60, Day 1
NOTE: Sam Swett of Covington, Louisiana, has fished on the B.A.S.S.
professional bass circuit for 10 years. Avid fishermen in his home state
know him as an expert knowledgeable bass angler.
Question: Sam, on what circuit do you fish?
Answer: I fished the Bass Masters Invitational Circuit for eight
years and then I fished the Top 150 for two years. This year marks my
third season on the Top 150 and my 11th year in professional bass fishing.
Question: And you've never really popped a big
one, have you?
Answer: No, sixth place remains my highest honor.
Sam, who sponsors you?
Answer: Ranger Boats, OMC, Evinrude Outboard Motors, Fuji Film
and Delco Voyager batteries. My local sponsors include Poole Lumber Company
and Goodyear Tires here in Covington.
Question: Sam, although you've never made it
to the big time of professional bass fishing, yet you have stepped above
the club tournament guy. You're right in that middle ground where you
may one day become a big name in bass fishing. How have you gotten sponsors
without winning that much?
Answer: Basically I attracted sponsors by promoting myself. In
other words, I started at a grass-roots level with my local sponsors,
proving that I could get my name and my sponsor's name in ink, on film
and in pictures. Today when I make a presentation to my sponsors or potential
sponsors, they can see that not only do I represent myself but also the
companies that sponsor me.
Sam, how did you start off getting sponsors?
Answer: I tried talking to a lot of my fellow anglers above me.
I looked at the guys who had a little bit more than me because I thought
I should take advice from somebody who had done what I wanted to do and
done it right. I tried not to push myself. I found out quickly that if
I wanted to have sponsors that they would want something in return for
You have to learn quickly that when you approach a corporation
they don't just look at your name or how well you fish, but how well you
can promote their product, how good you are making presentations before
the public and how the public responds to your knowledge of fishing.
Question: Who first sponsored you?
Answer: Ranger Boats sponsored me first.
What club did you fish with at that time?
Answer: Actually at the time I didn't fish in a club. When you
reach the national level, you need to know exactly what's out there because
when you fish club tournaments you generally fish the same waters year
after year. When I started fishing the B.A.S.S. Masters circuit, I fished
the pro-ams as an amateur to compare myself against the other pros. I
really didn't compete against them because I didn't have a vast knowledge
of different waters, an understanding of various bass habitats and environments
from state to state. When you bass fish nationally, you don't just fish
bayous like I do in south Louisiana. You don't always fish tidal water
either. South Louisiana has water 5- to 10-feet deep. But when you go
elsewhere, you may fish water 50-feet deep. By fishing the pro-ams, you
learn different techniques and very quickly gain a good education because
you fish with the guys you eventually want to try to beat.
Tomorrow: Learning From the Pros