By Steve Graf
There are old sayings, “If you look good, you’ll play good” or “You only play as good as you look.” These sayings have been heard in the sports and business world for decades. To be a great salesman or a great player, it’s mentally important to look good. Today’s professional bass fishermen have definitely cornered the market on self-promotion and looking great. From their truck and boat wraps to their fancy fishing jerseys, today’s pro anglers know how to look good.
Let’s start with the jersey. Anglers today are literally advertising icons as they walk around with all their sponsor logos on their fishing outerwear. It has been this way since it all began in the late 1960’s as anglers back then wore the old jump suits with sewn on patches. Then someone thought of the idea to sew these patches on a sleeveless vest, which not only looked good, but was more comfortable to wear. Today’s anglers are wearing state of the art performance dye-sublimated shirts with every inch of their jersey covered in sponsor logos. These multi-colored shirts are made with built in UV protective sunscreen that’s designed to keep a fisherman both cool and dry.
If there’s one thing the FLW organization revealed to the professional angler, it was how to look good while tournament fishing. FLW introduced us to the fancy boat and truck wraps you see today navigating across our lakes and up and down the highways of America. These rolling billboards are easy to spot and there’s no mistaking who they are. Don’t forget, anglers eat up all the attention they get when they pull into a gas station or pull up at a boat ramp. This attention gives them that rock star feeling that we all crave. Also understand, these rolling billboards have a purpose…to bring as much attention as possible to the angler’s sponsors. Every logo on each boat and truck is strategically placed based on how much the sponsor is willing to pay. If sponsors want to be on the hood….they’ll pay a premium price. But if they are okay with being on the lower left fender, they’ll pay a lot less.
You see, FLW took notes from NASCAR back in the 1990’s and decided to follow the same format for advertising. But FLW took it a step further by placing coordinated wraps on both the boat and the truck pulling it, giving the sponsor more bang for their buck. This is also a way for the professional angler to supplement his income. Every year anglers are on the phone or knocking on doors during the offseason, trying to convince companies to be a part of their sponsorship package. This is not just income for the angler, but it also helps pay for their entry fees for whatever circuit they are fishing. Some of this money is used for hotel accommodations, as well as food, while they are on the road.
This promotional advertising system has gotten the attention of many young high school and college anglers all across America. Young people today love the flashy, fancy, good looking fishing jerseys. It’s one reason why so many anglers have taken an interest in bass fishing. And again, “If you look good, you’ll play good.” So, the next time you’re at a professional bass tournament, you’ll understand the reason for the boat and truck wraps and the fancy fishing jerseys; it’s sponsor recognition, which allows anglers to fish at the highest level. Till next time, good luck, good fishing and don’t forget to set the hook.