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John's Journal... Entry 60, Day 1

Getting Sponsors

click to enlargeEDITOR'S NOTE: Sam Swett of Covington, Louisiana, has fished on the B.A.S.S. professional bass circuit for 10 years. Avid fishermen in his home state know him as an expert knowledgeable bass angler.

Question: Sam, on what circuit do you fish?
Answer: I fished the Bass Masters Invitational Circuit for eight years and then I fished the Top 150 for two years. This year marks my third season on the Top 150 and my 11th year in professional bass fishing.

Question: And you've never really popped a big one, have you?
Answer: No, sixth place remains my highest honor.

click to enlargeQuestion: Sam, who sponsors you?
Answer: Ranger Boats, OMC, Evinrude Outboard Motors, Fuji Film and Delco Voyager batteries. My local sponsors include Poole Lumber Company and Goodyear Tires here in Covington.

Question: Sam, although you've never made it to the big time of professional bass fishing, yet you have stepped above the club tournament guy. You're right in that middle ground where you may one day become a big name in bass fishing. How have you gotten sponsors without winning that much?
Answer: Basically I attracted sponsors by promoting myself. In other words, I started at a grass-roots level with my local sponsors, proving that I could get my name and my sponsor's name in ink, on film and in pictures. Today when I make a presentation to my sponsors or potential sponsors, they can see that not only do I represent myself but also the companies that sponsor me.

click to enlargeQuestion: Sam, how did you start off getting sponsors?
Answer: I tried talking to a lot of my fellow anglers above me. I looked at the guys who had a little bit more than me because I thought I should take advice from somebody who had done what I wanted to do and done it right. I tried not to push myself. I found out quickly that if I wanted to have sponsors that they would want something in return for their money.

You have to learn quickly that when you approach a corporation they don't just look at your name or how well you fish, but how well you can promote their product, how good you are making presentations before the public and how the public responds to your knowledge of fishing.

Question: Who first sponsored you?
Answer: Ranger Boats sponsored me first.

click to enlargeQuestion: What club did you fish with at that time?
Answer: Actually at the time I didn't fish in a club. When you reach the national level, you need to know exactly what's out there because when you fish club tournaments you generally fish the same waters year after year. When I started fishing the B.A.S.S. Masters circuit, I fished the pro-ams as an amateur to compare myself against the other pros. I really didn't compete against them because I didn't have a vast knowledge of different waters, an understanding of various bass habitats and environments from state to state. When you bass fish nationally, you don't just fish bayous like I do in south Louisiana. You don't always fish tidal water either. South Louisiana has water 5- to 10-feet deep. But when you go elsewhere, you may fish water 50-feet deep. By fishing the pro-ams, you learn different techniques and very quickly gain a good education because you fish with the guys you eventually want to try to beat.

Tomorrow: Learning From the Pros




Check back each day this week for more about Sam Swett ...

Day 1 -Getting Sponsors
Day 2 -Learning From the Pros
Day 3 -Funding The Fishing
Day 4 -Serving The Sponsors
Day 5 -Breaking Into The Pros

John's Journal