We’ve all heard it. Many of us have said it.
“I’m going to turn pro.”
“I want to turn pro next year.”
“How do you turn pro?”
“I’m fishing the college trail, but when I get out, I’m going to fish the Everstart for a year and then… turn pro.”
“I woke up this morning, said ‘abracadabra’ and turned pro, so now I’m looking for sponsors and need to order a jersey.”
The bass fishing world is rife with people saying just these things. These aren’t bad people and they have great intentions, but do they know what they’re really saying? There’s just something about the pervasiveness and commonality of this phrase that indicates something is a little off. It’s like every teenager playing tag football in the street claiming he’s going to…
Open your ears… you’ll hear it in the tackle shop, around the docks, at the weigh in…
Open your eyes… you’ll see it on Facebook, on various forums, and on reader comments on various websites.
The phrase just sounds so magical. The allure of “turning pro” is irresistible to us. It’s a lofty dream, but one worth dreaming for sure. However, the phrase does not adequately capture the true difficulties, complexities, challenges, and likelihood of success that goes along with it. Even the guys who legitimately are pro are struggling for money, leaving their wives behind for weeks at a time while they hold down the fort and make the steady paycheck. Do other pro athletes of the highest ranks do this? I’ll save my rant on this for another day.
Think about it… what is this phrase implying? It’s implying that you can choose to undergo some kind of radical and sudden transformation that elevates you into an entirely different category… provided you say the magical phrase…
The problem is that people view “turning pro” as a free for all… something anybody with a fishing rod can do.
Are there a lot of people rubbing Genie lamps out there? Are there a lot of Clark Kent type fishermen out there? Do they just stand up and rip off their shirts, revealing tacky, cartoon-colored fishing jerseys before flying all over winning tournaments?
Close your eyes real hard, spin around in a circle, clench your fist, wish upon star and forcefully deliver the words…
“I AM TURNING PRO!” (insert harp glissandos)
And just like that, from the moment those words are uttered, you can now say…
“I HAVE TURNED PRO!”
Wham bam, you’re in!!! You did it! By the power vested in Ray Scott, Bass Pro Shops, and KVD, you have now declared yourself a pro!
But turning pro is not something you merely claim and suddenly become via your verbal authority. If it is, perhaps it’s some kind of Tony Robbins motivational trick of which I’m unaware.
Did Michael Jordan wake up and say, “Abracadabra, I’m going to turn into a pro basketball player and enter the NBA tomorrow, maybe win some championships with the Chicago Bulls, come out with my own shoes… I own a basketball and have been playing pickup games in the park lately, so why not.”
So, to wrap this up, just know there is really no such thing as “turning pro“. There is a lot of hard work and years of fishing lower level events to barely break even.
It’s more like evolving into a pro. There’s a lot of natural selection and a good dose of luck and fortune… and maybe a rich daddy to float you along.
During the evolution there are years of juggling another job and/or living off somebody else’s dime.
There are dozens of times you’ll travel to lakes you’ve never visited only to be spanked by some toothless local whipping around a 30 year old 5′ long Ugly Stick.
There are years of compromising family relationships and years of watching your winnings disappear in the gas tank on the way home.
Or you can develop the gall to ask for donations like this character…
If you endure this long enough, maybe… just maybe… you will eventually find yourself steadily among the ranks of other pros, doing what pros do. I still can’t guarantee you’ll make any kind of living, but you’ll damn sure be a pro.
Only in the world of fishing can you be “a pro”, but net less money than the guys who count and weigh the fish (no offense to them). It’s like the striped shirt referees in the NFL making more than Peyton Manning. That’s too bad. It doesn’t have to be that way, but I’ll save that rant for another day.