Gearing up for FLW Tour

After wrapping up most of the “on the water” stuff that I needed to do before the end of October, I got to spend a good chunk of time in my office over the past week.
It wasn’t because I wanted to be sitting inside while we were having the nicest November weather ever, but there was some work to be done.
It’s that time of year when I need to start planning for 2016. For instance, the deadline to register for the FLW Tour bass tournaments that I’ve fished the past few years is Nov. 30.
I need the sponsor help to fish these events because it is very expensive, so there’s always quite a bit of time that goes into making sure I have the support lined up again for another year.
Fortunately, things worked out very well again and I’m all signed up to fish another season—starting in early February at Lake Okeechobee in Florida.
The six-event season finishes in late June at Lake Champlain on the Vermont-Quebec border.
Having fished the FLW circuit for three years now, I’ve been to quite a few different bodies of water. Of the six lakes that we’re fishing in 2016, I’ve previously fished tournaments on five of them so having a little bit of experience on these waters certainly will help.
I’m very excited to get to Florida in a few months to get it started.
The lake that I’ve never been to is Champlain but from what I’ve been told by a few of my buddies, it is very similar to fishing on Lake of the Woods. It is big water, and has good populations of both largemouth and smallmouth bass, so it should be up my alley.
When it comes to keeping my sponsors happy, it’s important that they get some sort of return on their investment. The entry fees for these six tournaments are $27,000 (U.S.), so you understand why I need the help.
For them, it’s all about how many impressions they can get for their brand or product.
For me to drive to all of these events, I put on about 25,000 km with my truck and boat, so there are literally millions of eyes that get to see my wrapped boat. So the boat wrap is one of the most important things that I have to sell.
For the past couple of years, Dr. Pepper has been the dominant part of my boat wrap, with some other branding mixed in, as well.
Social media also is a big deal for these folks. I can use my Facebook and Twitter pages to share new product information that my sponsors might have, show success I have on the water with their products, or to simply share fishing tips with the people who are following my accounts.
I just got signed up with a new Instagram account this week, so I’ll work that into my agenda, as well.
I don’t want to have to spend time on these social media activities, believe me, but for me to get to do what I want to do, I need to be active with this stuff—my sponsors demand it.
One of the deals that I have with one sponsor, International Comfort Products (a large company that makes several different brands of air conditioner and furnace units), is to take some of their customers or employees fishing following the tournaments that I fish in all different parts of the country.
Sometimes after a tough tournament, the last thing I want to do is go back out on the water, but it’s a small price to pay to get to fish at this level.
It works great with this company because they are active across North America.
The support is very much appreciated, so hopefully I’ll have a few good finishes this year and keep everybody happy!