A really cool opportunity came up for me late last week.
I got invited down to Bemidji, Mn. by my friend, John Peterson, president of Northland Fishing Tackle, to take part in the shooting of a promotional video for some of the new products they are releasing later this year.
A leader in the walleye market for years, Northland has really jumped into the bass loop with some unique plastic baits and jigs.
To promote their bass products at the national level, they have signed Elite Series BASS pro Dean Rojas, a highly-successful angler from Arizona who, by the way, holds the largest one-day catch in BassMaster history.
Dean also was in the Bemidji area last week to work on the video and I got to sit down with him in the boat and talk about life as a pro angler—touring all over the United States to catch bass.
The first thing that struck me when I watched Dean fish was how confident he was in the boat. Everything he did was effortless. The guy could cast a mile without a hint of a backlash and hit a dime on every cast.
It was pretty awesome to watch.
When I asked him how he got started as a tournament pro, Dean told me he was doing well in regional tournaments out west and just decided it was time to spread his wings and try to make it on the national level.
And make it he did—setting a record that likely will never be broken with a five-fish limit that topped 45 pounds on Lake Toho in Florida. That’s more than a nine-pound average per fish!
The biggest thing in tournament fishing at the tour level now, says Dean, “is to align yourself with good sponsors.”
“Unless you are Kevin Van Dam, everybody is going to have their ups and downs, that is the way it is, so anglers must have good sponsors that will support them through it all,” he stressed.
“With entry fees for the year at over $55000 and large travel expenses, anglers need to know how to market themselves and the companies they represent.”
There is no substitute for hard work fishing at this level.
“These guys will eat you up if you let them,” Dean remarked. “To compete, you have to fish long hours, make sure your equipment is solid, and you have to be versatile in many techniques.
“If you give these guys an edge, they will make you pay.”
Dean Rojas is a cool guy who is very good at what he does. It was a great experience for me to get to spend some time with him and pick his brain about various fishing situations.
He’s one of the few pros who have really “made it,” so I absorbed everything he had to say. It was one of the best days I’ve ever had on the water.
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