July is a really exciting month for me. I’m not out on the water fishing but I am doing fishing related stuff. That’s an important part of my job. I like to think of my career as a labor of love, with as much emphasis on labor as on love.
In a few days I’ll be appearing at the Tennessee Valley Hunting & Fishing Expo in Huntsville, Alabama. I’m really looking forward to doing it.
One reason has nothing to do with fishing. I get to meet and talk with Jep and Jessica Robertson from Duck Dynasty. How cool is that?
More importantly, it’s a chance to meet other anglers and share experiences with them. A lot of guys think that when a pro angler speaks at one of these things the information only flows one way. That’s far from the truth.
It is true that I pass along some of the things that I’ve learned about how to find and catch bass. It’s also true that I learn a lot. The questions that are asked, and the comments some of the men and women make, often give me a new perspective on things. Fishing knowledge isn’t confined to a handful of pros.
The fact that it’s fun doesn’t make it any less of a job.
What I mean when I say that is that you have to work hard to make a successful show presentation. You don’t just get out of bed, take a shower, and start talking from up on a stage. To do it right you have to think about what topics are useful to your crowd — that often depends upon when and where you’re speaking — and you have to present the information in an organized and logical manner.
The other thing that makes the experience of an Expo so rewarding is that it gives me a chance to work with my sponsors. Working as a team, we can promote existing products, brainstorm about new ones and help other anglers use their products more effectively. That’s what a sponsor relationship is all about.
I’m especially excited about the new Mustang inflatable PFD, the new baits from Luck “E” Strike and some new electronics from Raymarine. I think they’ll all be in the New Product Showcase at ICAST next week.
The final thing I love about Expos — of course, that includes ICAST — is that I get to see what’s new in our business. These shows are a learning opportunity for me. I’ve never been to one that I didn’t leave with a useful idea or product.
The bottom line out of all this is that professional fishing is a wonderful way to earn a living. I love almost all of it. But it isn’t an easy way to earn a living. For most of us, the prize money isn’t enough. The competition is too tough. Everybody wants a share of them, and they’re willing to work to get their share.
I don’t suppose that’s any different from any other job. It’s pretty hard to earn a good living without putting in the time and the effort.