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Question: How many bass pros are from wealthy families? I have heard so many pros are from wealthy families or have rich spouses. Are there any pros that did not have any wealthy family background at all? I also think having a business besides full time fishing is pretty common in this sport. Is this true? - Rick N.
There are so many Pros who have no silver spoon. I was one of them. I quit a long-time job to become a “Pro-Angler” before it was cool or lucrative. Only after having some success was I able to attract enough sponsors to make a “living.”
Certainly there are some who have a hand up from family support or business, but I would not say it's the majority.
I don't have a number for how many pro's come from money, but it's probably more than we realize. Having financial security in this sport is a HUGE asset, especially when you're starting out. It's so crazy expensive to play this game that not having to worry about making the house payment every month is a huge morale booster. Of course, at some point you'll have to start catching them to keep qualifying, but I would think that having that financial cushion could give a guy the time to figure out how to be a consistent angler. There are a number of guys on the Elite Series that have wives with decent jobs that definitely help make ends meet. There are probably a few guys who married money. Some Elite anglers have their own businesses that are totally independent of the outdoor industry or even family businesses. One thing to keep in mind is the fact that an angler who is working a job other than fishing the Elite Series is at a huge disadvantage, as much of his competition has little to focus on except catching fish. Quite a few have businesses that are fishing or outdoor industry related. Most of the successful anglers treat everything they do with fishing as a business, as it truly is, and this takes up the majority of their time off the water.
I, for one, did not come from money. In fact, I can remember a time not too long ago when everything I owned fit in three Hefty garbage bags in the back of a 1976 Toyota Celica with 225,000 miles on it - and I didn't own the car, the bank did. Everything I have I've pretty much put in my own hands or pockets. Sure, I've had some breaks and some help along the way, but I've made a lot of those breaks on my own. There are several other guys on the Elite Trail that have worked their way up from the bottom. I can't help but think it would be a lot easier, though, with a pocket full of cash. I must say, however, it's pretty satisfying when you come from the bottom and stand on the stage with one of those blue Elite Series trophies in your hands.
Many fans have lots of ideas about the backgrounds of professional bass anglers. Most of them are skewed or incorrect. Check out the rest of John's blog post on this subject here.