How Much Does A Pro Fisherman Make?

How Much Does A Pro Fisherman Make

Generally, professional sport fishermen earn anywhere from $60,000 per year on average from prize money and sponsorship deals, all the way up to millions for top competitors who have more lucrative brand deals. Professional sport fishing is a sport in which fishermen compete in tournaments, usually fishing for Bass in freshwater lakes, attempting to catch the largest or sometimes most fish within a period of time. Professional sport fishermen make money through multiple avenues, including tournament prize money, sponsorship deals, branding, and entrepreneurial moves. Due to this, the income of professional sport fishermen varies greatly.

Prize Money

A major portion of a sport fisherman’s income is from prize money. Professional sport fishing usually occurs in tournament formats, where the top earners make a range of payouts if they catch the largest or most fish. Prizes for sport fishermen can range greatly. In small local tournaments, the prize might only be a few hundred dollars. In larger regional or national tournaments, sport fishermen can rake in $100,000 and more for netting first place. 

One example of the prize money ladder is in Classic Bassmaster tournaments, the first place winner earns $300,000, while the second place winner earns $50,000 and the third place $40,000.

Brand Deals and Supplemental Income

Prize money is a key payout for pro fishermen, though it is not the only income factor. Just like other athletes, professional sport fishermen can make a lot of money through marketing themselves, forming sponsorships and brand deals with fishing companies.

On the low end, brand sponsorships for professional fishermen range from $1,500 per month per brand deal, all the way up to tens and hundreds of thousands. While there is not as much sponsorship money in fishing as there is in sports such as soccer or basketball, prominent fishermen can make a great amount of brand money alongside their tournament payouts.

Top Earners

Through prize money and supplemental income routes, top professional sport fishermen easily make millions of dollars per year. As a professional fisherman wins more and more tournaments, their reputation grows, opening them up to brand deals with industry-leading companies. Additionally, many of the top-flight pros use their fame and success to launch their own fishing brands, opening them up to an endless stream of income.

When looking at top-flight fishermen’s prize money alone, the top ten earners of all time easily netted over $1,000,000 in prize money throughout their careers. The number one prize money earner, Kevin VanDam, has earned just shy of $7,000,000 throughout his career in just prize money!


How much do pro fishermen make on average?

On average, pro fishermen make around $60,000 a year. Top fishermen can make well above millions through lucrative brand deals and prize payouts. Sport fishermen rely on tournament winnings and branding to build their income, allowing for a great range in average pay. If a fisherman were to place first place in a larger regional tournament, they would make hundreds of thousands of dollars, boosting their yearly average pay by far.