As for me, my main focus and career is redfish tournaments. I also guide full time, own an online tackle store, I co own with my father a fiberglass repair business, and I am a marine consultant. So if your not a hustler in this industry then you won't make it. Keep your nose down, study hard, get an education, and NEVER stop pushing forward to your goals.
FYI, the collegiate bass tournament world is one of the BEST ways into the industry. Otherwise be born with a silver spoon. Hahaha
Best of luck sir. I truly wish you all the best. Keep up with me as I do some sponsoring from my company to some anglers all over the country. I'd like to know your progress through your career, you never know...I might hire you one day for a sponsorship.
Captain Chris Williams
CEO Fish Happens Outdoors
Don't let they idiots get you down. This isn't the place for these types of questions. There are a LOT of haters on this and many many other forums and will do anything and everything to tarnish your name and ruin our dreams.
My best suggestion is to start fishing tournaments for fun. If you find you are having good success then begin to pursue the dream. Get a degree in business, finance, or marketing/advertising as these companies want that type of background. There is no proven way to approach companies. Its about 80% who you know and 20% what you know. And that's the truth. People like John B think they know how it works but they don't. If everyone knew how to get sponsors or what kind of deals they had they would all be sponsored. And that's the truth.
Sponsorships are a hard nut to crack just like everyone has said. I have been fishing tournaments since 2007 and only recently had the privilege to go full time into redfish tournaments. Most companies do not care about a "team". It's too hard to manage, they predominately only sponsor individuals. And it's not always about how many tournaments you win or where you place. It's about marketing, if you can market and SELL their products then you CAN (not will) have a long career. Your asking if these sponsors will follow you into the saltwater market, and sometimes they will. It depends on what products they make. Don't focus on that aspect though.
I would choose a sport. These companies have budgets and they set aside certain amounts for certain things and bass gets 90% of that budget. Bass fishing has a global reach where red fishing doesn't.