Given the state of the economy, I have a feeling that the number of tournament anglers competing for cash and prizes will be down this year, and that includes competition in high-end professional tournaments such as those conducted by FLW and BASS.
The average professional fisherman who competes in the pro circuit can spend anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 a year depending on how many tournaments he or she enters. Anglers fishing the BASS Elite Series this year will pay $57,500 just in entry fees. Add in expenses such as equipment, gas, lodging and meals and... well, you get the picture.
Much of those expenses are offset by sponsors. The more accomplished and successful the fishermen, the more sponsors he or she is likely to have. And therein lies the problem.
The downturn in the economy has sponsors taking a hard look at how much money or product they want to contribute, with many companies either not renewing or renegotiating the contracts they have with individual fishermen.