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Swag..

by: Alan Peak 2/26/2013

I am not a huge fan of fishing promotion.  However, it seems, like any other sport, a natural occurance.  I read blogs and articles, see photos on Facebook and see a well placed peice of gear on TV. 

I am at a crossroads of the swag war.  I have recieved gear in the mail over the last few months.  Some of it from major companies.  Some of it was great, some of it was straight garbage.  One item I actually sent back because of the lack of quality. 

I had a great discussion with John Stevens on the matter.  Accepting gear based on a positive review or even writing about it can be a sticky situation.  God forbid you get something in the mail and it is terrible.  However, on the flip side, what if you get a peice of gear you love and believe in?  Either way there is a great chance you are now in a companies pocket.

I am going to keep this short.  A Dicks Sporting Goods has a logo well placed on a Bass pro's hat, does it bother you that he only goes there for contractual obligations?  Does it bother you someone trying to peddle some wizbang new peice of equipment that looks like it will break in a matter of days?  I would truly like to hear your thoughts.

Blog content © Alan Peak
Member comments
bronc, CO   2/26/2013 4:03:19 PM
Personally it does not bother me in the least. Everyone has to make a living and i don't buy based on what is on the side of someone's hat.
 
Alan Peak (moosegoose), CO   2/26/2013 4:06:35 PM
Great point Bronc! I had a feeling that would be one of the points made.
 
alanlf5280, CO   2/26/2013 4:15:29 PM
I could care less what companies may sponsor a Bass pro, an event, etc. anymore. These days, all my decision making for purchases come from reviews on websites (Amazon for example), fishing forums and from personal experience if applicable. I remember buying Gulp Alive about 4 years ago because Chad LaChance used it on Fishful Thinker. Two years of not even a bite and I thought the product was BS. Although, I have learned how to use the product correctly now. I had a similar experience with the rod company All Star. I remember seeing ads in a magazine and ended up buying 2 over the last 5 years, and now both sit broken in a landfill somewhere. I think we just typically need to remember, you get what you pay for (although sometimes you can come across a gem).
 
bassneyes, CO   2/26/2013 4:18:59 PM
Fishing is a multi Billion dollar a year industry, whether is license fees, the cost of baits, rods, reels, boats, etc. These days there are more and more peoplem trying to make a living in the fishing inustry, guiding, tv shows, and tournament fishing. With the rising costs of everything fishing and non fishing related, anglers are looking for anything that can help them to continue there career. You ask any tournament touring pro, and they will tell you they could not do it without sponsors. Once you have that sponsor, you are required to endorse them and advertise for them. There is nothing wrong with wearing SWAG, and in many cases its required.
 
Alan Peak (moosegoose), CO   2/26/2013 4:39:39 PM
Great point Bassneyes. Money makes the world go round!
 
KingFisher13, CO   2/26/2013 5:03:58 PM
Alan, nice blog, and interesting points. 1st, any companies that want to send me any gear. Please don't hesitate! Contact me for my address. :) As for the Dick's. It's a great point. However, their's and and other advertisers sponsership/advertising helps make the Bass circuit what it is, and televised. I'm a huge NHL fan. I get Little Ceasers pizzas because of the Red Wings connection. I buy whatever's on sale, but my favorite between Gatorade and PowerAde is whicherver is the NHL's official sports drink that year. I figure their sponserships and endorcements keep the game I love televised... I know this wasn't the whole point of your blog, but thought Id toss in my thoughts... Again, Dynamic or any other companies want to send me anything. I'd happily accept James
 
nobullfishing, CO   2/26/2013 5:12:34 PM
Be grateful that you have the opportunity to e acknowledged by such companies. Each product you receive regardless of the quality is something to be very thankful for. Don't take such good fortune for granted because you'd be surprised how fast it can disappear. My $0.02, each company that has given you a product, you should proudly support. It runs much deeper than product quality if you catch my drift.
 
Alan Peak (moosegoose), CO   2/26/2013 5:23:10 PM
Nobull that is a great point too!
 
pbs, CO   2/26/2013 5:46:58 PM
Hmm.....worried about 'swag' and being in a companies' pocket.....that tells you, doesnt it?
 
pbs, CO   2/26/2013 5:58:15 PM
"These days there are more and more peoplem trying to make a living in the fishing inustry, guiding, tv shows, and tournament fishing" What about the guys who are just trying to make a living by catching fish on a daily or weekly basis in order to feed their family? guiding, tv shows, and tournament fishing"
 
pbs, CO   2/26/2013 6:07:04 PM
No disrespect. but seriously...these are your concerns.... swag, tv shows, guiding, and tournament fishing?
 
Alan Peak (moosegoose), CO   2/26/2013 6:28:06 PM
PBS, no disrespect taken. I figured there would be a vast range of thoughts within this blog. I really am glad that was pointed out too!
 
pbs, CO   2/26/2013 6:32:00 PM
BTW....I have 250 cases of "flying lures" and 120 cases of "banjo minnows" if anybody is interested. Oh yeah....those include the "SWAG"...haha
 
reconfisher, CO   2/26/2013 7:13:39 PM
Great questions Alan! I believe most fisherman try to get sponsors they truly like and use. I kinda fall into this category. If a product by the same company isn't worth the money, or a similar product that is cheaper works just as good I recommend that. Most respected fisherman and those that respect other fisherman will tell you even if they are sponsored by a company what works and what doesn't. There are some though that take the money and run to back a gimmick product. We are all trying to make that extra dollar to further our families,, and i agree with Nobull, let's be grateful for the opportunities to which we are presented!
 
jfred17, CO   2/26/2013 8:16:53 PM
There's a lot of people out there that get swag and don't even know how to fish. So the fact that people who do get it that deserve it and know how to use it and evaluate it correctly goes a long way in my book. On the flip side, it does get shoved down peoples throats at times (Facebook) and I am guilty of that as well. It's a catch22 and I think you have to walk s fine line of showing your love for fishing and also giving props to those companies that are willing to take a chance on you to get the word out for their products. Either way we have to be thankful that we can even get any sort of swag at all, I know you are as am I.
 
Muskiemaniac, CO   2/26/2013 8:49:48 PM
The bottom line is that there are fisherman wanting to make a living and business men trying to make a living through fishing. Trust the angler, not the business men. As an angler I want to use the best I can, which means I won't use a lesser product for the sake of a few bucks, I understand if people get a little tired of hearing promotional blogs or ads. Hopefully one can tell the difference between a "plug" and legitimate advice that other anglers can use for their benefit. Great blog!
 
Alan Peak (moosegoose), CO   2/26/2013 9:29:29 PM
Thanks Muskiemaniac. I like everyone's candor on the this topic.
 
Fishful Thinker, CO   2/26/2013 9:59:34 PM
Sooo...in my experience if companies are sending you stuff, you either requested for review or have some pre-described affiliation with them. In the first case, be honest with both them and your audience...in the second case, you should not have solicited them without prior knowledge that their gear fit your needs. By the time a company is a promotional partner of FT, we've been using their stuff for a while and know it works. It never starts with the company, always with the product use. Fly logo's only of brands you honestly believe in...that way if others choose to buy based on your influence, they will not be disappointed and thus discredit you in the future. Do not go for the quick sponsor buck...like junk tackle, it will come back to haunt you! CL
 
Ryan C, CO   2/27/2013 6:53:45 AM
I agree with most of the comments here but would like to raise a few other points. Number one: There are many times where someone has been wronged by poor customer service or a companies poor rules and policies. Several times I have observed fisherman on this website backing a sponsors poor decisions simply because they are sponsored by them. In my opinion this is immoral and is the equivalent to a special interest lobbyist in DC. Number Two: If a fisherman/guide writes an article or makes a video/show about a product do your research and see if this person is sponsored by that company. If the person is sponsored by that company then do additional research about that product before you buy. If no one else is talking about it (accept people who are sponsored by it) and its been on the market for a while: RED FLAG. Some examples of this would be Banjo Minnow, Flying Lure, Berkley Nanofil. Number Three: If you are sponsored by a company or a specific product, ask your self if you would still be making that video or writing that article if that company hadn't given you anything or paid you a dime.
 
Coyute, CO   2/27/2013 10:07:21 AM
For me it's about the individual who is sponsored. There are a bunch of tools out there who manage to get sponsorships. Whether they are a good fisherman or not, whether they are good people or not - somehow they managed to get sponsored. The clique sponsorships bug me the most, "if you are not down with Jesus, we are not interested." If a person is a total dick or if a person lacks credibility and character, I will look elsewhere. If a promotional guy is a good person who has sound ethics and morals and isn't just a used car salesman wannabe, I will certainly listen to what they have to say. Same thing goes with tackle companies. If the company sponsors a bunch of known douche-bags, I will look elsewhere. For example, I will never buy Nike products again because they sponsor know douche-bags like Lance Armstrong, Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, etc. Take Trokar hooks for example, they have 7 major bass guys as their promo guys and only 3 really appeal to me. The rest seem like chumps. Because 3 of the 7 seem like quality folk, the product is good, and they are stationed in Colorado, the chances are good that if I need some more hooks, I will look to Trokar. I don't have a 1000 Facebook friends but the few I do have I trust. Same goes for Tackle companies and their 'pros.' If a company supports a d-bag, I will not be supporting that company. Another thing, just because a guy has a few sponsors doesn't mean he knows much about fishing. It seems to me that more than anything tackle companies want a pretty boy who speaks well in public and who never says anything abrasive or controversial. When it comes down to it, I want to do business with real men, not some patch pirate with a winning smile. I look to pros as to what not to buy more than anything. I doubt I would be a good promo guy because I am too honest and tell it exactly like I see it. I say what I mean and mean what I say - and that bugs a lot of people. :)
 
LastKast2010, CO   2/27/2013 10:30:44 AM
A patch pirate- d-bag.... God i love Coyute..... preach on brother.... Great blog Alan... this is AWSOME. And as a sponsored fisherman... i hope that i have gained some respect on this forum, and i really hope i am in GOOD graces with Coyute.... I agree totally with the whole sponsorship theme... I run the Dynamic Lures Pro Staff and we get a TON of "not worthy" requests!!! We (I) try hard to keep our staff at the highest level and only sponsor folks that walk the walk... and lastly.... kingfisher... your on my short list... lol
 
Alan Peak (moosegoose), CO   2/27/2013 10:43:43 AM
These are some really great responses!
 
Coyute, CO   2/27/2013 11:40:23 AM
I have talked with you on a few occasions Kris, and you certainly seem like (and present yourself) as a quality guy. And we know you can fish. What was important to me was that you let me talk and seemed genuinely interested in what I was saying and responded to my questions without a condescending attitude. Those are the people I like to do business with, whether it's related to fishing or not. Good blog Alan. I almost felt like you were reading my mind when I saw the title of this. I was contemplating writing something similar in the forums but I doubt I would have handled it with as much tact. In fact, I would have probably been intentionally tacky to get my point across. :) Bottom line, if a guy comes on here and starts plugging a brand on a stocking cap that was handed out in hopes of gaining another sponsor, they lose credibility in my eyes.
 
bassneyes, CO   2/27/2013 11:51:08 AM
I have been around the around the fishing world for awhile as a guide, tournament angler, and just all around fisherman. I personally have seen and heard of good and bad things. Most of the guys out there have a Vip program sponsorship, its like the minor leagues. They get discount on items and maybe a set amount of free items. They arent getting paid monetarily. Some might get paid to work shows, but most of those guys dont want to work them, they just want there gear and swag and want to go fishing. I personally know a guy that is sponsored by a rod company that doea this.. He wears a shirt and goes.fishing, he.doesnt do anything extra.. Not sure how he still has that. Ive seen guys lie about there bait or even fish. They catch a fish on one bait, and say they caught it on there sponsors bait. There lying to everyone. If they dont believe in the product, they shouldnt be representing that company. Most of the men and woman that are representing companies truley do believe in the product, but there are a few that just want to look good and collect whatever they can get. The big name pros do get paid to use a product, and they do use them. They might use other products as well, but with all the press, cameras and spectators they cant hide a bait or anything, if they say there used.it.to win a tournament, im sure they did. Its hard to get sponsorships, and even harder to keep them. Just because I might be sponsored by company x, doesnt mean you have to use it. I believe in it, and its my job to show you the product, how to use it and why I like it, and im hoping it will help you out.
 
Bottom Bouncer, CO   2/27/2013 7:47:39 PM
Got tangled up in one of them. They love you when you say good things about their stuff, But when you get something that does not work or is crap. You give a bad review, it's the last time they send you anything. They dn't like bad.
 
Fishful Thinker, CO   2/27/2013 9:12:46 PM
I'd like to throw out one more point...consider that tournaments, fishing TV and radio shows, expo's, magazines, websites and forum boards, or any other media or fishing education would not exist without sponsors. You'd likely never hear of of new product except from the company itself, assuming any of them had enough budget to develop new stuff. Love or hate for the sponsored anglers and media outlets aside, this industry, like most recreational industries, would not exist without a way to inform the masses about new products . My initial response was directed at the blog's author Alan's forays into his sponsorships, but truly reflects how I feel about the business side of fishing. Your responses make it clear that viewers see through bogus or gratuitous endorsements, but don't hold that against the industry as a whole. I'll close with the fact that I made a ton more money in previous careers working less hours, and I could make a lot more now by grabbing every promotional partner I could, but when life boils down to it, your reputation and credibility is all you got. I know of many other sponsored anglers that feel this way, as well as many that grab quick bucks. As consumers, vote with your dollars. CL
 
Alan Peak (moosegoose), CO   2/27/2013 10:16:44 PM
Very well said Chad. I am so glad that many people put their opinions in. I know it helps me and hopefully others! One interesting thing that I have noticed, readership seems to be a lot lower for the review as opposed to the info blog.. Not too many articles, blogs or films stick in my head more than the ones that seem like a blatant advertisement. Truthfully, I only remember one good film from the Fly Fishing Film Tour this year. All the others seemed to be more of a commercial. Which, I cannot blame the people for taking the sponsorship as there is a definite love of the sport. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR INPUT!!!!
 
Tiny Stevens, CO   2/28/2013 12:20:37 AM
Alan, I have waited for a few days to comment on this Blog... first off, thanks for writing it! That takes guts and candor, and I appreciate that! I am glad as well that there has been so many responses from all sorts of fisherman and industry pros. You and I have had a few talks about this very subject, and I am glad that we have had them! Bottom line for me buddy, you have to go with what works for you, and go with your gut instincts! Very well done Alan! Tiny
 
Coloradomrg, CO   2/28/2013 9:13:43 AM
"when life boils down to it, your reputation and credibility is all you got." Excellent point CL. I learned at a very young age that you shouldn't ever put your name on something that isn't your best work. As I've grown older I attach that sentment to I wouldn't put my name on something that doesn't reflect my personal level of professionalism or quality. When I'm recommended a product by someone I trust, and I'm needing something that does what that product does I move that specific product up on my list of priorities. Professionals have to be careful what products they are willing to rep/stand behind if they want to earn and keep a good reputation, and consumers need to be careful who they are willing to trust for reccomendations if they want to be consistently happy with their purchases based on those reccomendations.
 
TigerHunter, CO   3/1/2013 10:42:55 AM
It's why I don't watch most national fishing shows... There really isn't to much difference other than production value of most national fishing shows, and the helicopter lure, flying lure, banjo minnow infomercials. Maybe I'm a bit off since I haven't watched a national fishing show in almost a decade.... somehow I doubt it. There are plenty of Pro's and Guide's that approach sponsorship with plenty of integrity. Others are so blatant with their used car dealer approach it's hard to stomach. This entire subject reminds me of Ricky Bobby! If you don't chew big red then....
 
Tbubb, CO   3/1/2013 12:03:15 PM
If someone peddles stuff that doens't work or hold up, it reflects on both the manufacturer and the peddler. I refuse to "like" something I don't like. In the end, you have a little money and you have a little reputation/credibility/conscience. I guess it comes down to what is most important to you.
 
Tbubb, CO   3/1/2013 12:08:16 PM
PS- anybody want a Bill Dance "eel" lure in original packaging?
 
Bearman77, CO   3/1/2013 2:12:01 PM
It's kinda like Nascar, but very rarely hear the Pros thank their sponors with shameless plugs the Nascar drivers do, they do thank them, but you do hear KVD or Ike, say "I had a hella day of fishin' cause of what this Strike King spinnerbait was doing for me!" They have there meet and greets, and wear their sponors logo nonstop, but they do it cause their sponors buy everything in their boats and gear! I would wear a Bass Pro tattoo if Bass Pro wanted supply me with gear the rest of my life!
 
JKaboom, CO   3/3/2013 12:35:15 AM
Great blog topic Alan!! There are many great points and I've fished with a few of you guys. It boils down to what works and integrity or lack thereof.... in your case I'm sure you will be fine :)
 
brookieflyfisher, CO   3/3/2013 9:53:04 PM
Some of you may know that I run the Notre Dame Fishing Club. Most of our funding comes from the University, but in recent years we've tried to get some sponsorships. Here's my take on the whole experience. 1. Most sponsors aren't interested if you're outside the SEC 2. Most sponsorships suck. It's just not what we imagined. They're hard to take advantage of and most of the time it's just not worth the effort. 3. You need to win in order to get good sponsorships. It takes a whole other tier of effort and dedication from both you and your club members. You basically have to become a business organization, and that's not something I'm willing to do. Our next president will be a business major so hopefully we can turn the corner and get on the level of Purdue, Ohio State, and other regional fishing powers.
 
skiman, CO   3/5/2013 9:46:37 AM
I'm never going to be a "professional" fisherman, nor would I want to. Just like in any industry, you'll find the "users and abusers"...those that only want to promote themselves at any cost. I watch some fishing shows, and if I really listen to what's being said, I can pretty much pick out the fakes and flakes. Integrity in ANY profession is sadly lacking these days, and I appreciate the guy that puts it all out there, and isn't afraid to ask the hard questions. Thanks Alan, for an intersting and informative take on sponsorship. Good Fishing! Ski
 
RJC, CO   5/6/2013 12:58:06 AM
Hey PBS, I'd be happy to try some of the Banjo Minnows or Flying Lures. I've never tried either and I'm curious to see how well they'd do with attracting some pike or some trout! My email is rjc490@msn.com if you want to contact me. Thanks and fish on!
 
Alan Peak
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