An Insider, Business Owner’s Perspective

Captain Wayne Carpenter, fishing information expert and bass fishing guide.
Captain Wayne Carpenter

Now that we’re at the tail end of the unofficial sponsorship season (roughly October through March), many of the techniques and approaches to gaining a sponsorship are still fresh in my mind. Over the years, I’ve been able to help many anglers to expand on their opportunities. If you are looking to be sponsored, there may be something in this article for you.


Some anglers with the most success have gone this route. They approach the sport from a business perspective and develop quality relationships over the long haul. It starts with an introduction by a friend, a phone call or email. Over the years, the angler makes themselves available to support the business. If the business has a staffing or logistics problem, the angler will devote time to solve it. This will get the attention of any good potential sponsor. Submitting regular, written reviews on the company’s product and the success it has brought is a clear signal to the potential sponsor that the angler is ready to represent the product on a higher level.


This is probably the most obvious route that anglers recognize. They get a big tournament win under their belts, then go sponsor shopping. This approach works because the angler has immediate, positive exposure. The opportunity doesn’t come along very often however. If the angler was wearing the logo of the sponsor when they got up on stage for the weigh-in and photo op, the chances for sponsorship go way up. This is especially true if the angler mentions the way a product helped them secure the win.

Big Win Story…

Xtreme Bass Tackle's Great Lakes Craw tube
Xtreme Bass Tackle’s Great Lakes Craw tube

I’m sitting at my desk one summer morning and the phone rings. “Do you have Great Lakes Craw?”, the person asks. I place the order then hang up. A few minutes later another call, and another order for Great Lakes Craw. About a half an hour later I get another call from one of my regular customers for the same. This is becoming too much of a coincidence. I ask, “Why Great Lakes Craw?” and he says, “Didn’t you see it on” He goes on to tell me how Paul Hirosky won a Bassmaster Northern Open on Lake Erie and said his key to victory was the Xtreme Bass Tackle tube, Great Lakes Craw. I had never met Paul but he made sure the article spelled the company and bait name correctly, and attributed the win to my bait. Paul and I have no formal agreement but you can be sure that I will help him anyway I can. He brought in sales and gave my product strong exposure.


Just walk up to a business owner and ask for sponsorship. There are times when this works, but it is less likely. You’ll have to talk with more business and do a lot of legwork. Now and then you will run across an eager sponsor, but it can be about as often as that big tournament win.


From time to time I hear about an angler who has a good relationship with a business via other means. The business actually offers them money for fishing in return for some advertising on their boat and gear. These are even more rare but almost always very comfortable, long-term arrangements.

We all want free stuff but sponsorship is a business relationship. The first thing a business should hear from us is: what’s in it for them! That’s the language of sponsorship. Nearly all of the anglers I sponsor came from the ranks of anglers who used my product, loved it then became active in moving my business along to where it is today. Along the way, many great friendships have developed and we watch each other go from success to success. That’s one of the aspects of a close sponsorship/relationship that is rarely talked about.

Working on good sponsorships doesn’t end in March, but goes year round as we fish and interact with products and services. Now is a good time to start to develop a resume for next season too. Volunteer to help with kids events, tournament circuits that need support and collect letters of recommendation along the way. Over the long run, if you’re a positive force in the industry, there will always be people who will want to be part of your success too!

Want more about getting sponsored? Check out: How to Attain Local Sponsors

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