Editor’s Note: Mark Menendez, 55-years-old from Paducah, Kentucky, has earned more than $1.25 million in his fishing career. He’s fished competitively on the Bassmaster Elite Series (https://www.bassmaster.com/elite) for over than 29 years and has competed in several Bassmaster Classics. Menendez is a former real-estate agent who’s followed his dream and his passion to live his dream and support his family through his fishing. The true test of any athlete in any sport isn’t just about how great they are, but how long they do it. He has 34, top-10 finishes in the tournaments he’s fished. To learn more about Menendez, visit his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/TV-Show/Mark-Menendez-Bass-TV-2033832306840265/. And, according to Menendez, “To compete on the highest level of bass fishing, anglers must understand that their fishing is a business”
“What’s the biggest bass you have ever caught,” is another question that comes up often in seminars. I caught the biggest bass that ever was caught in the first 31 years of Bassmaster that weighed 13 pounds, 9 ounces at Richland-Chambers in Texas (http://richlandchambers.uslakes.info/). That fish was a life-changing catch for me and a pivotal point in my bass-fishing career.
I also learned how to work with the media after catching that bass in 1997 and put on my own media event the next year. I invited an up-and-coming writer at that time named Mark Hicks, who is now a Senior Writer for Bassmaster, and four other tournament pros to the event, providing places to stay and food. Within two days, Mark was able to gather 32 stories and photos from that media event that helped feed his family and promoted not only my career but also the careers of those other four professional fisherman. By working with the media and always being available when a media person needs to do a story or a TV show with me is a major reason I’ve been able to not only fish the Elite Series on Bassmaster, but also to earn a living for my family and continue to compete for 29 years.
Many people ask me how I work with the media and get people from the media to write about me and do television shows, videos and social-media posts with me. First of all, you have to have something special happen as a tournament fisherman. For me, it was catching the biggest fish ever caught in a bass tournament. Another vehicle is winning big tournaments.
And more importantly, when you get a call from a media person, always call them back. Yes, there are some fisherman who don’t return the calls of the media when the media needs information or photography. However, if the media knows they can depend on you, and that you will call them back when they want to write a story, that helps you build your reputation with the media and makes those writers and TV hosts understand that they can depend on you. You don’t waste the media’s time. You make sure when any media shows up, you’re prepared, you’re on time, and all your equipment is ready to go. All they have to do is step-in the boat and go out on the water with you.
I have quite a few members of the media who have called me and said, “Hey, I need a three-minute quote from you about how to fish a crankbait, how to fish a spinner bait, how to choose the color of lures you fish, or what do you do when bass won’t bite.” I’ll call them right back because I realize they’re on a deadline and have to have a quote immediately. And, if I can give it to them, they won’t call another fisherman.
Also, working with the media is not only about being available, but getting to know them and building relationships with them to be a friend, as well as a fisherman. Although there are many articles, videos and TV shows created every year, a very-small number of media people are creating most of that content. And, if they know they can count on you, they will call you and realize that you’ll call them back and help them do their jobs. That media coverage allows you to promote your sponsors, help build your brand and perhaps even get a cover photo on a magazine, which I had on “Bassmaster Magazine” in the spring of 2020. I’ve been building those relationships for the last 35 years. So, I’m no longer just a bass fisherman, and the people who call me are no longer just media people. I’m their friend, and they’re my friends. I help them make their livings, and they help me make my living. It is a very symbiotic relationship.
To learn more about bass fishing, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro,” at http://amzn.to/YpoJvD, available in Kindle and print versions, and Click here for the Audible link. If necessary, copy and paste link into your browser.
Tomorrow: Knowing What Works Best for Your Bass Fishing – The Best Lures with Mark Menendez