The business side of this sport

Has this ever been a busy week! I’ve been working on nailing down all my sponsorship deals as well as making travel and lodging plans for next year. I’m glad I have all this stuff to do — not having it would be worse — but it can still be a hassle. I’d rather be fishing.

I appreciate my sponsors, though. Without exception they’re good people. Without them my fishing life wouldn’t be half as much fun as it is now, or half as successful. On some level they make it all possible. Let’s put it this way: I’ve fished without sponsors and I’ve fished with sponsors. With sponsors is better.

The travel is something else. I’ll be fishing 18 professional tournaments in 2013 including the 2013 Bassmaster Classic, eight Elite Series events and three Southern Opens. That’s a lot of motel rooms and travel arrangements, especially when you have a big family like mine with everything having to be scheduled and coordinated to make it work.

If you stop and think about it, I have to schedule at least 50 nights in motels and campgrounds for next year. And sometimes I don’t really know how long I’ll be there. You’d like to think you’ll make every cut but realistically that’s not going to happen. And you don’t know which ones will be which. So, while you’re reserving rooms and camping spots you have to remain flexible.

It was easier before the kids went to school but now we have to look at academic schedules and extracurricular activities as everything is being put together. It’s wonderful to have the family with me when I’m fishing but sometimes that’s just not possible.

I mean, you have to take a dozen factors into consideration before you pick up the phone. I certainly don’t want to leave them out but, at the same time, I don’t want to make something impossible for them either. It’s about being fair to everyone.

Despite the work involved I have to say that it’s kind of like the sponsor thing — a labor of love. I wouldn’t trade them for all the world and I wouldn’t trade what I’m doing for all the world, either. It’s a matter of putting everything together so that it works.

Some of the guys seem to be able to do this on the fly. All I can say is that I can’t do it that way. I have to have some idea of what’s around the corner. I suppose that’s what makes us all different, isn’t it? Some guys do it one way and some do it another way. Anyway, I’ll get it done. I have no choice. The alternative is to sleep in my truck, and that’s not going to happen.

We had a great Thanksgiving, good food and good company. I hope you can say the same thing. Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that you remember for years and years. Now we’ll all have to start looking towards Christmas — in between fishing trips.

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