The Evinrude Blog
Archives: March 2010
Hello again E-TEAM fans! This week I want to write about what it’s like to be a pro fisherman. The question I get a lot and I still don’t have an answer for is: how do you become a pro? For me, it started as just something I liked to do. I never really thought I could make a living out of it, I thought that if I became a guide that would be about as close as I would come to fishing and getting paid for it.
I grew up in Michigan, so tournaments and bass fishing was very seasonal. We would bass fish from June through September. I was 20 years old before I competed in my first tournament – it was held in the spring of 1985. A guy from work knew that I liked to fish and thought it would be fun to participate in an upcoming tournament. We made plans to go and we showed up not knowing what to except. At the time I had a 14 foot aluminum boat with a self made live well that was cut into the middle bench seat, a Lowrance "little green box" flasher for depth finder, and a 15 hp Johnson on the back. I would love to say that we won it and this started my career but not the case. It rained most of the day, we got really wet, and I don’t think we caught a fish. But after seeing all of those metal flake bass boats with their huge engines on the back screaming by us
I knew I wanted to learn a lot more about this tournament thing.
I soon joined a local Bass club as a non boater and within a couple of years had saved enough to get my first Bass boat. It was a Cajun The Ricky Green fishing machine with a 150 hp XP Evinrude. The first time in it I can remember going about 50 mph before letting off the gas and thinking I don’t need to go that fast anymore.
I moved to Kentucky in 1990 and got my first taste of fishing a man made impoundment. I still remember the overwhelming size of a 25,000 acre lake compared to the couple hundred acre lakes I had been used to. This was when leaning pattern fishing is important, not just fishing the same spots.
My advice for anyone interested in fishing for a living is to fish some tournaments as well as join a local club. This can be done even if you don’t own a boat. After fishing some tournaments and joining a local club, fish some regional events like BFL or the American Bass series, then step up to national events like FLW series or tour.
Being a Pro Bass fisherman requires a lot of time, and this does not include the time I spend on the water during tournament hours which are normally eight to nine hours. From the time I leave the room till I get back is a 14 hour day then add on that equipment maintenance sometimes its the boat or the truck or all the rods and reels and the tackle. An 18 hour day is very common. On top of that, you need to keep up sponsor obligations and your family has to be up for this kind of dedication cause without a family supporting what you do it just would not work. If you really love what you do you will find a way to be successful. I know I have and I can’t imagine doing anything else.
If you want know a little pro angler secret about the great photos from the tournaments / magazine shots, take a look at my video below!
Although Minnesota native and E-TEAM member Paul Meleen is still waiting for the ice to thaw so he can drop his boat in the water and start the Walleye season, he has been keeping busy preparing some delicious and easy to master fish related recipes. Evinrude anglers not only enjoy quality time on the water – they also enjoy quality time in the kitchen!
After a recent ice-fishing trip with his daughter Greta, Paul took some time to record a cooking demo and prepare a Cajun Beer Battered Perch dish.
Please see the below recipe and demo that Paul was kind enough to share with us.
1 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
¼ t. pepper
¼ t. garlic powder
1 t. onion powder
½ t. ground thyme
½ to 1 t. Tabasco
12 oz. bottle of good Ale
Mix dry ingredients. Add Tabasco and 9 oz. Ale. Whisk well. Add more Ale, depending on the desired batter thickness. Mix thoroughly and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
*Option* While batter thickens, marinate perch in a bottle of Ale.
Preheat fryer to 375 degrees or skillet. I recommend peanut or cottonseed oil.
Coat perch with batter and deep fry until golden brown.
When most people think of what a bass fisherman does, they immediately think of the guys weighing their fish at the scales or making casts on a beautiful sunny morning out on the lake. Though these things are part of it, the guys who make a living as a bass fisherman know that there is a lot more to it than what most people think. This is true of many careers – everyone sees the final results, but pays no attention to the processes that goes on to get there. Here are some samples of what actually goes on aside from the great fishing days and the weigh-ins.
Preparations: We spend countless hours preparing for each tournament. This includes both the mental and physical part of getting ready to fish, but also preparing all of our gear. I try to stay in decent shape physically so I do not feel the effects of the long days on the water during competition. A little bit of work with the weights and some cardio really help me feel better and fish better on the last days of a tournament. Studying maps, notes from previous trips, weather trends, etc., all take up time before an event, as we try to establish what equipment and tackle we need to have prepared and where to start during practice. Once I have some ideas of what I need to have prepared, that’s exactly what I do. It is much easier to get your stuff ready before you leave the house than it is to get ready at the tournament site. Once you arrive, all you need to be doing is working on that tournament. For me, preparation is the most time consuming part of the job.
Practice Days: Probably our most important days. I fish from first light to dark, with my number one priority to locate bass. I do not necessarily need to figure out how exactly to best catch them, but I want to know where they are and to what they are relating. I would love to know how to best catch them, but as conditions change during the week, this also often changes. So, I do not like to get locked into one thing and miss out on something even better. These are not always the most fun times to be out on the water, but whatever the conditions, the more time out there the more you’ll know during the tournament.
Sponsors: For anyone wanting to make a living as a fisherman, this is the most important part of the sport. From the outside it would appear that companies just decide to pick guys to give money to so they can go fishing – this is not the case. The expectations of the companies on the fishermen are different in each situation, but often include product development, promotional days, product testing and bottom line: helping them sell more product. Merely catching bass and saying, “this product is great” does not get the deal done. Ideally, I want to place myself with sponsors who have products I believe in and actually use, that way I can promote them rather than defend them. I have always felt that a big part of working with sponsors is to tell them both the good and bad aspects of their products, that way we can work to make everything great for the consumer. After all, I base my tournament performance on their product, so I want it to be top notch.
Travel: This is my least favorite part of the job, time behind the windshield and time in hotels. No one has a driver to get their rig to and from a tournament, so we spend many days driving down the interstate to and from events. Staying in hotels also gets old very quickly. If there was one thing I would eliminate from this job it would be the driving. It just seems like a lot of wasted days spent behind the wheel.
After everything is said and done, I still love bass fishing. The days on the water when the fish are biting out weigh all the work you put in ahead of time. The bottom line is: you get out of fishing what you put into it, just like anything else in life.
Here’s a quick glimpse of my life on the road. Got any good from-the-road fishing war stories? Shoot them my way. I’d love to hear them.
Life on the road is great, but the work behind the fun can get very exhausting.
This week we spent half a day washing the motor home. I think we spend more time in there than we do our home. The new Evinrude E-TEAM boat also had to be cleaned – we can't show up to Lake Norman with it dirty!
Stella was able to take this video of our camp site for the Lake Norman tournament. Some anglers choose to stay in hotels, but we like to keep it consistent for each tournament. Plus, it’s nice to travel with my son Dion for each tournament we fish together.
The drive to Charlotte is a long one. It took us two days to make the trip from Missouri.
Before taking off, we got all the tackle loaded in the boat and filled the truck full to the top with everything extra that we might need.
We didn't get fifty miles from home till we hit rain on the road – two days worth of work getting all the gear ready for the tournament only to be done over again when we arrived. It also seems like we have to fix or repair the truck or motor home on a daily basis because of all the miles we have traveled.
Does it sound like we're griping? Well we're not; it's all part of a wonderful way of life.
What other sport do you get to travel around and see three or four springs as flowers come to life each year? Then in the fall you watch the leaves turn several times. The most important thing is all the people you meet that last a life time.
Some may call them fans, we call them friends.
You seem to forget all the troubles of travelling when you wake up early on the first day of the tournament and take in this sight:
Hello everybody and thanks for all your support of the E-TEAM so far! As you might know, I’m new to social media but I have become rather fond of sharing my experiences of being a pro fisherman with all of you on a weekly basis.
This week, I am at Lake Norman in Charlotte, N.C. fishing the FLW tour event here. This is the third time in as many years that the tour has stopped on Lake Norman. Charlotte is a nice town, lots of good places to eat (always a plus when you are on the road as much as me) and I have made some good friends here as well.
I have been able to shoot several videos for you and you can find the latest one below. It is from this morning’s (3/25/2010) takeoff running up the lake to my first stop.
I was boat number 145 out of 146 that are fishing, so I was able to do some racing which I find to be a lot of fun. In this video, the red boat that I go by first was a Yamaha HPDI but I really had my sites set on the Chevy boat with the new Yamaha SHO outboard on it. Once I was sure that it was a Yamaha SHO, I quickly got my camera out to shoot this for all of you to see.
The other boat between me and the Chevy boat looked to be running an Evinrude E-TEC as well, but was probably a 225 not a 250. The camera ends up on the floor because I was coming into a hard left turn that, when you are running three wide, becomes a bit dicey if driving with one hand, so I dropped it once we made the pass.
I really look forward to putting up some more videos that let you see what tournament anglers do on a day-to-day basis. If anyone has questions that they would like to get answered, please let me know by posting on the E-TEAM Facebook wall or commenting on EvinrudeE-TEAM.com. I’ll do my best to reply.
I have a hill to climb tomorrow, being in 80th place, but the good thing about a three day event is you can always climb your way out of a slow start.
Once again, thanks for watching. I will be talking to you again next week.
PS – check out my other racing video I posted on YouTube.