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A Tough Dilemma


fishing user avatarNquince79 reply : 

Ok so I know people will probably take this as just me complaining but I'm really stuck here. I am a senior in high school and just got a job at gander mountain. I already have my thoughts narrowed down to two colleges for there academics and they have great fishing teams. I got to fish some tournaments this year and now I'm addicted so I'm going all in in college fishing. However, even though I'm working max hours allowed at my job and saving all my money while trying to get good grades and take AP classes to save money in college as well as being part of the national honor society I don't think I am going to be able to get enough money to buy a boat that meets college requirements. My buddy offered me his 18 foot fiberglass for 5000 but it's older so I don't know how much time I will get out of it and I won't even get close to that amount of money. It is my dream to work my way up and fish professionally and I figured college would be the way to get started but I can't even try in college if I don't get a boat. I am trying everything even emailing boat companies saying I will do anything and dedicate my time to them I just really want to get a boat to give myself a shot in college to fish. So that's my story what should I do?


fishing user avatarRhino68W reply : 

Depending on how far the 2 colleges are from home I would possibly try to find someone who would rent you their boat when you need it. Maybe even a local boat shop that can sponsor you or something as you rent one of theirs. Call and ask, and be super professional. 


fishing user avataraavery2 reply : 

Focus on your education


fishing user avatarDaniel Lin reply : 

I'm with aavery2 here, focus on your education. Get a good degree, solid internships during college, and present yourself as an incredible job candidate as you approach graduation, and with any luck, watch that money pile up at your door pretty soon post-graduation. Get a good, satisfying job and you'll have more than enough money and time to fish to your heart's content.

 

I wasted a lot of time in college away from my coursework. Granted, that time was spent working for the student paper and otherwise honing my photojournalism skills, which is really what I wanted to do after graduating. Also, thank God, newspapers don't care about your college GPA, only that you eventually obtained your degree. 2 great internships later, I still ended up freelancing for a year after I graduated before I landed a staff job, but I chalk that up to partially me getting a bit of a late start and the rough job market in this field. 

 

Unless you've figured out a sure-fire way to fish your way through college into a decent career post-graduation, I would definitely put it on the back burner until you're settled into school. I know everyone says it, but you'll have more than enough on your hands when you get to school.


fishing user avatarNquince79 reply : 

Well I have plans to get a marketing degree to be a sales rep or marketing person for a company and eventually own my own business if my plans don't work out to fish professionally. I just want to get my name out there by fishing in college and at least get a shot at going pro through it. I know the education is important and I will definitely put that first but I just want a shot in college and I'm not sure how to do it without a boat


fishing user avataraavery2 reply : 

Look at your post above and count the times you said, "I Want". Put your needs before your wants. It's great to have goals, but some of those that can not be reached quickly, have to be set as long term goals.

Have you tried introducing yourself to the Coach and see if he has any suggestions?

Good Luck


fishing user avatarTBO reply : 

search craigs list  not sure what requirments you need but i see bass trackers on their often for ok pricess. might have to do some work to them but could be worth it.  good luck!


fishing user avatarGaterB reply : 

Most fishing teams now are two anglers per boat, and not everyone is required to own a boat. I have multiple friends who do not own boats but are still able to fish on college teams as co-anglers


fishing user avatarSmokinal reply : 

^^^This was my first thought. There's gotta be a non-boater somewhere.


fishing user avatargeo g reply : 

If you or your family have the means for you to play, go for it! If not, concentrate on your education and building a career for you and your future. If you do it now, it will provide assets that will allow you to chase your dreams. College is expensive enough, without additional expenditures on a boat, and everything that is required to maintain it. If you go into debt over your education, you will regret it for years to come. Add a family down the road and debt occurred now, could provide years of struggle and stress. Be smart and build a future. Don't get caught up in living in the now generation. This is why so many struggle financially all through life.


fishing user avatarmjseverson24 reply : 

College fishing is definitely not the best way to become a pro fisherman... The biggest reason is you are competing against other inexperienced tournament anglers... Go to school fish some summer tournaments (against experienced anglers in your area) when you can, get a degree in a field that you love, and that pays up to the standard of living that you want. Then get a good job once out of college and continue to fish club level tournaments, when you start making money each year fishing then you can start thinking about trying your luck on the bigger nationwide circuits. if it works great you've made it as a pro fisherman, if not oh well back to doing well at the club level and back to your good job with the steady paycheck... This situation sets up a win-win... Good luck on your journey though...

 

Mitch


fishing user avatarDelaware Valley Tackle reply : 

My kids have just been through this. Work and save all your money toward tuition. Attend a community college for two years and finish at a state school. With the exception of a few select fields, where you get a degree from has little or no affect on life time earnings. If you graduate saddled with huge debt you won't be owning a boat or starting any business for a long time, maybe never. Don't get pressured or suckered into paying a ton to attend a "Name" school. It's not much different than wearing only designer clothes. Be professional in all your dealings and writing. You used "there" in place of "their" in the OP. Best of luck.


fishing user avatarSmokinal reply : 
  On 10/5/2014 at 6:23 AM, mjseverson24 said:

College fishing is definitely not the best way to become a pro fisherman... The biggest reason is you are competing against other inexperienced tournament anglers... Go to school fish some summer tournaments (against experienced anglers in your area) when you can, get a degree in a field that you love, and that pays up to the standard of living that you want. Then get a good job once out of college and continue to fish club level tournaments, when you start making money each year fishing then you can start thinking about trying your luck on the bigger nationwide circuits. if it works great you've made it as a pro fisherman, if not oh well back to doing well at the club level and back to your good job with the steady paycheck... This situation sets up a win-win... Good luck on your journey though...

 

Mitch

This is the best advice.


fishing user avatarflipin4bass reply : 

Why are you setting the bar so high when you're just starting out? I once saw a couple of well known bass pros fish tournaments in aluminum boats. I also witnessed a guy take first place among a field of over 60 anglers, many of them using $30,000-$40,000 machines...and he was in an old Tracker. Don't be intimidated by those in their shiny new Rangers...it takes years for some folks to scrap and save for what they have. I started out in life with an old beater, v-bottom boat. I recommend you find a good, reliable, old aluminum boat with a working live well and go from there. It is the man or woman standing on the deck that wins the money, not the boat. Study hard, work hard, learn everything you can about bass fishing, and one day you'll have that Ranger. Best of luck to you and your friends.


fishing user avatargeo g reply : 

Those focusing on a professional fishing career are just not giving you sound financial guidance. At this time, you need to concentrate on your education and building a future that will allow you to support yourself and provide the experience to move forward in an ever increasing competitive work place.

You sound like you have performed quite well in high school. Take advantage of your base education and move forward expanding your knowledge and expertise. You will not regret the efforts put forth now, in the future. Focusing on fishing at this time will be nothing but a distraction, and probably a hindrance to developing success career. There will be plenty of time for the sport you love, and plenty of future earnings to support that sport in a first class manner. You want the boats, the equipment, the money to travel, and the money to support a family. A good job will provide that. Thinking your going to get all that through fishing is just not practical. A crap shoot at best!


fishing user avatarBassun reply : 

Well, I guess I'm the odd ball again here.  While I absolutely agree that you must focus on an education first, otherwise you are just wasting thousands of dollars, I see no reason NOT to fish competitively with the school if you can.  College fishing is similar to competing in any other NCAA sport, and although I could not quickly find current numbers, in 2011 there were almost 450,000 student athelets!  Obviously, most of those went to the work force upon completing their degrees, not to play professional sports.  Committing yourself to more than just studies is not outlandish.

 

I would personally suggest spending more time researching the fishing teams at the schools you are intereseted in (not to choose a school, but to better understand college fishing) it's not really what a lot of people think it is. Contact some of the members and ask them if they have room for non-boaters.  I'm not sure what "college requirements" are for a boat, and I suspect if you have not yet asked them, you probably aren't sure either.  You may find that the requirements are little more than a safe and legal vessle, with an aeriated livewell, and a minimum of $100,000 insurance coverage.  As a boater, you would also need to meet requirments of whichever affiliated tournaments you are fishing, be it a B.A.S.S. sanctioned event, or a FLW one (or others), and of course have the appropraite memberships.

 

One must also consider if pro-fishing is really what you want to do.  Sure it sounds fun off the cuff, but there is a lot more to it then just heading out and fishing.  If you understand what it takes to be a pro, then you can have a better chance at one day of becoming one.  I don't know what you have done thus far, but research, research, research.  Pro fishing is about so much more than just catching fish.  I've read that many pro's are spending 300+ days on the road/water now.  That is a major commitment, and huge financial outlay.  There was a breif time when I wanted to go pro, and even worked out a series of goals and milestones as checkpoints along the way...but the more serious about it I become, the more I realized that for me personally the pro circuit was not a commitment that I could make.

 

Mike Iaconelli released a CD titled, "Blueprint on Professional Bass Fishing" (available at his website still) - getting something like that and really understanding, from a pro, what it takes to become a pro would be a great step.  I would actually suggest first reading the article, "Going Pro or Bust" by Neal Robinson (easily googled) and really pay attention to the "Road Time" and "Money" portions.  Here is a scary quote from the article, "Usually, there are only about 25 to 30 anglers on the Tour that either break even or better."

 

Now, having said all that - you have a dream, and that can be a powerful thing especially if you match that dream with commitment and determination.  But, ultimately, it all starts with education (which brings us back full circle), and that your primary focus must be on getting your degree and finding a way to support yourself if you want to eventually go pro.  Realistically you may find that pro fishing is not what you want, but by understanding the nature of the beast you may find an even better situation which keeps you involved with the sport.  Either way, good luck and tight lines!

 

 


fishing user avatarDjf3864 reply : 

Research what you got to school for and maybe try to align your education with something that can be used in the fishing industry.

 

Mechanical engineering or something that you could get involved with motor design/boat design, Plastics or Polymer engineering for fishing product design and manufacturing, this one is closest to my heart as I am a plastics engineer (not in the fishing industry).  Even an electrical engineer to work on the fish finders, sonar, gps, and mapping software.

 

There are other ways to be involved in the world of fishing besides being a Pro, which as others have said is a difficult path to follow with most failing to achieve their goals.


fishing user avatarDelaware Valley Tackle reply : 

Having a passion for advertising, marketing or sales rather than a passion for fishing would make someone a better fit to be a pro angler. That's what it's all about, plain and simple. No one is going to live off tournament winnings given the overhead and competition. Endorsements, seminars, guiding, TV show production is where the money is at. Winning, or at least placing well consistently in tournaments gets anglers the visibility they need to make them valuable marketing vehicles. You can do the same thing with a reality show and not need any talent or skills at all outside of a level of charisma. Fishing is best pursued as a hobby and if it evolves into something more, great. Go for it. To make life decisions based on being a Pro Tournament Angler is a recipe for disaster though. 


fishing user avatarRatherbfishing reply : 

I'm always a bit skeptical about the inherent value of a college education these days however, if you ARE going to go to college you should remain focused on your studies.  This isn't to say you can't also fish or even tournament fish (it beats the heck out of hanging out in the bars) but don't jeopardize a career for a pipe dream-which is really what professional angling is.  I don't know how many planets and stars have to align for someone to be successful as a tournament fisherman and fewer still can really make a "comfortable" living at it.  This isn't about you, per se.  I would say the same about anyone.


fishing user avatarBassun reply : 
  On 10/15/2014 at 3:24 AM, Ratherbfishing said:

I'm always a bit skeptical about the inherent value of a college education these days ...

 

I completely agree, in so much as a book learning is not necessarily even remotely applicable to a career choice.  The unfortunate reality is that now days you often cannot even get an interview without a degree, regardless of what your work ethic is, or skill set, etc.  I know the company I work for, often tiems you cannot even apply for entry level positions often without a degree.  Low level management is always asking for at least a BA/BS and anything above middle management they want MBA's.

 

I personally think that a potential hire should be given the opportunity to prove their abilities beyond making it through college, but that's just my opinion and I don't own a fortune 500 company so -- take it as just another opinion and not much else.  The reality is, a degree is vastly important in the business world now...


fishing user avatarRSM789 reply : 
  On 10/15/2014 at 4:21 AM, Bassun said:

...The unfortunate reality is that now days you often cannot even get an interview without a degree, regardless of what your work ethic is, or skill set, etc.  I know the company I work for, often tiems you cannot even apply for entry level positions often without a degree.  Low level management is always asking for at least a BA/BS and anything above middle management they want MBA's.

 

I personally think that a potential hire should be given the opportunity to prove their abilities beyond making it through college, but that's just my opinion and I don't own a fortune 500 company so -- take it as just another opinion and not much else.  The reality is, a degree is vastly important in the business world now...

 

Very true, unless you decide to own the place.  Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg are extreme examples of folks who don't have a college degree but were financially successful nonetheless.

 

One of the problems with most college paths in regards to business is they teach you how to be a corporate employee, not an owner or a smaller company manager.  The huge number of unemployed college graduates with BA's or MBA's show that these colleges are providing a product (a specific education towards a certain career path) that is obsolete.

 

I believe more students would be better served to get a more rounded education of basic business principles from accounting to marketing to operations.  Don't waste the time getting a degree in those subjects, but learn how they apply in running a business.  Even though I had a B.S. in Marketing (cue joke about Marketing being BS), I ended up learning more by actually starting a business than I was ever taught.  What did help was a basic understanding of solid business practices.

 

The most secure job you will ever have will be working for yourself.


fishing user avatarBassun reply : 

I couldn't agree with you more.  But, we also have to remember the Jobs, Gates and Zuckerburg are the exception not the norm.  I don't agree with the actual need for a degree, but if you are going to work for someone you "need" one...

 

Having said that, there is absolutely merit in education.  Formal or real world.  I absolutely do not want to dismiss anyone's effort to expand their knowledge.


fishing user avatarRSM789 reply : 

Agreed.


fishing user avatarMunkin reply : 

My old boss once told me that a college degree just shows that you can complete a long term project. With that said I do a lot of job interviews and to make it through HR they want to see a degree.

 

As for fishing contact the fishing coach at the schools that interest you. Remember a school is a business that sells a service so they will help you with any problems.

 

Allen


fishing user avatarDelaware Valley Tackle reply : 

When I hire people I'd rather have someone bright enough to find an answer to something they don't know than someone who is educated on a narrow topic. The latter never knows everything, and is often clueless as to how to proceed. 


fishing user avataretommy28 reply : 

as some one who has done it i believe any one who says college fishing has no value or doesnt help you take the next step is dead wrong. just look at the guys who have graduated recently and taken a big step. having said that focus on your education and either fish as a CO or save money over time to buy an cheap boat. I have been through 3 boats in college but its cause i did not spend much on the first two. 


fishing user avatarDFrench97 reply : 
  On 10/4/2014 at 11:25 PM, Nquince79 said:

Well I have plans to get a marketing degree to be a sales rep or marketing person for a company and eventually own my own business if my plans don't work out to fish professionally. I just want to get my name out there by fishing in college and at least get a shot at going pro through it. I know the education is important and I will definitely put that first but I just want a shot in college and I'm not sure how to do it without a boat

Be a sales rep for a fishing company and you can run the booth at ICAST which would be awesome!  My dad is friends with a guy who is a sales rep for Lunker Hunt and you should see all the gear in his garage.


fishing user avatarDelaware Valley Tackle reply : 

The fact that the garage is filled with fishing gear and not Mercedes and BMW's should tell you something.  


fishing user avatarWIGuide reply : 
  On 10/29/2014 at 4:13 AM, Delaware Valley Tackle said:

The fact that the garage is filled with fishing gear and not Mercedes and BMW's should tell you something.  

It tells you he values his fishing more than the status symbol of a luxury vehicle that is most commonly associated with self centered jerk hole behind the wheel. Not saying that he makes enough to afford one, but there's nothing saying he doesn't and chooses not to buy one either. 

 

OP If I were you I'd get in contact with a member of the fishing team. I highly doubt that everyone has to have a tournament ready rig. If i remember correctly a lot of tournaments you are provided with a boat to use and a boat captain will take you where you want to go. I'd explore that road a little more and find out what you actually need to compete. Also, as a former college athlete, if you are dedicated you shouldn't have an issue doing both. Don't expect to have tons of free time, but totally doable. 


fishing user avatarChoporoz reply : 

This is informative and a little mind-blowing.  Admittedly I know little (nothing) about college fishing, nor even about tournament fishing.  But, I am rather surprised that you must have a 'good'? boat in order to compete at collegiate level.  I can't think of any other sport with such a tremendously expensive barrier to entry ---  is there college-level competitive yacht racing?   Do football players buy their pads and helmets and rent stadium time?  Do rowing team members buy their sculls?...IDK...maybe they do.

 

       If the schools and/or sponsors aren't footing most (all?) the bill for the boats (and gear?), then I don't think it should be an NCAA 'event'.  The level of expected expense just seems rather extreme to me. 


fishing user avatarLund Explorer reply : 
  On 11/5/2014 at 12:49 AM, Choporoz said:

This is informative and a little mind-blowing.  Admittedly I know little (nothing) about college fishing, nor even about tournament fishing.  But, I am rather surprised that you must have a 'good'? boat in order to compete at collegiate level.  I can't think of any other sport with such a tremendously expensive barrier to entry ---  is there college-level competitive yacht racing?   Do football players buy their pads and helmets and rent stadium time?  Do rowing team members buy their sculls?...IDK...maybe they do.

 

       If the schools and/or sponsors aren't footing most (all?) the bill for the boats (and gear?), then I don't think it should be an NCAA 'event'.  The level of expected expense just seems rather extreme to me.

There is a world of difference between needing a good boat and wanting one. The attached link is from the local

university's bass fishing "Club". Most schools have organized sports for a few popular endeavors(read as money

making) and the rest are made up as either intramural or club activities with limited financial support.

http://fsufishingclub.weebly.com/

Scroll down to the pictures and you'll see the pre-takeoff picture showing every kind of boat from fiberglass

rockets to a tin boat with a tiller motor.

With all that said, there are two ways to get into the boat of your dreams. The first entails the parents to

pillage their 401k to pay for it. The second way is to proof that you are the best d**n stick on campus, and your

coach and teammates will be beating down your door to team up with you. Amazingly, the second approach is exactly what is needed to become a pro after school.


fishing user avatarEmersonFish reply : 

I'll say this. If you are going to invest time and money in going to college, your education is priority #1, BUT, I could have played college basketball, and decided at the time not to take on that challenge, and went to a school close to home where life would be a cake walk. Do I regret it? Well, I'm 40 now and I'm here on a forum telling people about it, so I guess you can say I wish I could change things. There's nothing wrong with wanting to fish on the college club or team. And if you do well, it might be beneficial to you as you attempt to make a career in the fishing industry. I think a lot of people are a little too cynical about it. As long as you have a good plan for your education and career, and a way to finance your fishing passion as you take a shot at the "big time," then give it a shot. Just don't put yourself into financial ruin. You can't enter tournaments if they repossess your truck and boat, and your gas card is maxed out. And once you start a family, well, that's a whole different story.

As for the boat: You can buy a pretty nice rig for $5000 if you shop around. Plenty good for your needs. And I know a lot of college bass clubs/teams have sponsors (not necessarily companies, but individuals) that will loan them boats for big tournaments. The ones you see on TV, where the 20 year old kids are fishing out of fully-rigged Rangers? Those kids didn't buy those boats.




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