Pro Circuit to fish other tournaments like the Opens.

FLW Pro Circuit- Anglers at this level expect to have paying sponsors and boat wrap deals.  Title sponsorships and boat wraps can garner $30,000+ annual income, but there are still many anglers that do not have paying sponsorships at this level.

Tour Level Pro- The departure of 67 anglers from the Elite Series to the Bass Pro Tour created many opportunities for anglers from the Opens or FLW to move to the Elite Series in 2019.  While a third high level competitive trail created more opportunities for anglers it also made it more challenging for anglers to find paying sponsors.  Brands in the industry did not increase their annual marketing budgets in many cases, so more anglers were now competing for the same amount of paying sponsors.  Most brands focus their sponsorship dollars on the Eltie Series or Bass Pro Tour and many brands have had long term relationships with a number of those anglers.  Non-endemics most often come into play at this level and can land anglers up to six figure sponsorship deals.  Monthly contracts often range in the $300-$1500 a month level for anglers to promote a specific brand with title deals going much higher.  While there are now a combined 167 anglers competing at this level, not all are fishing “full time”.  Several anglers at this level still have other jobs or own a business they run when not competing.

With a quick summary of the levels of sponsorship, let’s turn our attention back to you.  Start by defining what your goals are?  Are you just looking to work with companies to receive free products or discounts or are you looking to advance into a career in professional fishing or influence?  Starting with what your goals are is the best place to begin in order to plan your progress.  An example is If you are only planning to fish at a local or regional level the odds of you having a high number of paying sponsors are pretty small.  There are more anglers than ever before looking for sponsorships and brands are being bombarded with sponsorships requests.  In reality, most of them have fixed marketing budgets every year and already have a number of anglers on staff.  They are not looking to add a larger number of new anglers every year.

How should you get started?  Identify brands you use frequently because you like or believe in their products.  It may also be a company you like because of what they stand for.  They may support conservation or donate portions of their proceeds to help fisheries.  Make a list of those companies that you would want to partner with. It is often better to have a few very good relationships with companies rather than a large number of relationships that are not personal and are just product discounts.  An application listing more sponsors than Kevin VanDam can raise red flags to field staff managers and indicate that you are just a person that wants discounts.   Now plan to contact them in a way that will make you stand out.  The #1 key every company is looking for is local people that can help them sell more product.  You need to explain quickly and effectively how you can do that for them.

99% of the people start their search for sponsorship by emailing or applying on the brand website.  Emailing the company contact or pro staff page is lazy, unless you want to just be a customer buying at a discount.  To increase your chances of getting out of this group of everyone else you are going to have to differentiate yourself.  99% of these emails all say similar things.  “I love your products, I have used them for a long time and I am fishing this tournament trail this year.  I will promote your products on my social media, my YouTube channel I just started and, on my boat, truck and jersey”.  Want to increase your odds of standing out, tell the brand specifically how you can sell products for them.  Ask for a personal contact you can reach out to or schedule a call with.  There is often a specific person responsible for managing the field staff.  These people are generally very busy, so be prepared for that call and tell them very quickly and specifically how you can sell products for them locally where you live.  Make a short presentation or video showing them the specific ways you can impact their sales.  Don’t just say I will get you lots of exposure with my jersey and social media.  Rather than telling them how you will promote, tell them how you will sell their products.  Be specific with what you expect in return, state that you would like to start with a discount to purchase products and hopefully move to some free product in the future with good performance.  Get started with a brand and show them how much you can help them in your local area.  Most anglers apply and don’t hear anything back, so they just stop or email another company.  Some brands receive hundreds of this type application every single week. You will need to make yourself stand out to get noticed.  Did you know some companies wait for people to apply or contact them multiple times before considering them to make sure they are serious about being part of the team? The best salesman often hears “no” several times before closing the deal, you should expect to hear “no” at first also.  Many anglers simply email 20 companies in one night all with the same generic email with only the brand name changed.  Many anglers will list their current sponsors on their application to a new company.  Make sure your current sponsors do not have competing products to the company you are applying to.  If you list a clothing company as a sponsor and are applying to another clothing company it will be an instant “red flag” to the new brand.  The clothing brands may be in different markets or segments of the outdoor industry, but it will be an instant concern to the person reviewing the application, unless you fully explain the situation.  If you are looking to switch from one company to another company with similar products, then you should sever ties with the current company rather than list them as a current sponsor hoping you can easily switch.

Get even more specific and tell them how you will impact sales at a local store with their products.  At the same time, create a relationship with that local store and help them sell those products by offering to help at promotions or sport shows.  Provide a local fishing report for the store and highlight products in that store that are catching fish locally including the brand you are wanting to promote.  Send them fish pictures or short stories they can use on their website or social media that can help them provide content to their customers.  Go a step further and find the local sales rep for that area.  These sales reps will really support people that sell products in their areas.  They often have direct input into what anglers are on the field staff for a brand.  A good relationship with them will go a long way in helping you secure a sponsorship with a brand.  A good recommendation from a local dealer and a company sales rep can secure many sponsorships for you.  It can be very beneficial to you in the process if a dealer recommends you ahead of your application.   If you don’t make it this year and you are passionate about the brand, don’t give up.  Thank them for the consideration and tell them you would like to continue to help the brand with their permission in any way possible.  Check back frequently and let them you are still interested in the brand and willing to help in any way.  A common mistake many anglers often make in their applications when listing their social media accounts is that all their accounts are private, so the manager can not even view what you are posting.  If you want to be sponsored your accounts are going to have to be public, one so managers can review your posting history and two, so they know you will have an influence on as large a group of people as possible.

Now that you got accepted by the brand make yourself stand out.  Many people at this level, get accepted order their free product and barely talk with the brand the rest of the year.  Set a regular communication level with the brand you are working with.  Don’t wait a year to send them a summary when you are ready to order product again.  If you want to advance communication is the key.  No good brand is going to send a lot of product to an angler to start.  They are going to expect them to earn it with proven performance.  Drop them an email with an update on your activities on a regular schedule.  Email them with reports from your area. What is selling well, what is not?  Competitor brands or products that may be doing well.  A quick picture from a store in that area showing the brand products.  Show the brand specific ways you are creating sales in your area for their products.  Schedule a training session at a local retailer to teach their staff about the brand’s products and send a report back to your contact or local sales rep with pictures.

Just fishing tournaments is no longer enough to get a brand’s attention.  Today’s pro staff managers are looking for anglers that use social media or YouTube effectively.  Start your social media or YouTube channel and make content that is interesting or useful.  All brands care about social media, video and YouTube.  If you are not good at those platforms personally, you can still provide value by being willing to supply lots of pictures and content that can be used on social media.  With the capabilities of today’s modern phones, anyone can quickly take good pictures and videos and submit them to a brand in seconds.

Content.  Every brand is looking for more content every day. Learn to take good pictures, make short videos, write blogs, make graphics or social posts with the brand products and send to them on a regular basis.  If you want to advance to the next level where you could be considered for a paid position, you are going to have to stand out at this level as most anglers never get past here.

Communication and hard work are keys.  Most anglers want to be paid a lot first and then claim they will do a lot to help a brand.  Take the opposite approach to stand out by doing a lot first.  Ask about marketing related projects you can help with.  Many of these managers are busy and welcome help.

What skills do you have that would best help you stand out?  If you have great speaking skills, look to do seminars.  If you prefer social media offer to help companies with social media.  Leverage your personal strengths to give you the best chance to reach your goals.  Work hard at each level, be consistent and communicate more than you think you should.  Continue to work on relationships with the local retailers, sales rep and company staff.  When you reach the next level with a brand keep doing the same things and over deliver what you said you would do. The fishing industry is relatively small

One of the most successful television celebrities and decorated anglers of all time recently started a YouTube at age 70.  Roland Martin has a television and tournament career that is unmatched, yet he recently started a YouTube channel to reach new audiences and match the way anglers now want to consume fishing information.  It is never too late to start a new platform or adjust to the changing media landscape.

You also want to think about the size of the brand you are applying to when planning your sponsor list.  A small company may have limited positions available and a limited budget for anglers.  Keep that in mind as you apply and tell them specifically how you can help.  You may also be dealing with the company owner in many cases, which provides a great chance to stand out quickly.  In contrast, when applying to a large company they are probably receiving hundreds of applicants.  While they may have larger marketing budgets there will also be many more people competing for those same positions, so making yourself stand out is even more important.

This ultimate guide to sponsorship will help you in the process of obtaining and keeping sponsors within the fishing industry and beyond.  Utilize these core principles to define your sponsorship journey and help determine what areas of promotion you can best utilize to show potential sponsors your worth.  While there are always exceptions to the rules, following this guide will certainly assist you along the way in your journey to obtain and maintain sponsors.