This past weekend as the River Valley filled up with professional anglers from throughout the United States, there is no doubt that their single most important objective is to catch fish. The idea is to have a good tournament, catch lots of fish, hopefully, pick up a paycheck, and then move on to the next event.
Sounds kind of glamorous, but for those who do it as their sole means of making a living and providing for their families, it is a lot of hard work.
To the casual observer, we envision fishing as something to do after work or maybe even a tournament or two of our own on the weekend. This is not the case for the best of the best. It is hopping from motel to motel and fishing from daylight to dark. It can be fun, but it is still a job requiring long hours and lots of work.
When tournament anglers are not fishing they are preparing to fish. Packing gear, rigging tackle, taking care of personal business, laundry, fixing problems, and lots of travel and planning are just a few of the daily activities of a professional fisherman.
At the professional level, each angler has sponsors. Some more than others, but each requires anglers to put in time working for them in return for their sponsorship. Speaking engagements, seminars, and working trade shows, and vendor tents are just a few of the obligations anglers have.
I don’t know about you, but if I fish in a tournament Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and don’t make the cut to fish the weekend, my number one goal would be to go home or move on to the next event. Not these guys, when they do have a bad tournament and fail to make the cut, their sponsors expect them to work their displays, meet and greet fans, and sign lots of autographs.
There are now numerous professional fishing leagues and various circuits that on any given weekend even some of the most recognizable anglers in the world compete in and you may even cross paths with some of them.
Just the past weekend my good friend Zach King of Clarksville broke through and won the Toyota Series Event on Lake Dardanelle taking home $40,000 in prize money for his efforts.
King, like many others in our great state, has the ability to hit the road and do it every weekend, but he also has a day job and makes the absolute most of his fishing abilities whenever he can. They do not call him the King of Dardanelle for nothing.
Yes, I am a little bit partial, but the majority of fishermen are some of the nicest and most caring people in the world and when they are not busy will help you in any way they can.
So, if you have stars in your eyes and you are thinking about making the leap to touring pro, be sure to visit with some of these folks and understand all that it entails before starting your journey.
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