I'm VERY excited to share this interview with you. I've not seen this type of information available to average anglers before. If you are a tournament angler that relys on sponsorship, you NEED to watch/read this. If you would like to see the video version of this that shows the slides Erik is discussing in this interview, please scroll to the bottom and I will link or embed it there.
Alright. Man, how are you?
Erik: Yeah, good! Just hanging out here in Revelstoke, B.C. Kind of getting away from all the fishing world, if I’m honest, out here.
Erik: But I love doing stuff like this, so yeah.
Jason: Yeah, that’s awesome. Snow machines out on the snow there. You guys got dumped on! And early too.
Erik: Yeah. Yeah. I started later than some of my buddies, but I went out… when did I go out? My first ride this year was mid-November and it was like well over a meter of snow up top. And, you know, actually, as soon as I’m done with this, my girlfriend and I are gonna go up today. You know, it’s pretty full-on right now. Yeah.
Erik: So, I’m just gonna try to get as much in as I can before I head back down to Florida and start fishing again.
Jason: Yeah. Yeah. A big jump for you. Hey, so, just in case there’s people that don’t know you… I mean, I know you from kind of way back. You actually… I don’t know if you know this or not, but I first started fishing, you know, because my dad passed away and I really wanted to get into it, but I wasn’t very good. [Laughs] So, I remember I went out and I was honestly looking for, you know, ‘Hey, is there somebody that can teach me how to fish?’ And I found your website, Bass Class.
Jason: I’m not even sure if you still do any of that stuff. But I found it and you took me out and caught me some of the biggest fish. I still show pictures to people of the large-mouth bass that I caught on a fluke. I remember we were on your boat…
Jason: … and you just told me to drop the senko down. And I remember I was totally against senkos at the time because like everybody was using them, right?
Erik: [Crosstalk] Yes!
Jason: So, we’re sitting at the front of the boat and I’m just kind of watching you tie on some line or something you’ve got going on, and all of a sudden you look at me like, ‘Dude, you got a fish! Dude, lift up! Lift up!’
Jason: It was the biggest fish I ever got. So, I just want to… I don’t know, you really got me hooked, I’ve got to stay.
Jason: If it wasn’t for you, I don’t think I’d be fishing as much as I did. So, I just want to say thank you. Kind of a suck-up moment here for me. [Laughs]
Erik: Awesome! No, I do remember that day, of course. It was in Dalrymple, wasn’t it? Lake Dalrymple, was it?
Jason: No, we went to your lake.
Jason: We went to Balsam. Yeah.
Erik: Okay! Right, right, right.
Erik: Yeah, for sure. That Bass Class was… that’s kind of how I got… Well, I was obviously fishing before I started Bass Class, but I started it when I was 18. I was in college and I was doing like the CSFL tournaments and whatnot, or Bassmania, they’d call it at the time. And I was really enjoying it. And then I went to college in Barrie, which brought me to Barrie rural area. I was in marketing, in Georgian College and they make you do a work co-op every summer, and then the next year it transitions to a winter co-op. So, you’re supposed to work… you’re supposed to get a job in the industry for four months, but it has an opportunity that you can start your own company instead and run your own business for the summer. So, that’s why I started Bass Class… it was kind of like a college project. And then it did really well, and I actually paid for all of my college with guiding.
Jason: That’s awesome. Wow.
Jason: I did not know that.
Erik: And then…
Jason: That is amazing.
Erik: And then obviously I kept doing it because it was a great feeling taking out guys like yourself and teaching them these techniques that, to be honest, I kind of take these for granted. I’ve been doing these for so long and you kind of forget what it’s like to learn this again, and you see it through these peoples’ eyes and that’s quite addicting. SO, for… oh like 14 years I ran Bass Class.
Erik: And then, yeah, like you mentioned, if I’m doing it anymore, I… Last year, I didn’t do one day of guiding, but last year was a crazy year. By last year, I mean this year. 2020. The summer of 2020.
Jason: [Laughs] Okay.
Erik: It was crazy. But also, I was in the States a lot of it and when I was in Canada, I wasn’t really able to leave the house, so there was that. But, yeah, ’19 I did a little bit. Unfortunately, I’m phasing it out. And not because I don’t want to do it… just because I don’t have time.
Jason: For sure.
Erik: Guiding… And I always considered myself an educator more than a guide. I like that aspect, and my business is called Bass Class Professional Fishing School. I really want to emphasize on, yeah, I’m taking you out on a trip to fish, but I want to teach you the techniques. And I really emphasize that. I enjoyed it. But then other opportunities kind of showed up for me in the fishing world, so I just kind of started going that route.
Jason: Yeah. Can we talk about a little bit how you went from… Because you were fishing CSFL. And was the goal there to like actually get to some place big, whether it be FLW or BASS or whatever? Did you ever have that mindset of like a goal where you’re like, ‘Okay, this is what I’m doing… I’m gonna be a pro fisherman’?
Erik: No! My goal… Well, I shouldn’t say that. Yes. As a kid, my dream a hundred percent. I was getting all the magazines and reading about Kevin VanDam, you know, all these guys, and I thought it was amazing. But I honestly didn’t think as a Canadian kid I had any chance. I just kinda figured, ‘I’ll just get big in Canada as I can.’ So, that’s why fishing… yeah, Bass Mania or CSFL in Canada was a big thing. And guiding. And that’s kind of all you can do in Canada. You can fish the summer months. If you do have a great year… And my Partner Tom Hardy and I had a couple awesome years and we actually [cuts out] in Canada. Won a few boats. You know, that was pretty sweet. That’s kind of the pinnacle you can get to in Canada. You’re still not making a living doing that.
Erik: And I was happy with that. I have… I’ve always had a job on the side. I’ve never only exclusively relied on fishing. That would be guiding or tournament fishing. I was a sales rep for a long time in the fishing industry and then now I’m running another company that does training courses across the country. So, I’ve always had something else to make sure I can make a living and fishing has always been that kind of, ‘If it makes money, great.’ If not, I just love it and I want to do as well as I can at it.
So, yeah, no. To be honest, It’s funny like a lot of my clients would ask me when I was out, you know, guiding with Bass Class, they were like, ‘Oh, have you ever thought about going to the States or what you’re doing?’ And I’d always say, ‘No, it’s really hard down there. I haven’t really had any…’ I’d just kind of brush it off like, nah, whatever.
And then all of a sudden, my good friend Ashley Rae and I entered the FLW Canada Cup on Bay of Quinte and the winners of that were to go onto the Coast Championship, and then the winner of that would go onto the Forrest Wood Cup. Ashley and I won the FLW Canada Cup. That took us down to the Coast Championship in Guntersville. I was lucky enough to win my division, which is the international division, in that event, which put me right to the Forrest Wood Cup and qualified me for the tour. So, all of a sudden between two events, it’s like, boom! I was there.
Erik: So, then I was like, ‘Oh, okay, well, I might as well give her my all now.’ I’m the type of guy that, once I’m involved in something, I’m gonna do everything I can.
Erik: Which is what… I know what we’re gonna talk about today a lot of is the business side, and that is a huge part of this.
Erik: So, at that point… it was literally at that moment once I qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup in 2019, that’s when I really got into the… Which I kind of hate doing it, but you’ve got to promote yourself side of the business.
Erik: You’ve really got to sell yourself. And I’ve never done that before. I’ve been selling fishing tackle. I was a sales rep for Canada Pro, which was Okuma, LIVETARGET… we were Lunkerhunt at one point. Northland lures… A bunch of different products. So, I knew how to sell stuff. I went to school for marketing, and at the time, I was running my own business, which was selling and marketing to a different industry as well. So, I now just had to change those angles to promoting Eril Luzak, and what do I have to offer is what it becomes.
Jason: Interesting. Interesting. So, kind of walk me through that. Like, where did you… When you got down there, you were just down there, I guess, to fish the FLW, right? You were like, ‘Oh, alright, this is awesome… I’m gonna be a fishing kinda pro.’ You know? Where did you kind of go like ‘Okay, so, now I’ve got to sit down and try and market myself if I want to keep doing this’?
Jason: Did you have that moment or were you just kinda, like you know, this is part of it now. [Laughs]
Erik: I guess the big thing was, I finally had something that I felt like I could promote to sponsors. Where before, I mean… and I’m not, like… Listen, I love fishing tournaments in Canada. I’m gonna do it forever. Even if I’m not fishing the States in the future, I’ll still fish tournaments in Canada. But it’s not really an angle you can promote to get much from sponsors. You can totally get rods and reels and equipment, maybe a little bit of money here and there, but it’s not a big thing in Canada.
So, I never really… I was happy to be on the teams I was on. I would proudly wear their jerseys at tournaments and, you know, wear the logo and stuff. And that was kind of it for me. So, it was really good to just… you were on the team, you go work the shows. The big thing in Canada is you’ve got to… you spend your time at the Spring Fishing & Boat Show, working the show, in the booths. Right?
Erik: That’s how you kind of… that’s how you build up some free product. So, you’re actually working hours at a show and in return, getting paid a product. And, at the very least, a really good discount.
So, that was cool. I was happy with that. Wasn’t making… I never really got money from my sponsors in Canada. But then as soon as I had this American opportunity… and mainly it was the Forrest Wood Cup, which is huge. It’s viewed by… it was aired at five… what was it? Five hundred million households across North America.
Erik: That the TV show for the Forrest Wood Cup was aired at. So, I have these actual facts and figures now to put into a marketing kit and media kit and send to some companies and say, ‘Listen, this is real promotional value here if you want to tag along with me.’ So, I just had this opportunity to basically sell myself, finally. Where, before, I’m the type of guy that, if I don’t truly believe in what I’m selling, then I won’t sell it. Or even promote it, for that matter. And I’m not saying that I didn’t believe in myself. I just didn’t think that, just staying as a local angler, I had a real thing to sell. All of a sudden, now I had something to sell. But before… You know, again, you can still promote products and be a good team member and do all that, but you’re not… it’s hard to sell that.
Jason: So, now you’re kind of switching… You’re still, obviously, selling sponsored stuff.
Jason: And trying to get their… there and there, but now what we’re talking about, I guess, today, the business side of it is going be more the Erik Luzak side, where you’re kind of promoting yourself. Can you kind of talk about… and maybe you want to show me whatever you want to do here. How do you share yourself? Like you’re talking about this media kit.
Jason: And I know from my business, for an example, a media kit from, let’s say, In-Fisherman.com… If I want to advertise on In-Fisherman.com, they’ll send me a media kit and you can get different size ads and certain publications and then it costs you a certain amount. Is that kind of what we’re looking at here?
Jason: Or is it totally different?
Erik: Kind of. And, yeah, we’ll share my screen and I’ll go through one of mine. I have a demo on. It’s actually really my actual media kit I’m using this year. I’m just… at the bottom, two proposals, I just kinda made them… left them blank. So, you fill in the blanks, kind of, as you’re approaching new companies.
But it’s very similar. Mine’s a bit more maybe all-purpose. So, it starts off as a demo about myself, and then it goes on about a review of last year. so, again, I can use this media kit to send to current sponsors, I can use this to send to new sponsors, I can use this to send to someone who doesn’t even know what fishing is and doesn’t know who I am. So, it’s kind of a background of everything. And then at the bottom, these are the opportunities you can… you know, to be a part of partnering with me.
So, it’s similar. But, yeah, I don’t have like yeah, ‘Here’s this ad space for a hundred dollars and here’s this add space for five hundred dollars.’ It’s a little bit more maybe broad, I would say. Because then the main thing that your media kit needs to do is really open up a conversation with someone.
Erik: So far, my media kit has done well for me. I put a ton of work into it. But it’s rare that I just send it to someone and then they go, ‘Yep, we’ll take proposal number! Sign us up!’
Erik: It never works that way. It’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, really interesting… maybe we can work on this.’ And then you kind of start a conversation afterwards an finalize on some sort of package.
Jason: So, when you send this out… I guess, let’s talk about current sponsors. So, when you send this out, say, to a current sponsor, are you like, ’hey, so, this is my view for this year. You know, this is kind of how any people I’m gonna reach…’ Or like how what do you talk about in there to current sponsors? Is it just an update on Erik Luzak for 2021?
Erik: Yeah. Yeah. And so, even when I was a sales rep for Okuma and all those companies, I also kind of oversaw the pro staff team. And it’s funny, we had like 20-some odd guys across Ontario, our regional pro staff, and maybe four or five of them would actually send me some sort of year in review recap. ‘Here’s what I did.’ Just how their tournament season went. You know, we don’t care if they’re in magazines and stuff. You know, we want to just make sure they’re promoting the brand. And that can be as basic as it is. And it’s funny… I would receive all these, but I never did them myself.
Erik: And, I mean, that’s just the way it was. I was in the industry, so I was in the cuff. You know, they knew what I was doing. Like, the people above me at Okuma and all that… I would just talk to them and, you know, whatever. So, I kind of learned it from that part of it, for sure, that like just little bits of updates on how the season went, it goes huge. On any level. Regional level, whatever.
Erik: And then, while you’re doing that, you might as well just add on, ‘Well, here’s what I’m gonna be doing next year.’ Super simple. So, all I’ve done is just maybe… prettified it. Prettified? Is that it? What’s the word I’m looking for? Beautified it a little more.
Jason: There you go!
Erik: Beautified it a little more.
Jason: Prettified, beautified… [Laughs]
Erik: Yeah! True. And made it more fancy and then… you know, I’ll show you some graphics, real stats.
So, FLW did a great job at doing some… well, now MLF, which we can talk about that. But FLW is becoming MLF officially this year. They gave us some great stats about how many impressions your vehicle wrap can get through at the year…
Erik: What their demographics are… You know, who their fans are. So, I’ve taken some of those facts and put it in my media kit. And what I also do is, they send me… Actually, I should open up theirs. I could probably find theirs too. They sent me their… they call theirs their Pro Angler Deck, is what theirs is called. But it’s a media kit and I just… Sometimes if I’m sending it to a company who doesn’t know maybe what those tournaments are I’m doing, I send my media kit and then I also attach the MLF one as well.
Erik: So, it gives it… That’s more like what you would see from a media standpoint because they’re more of a media outlet.
Erik: And then there’s my professional one. So, yeah, what mine is, it’s kind of… yeah. ‘Here’s what I did last year.’ To be honest, though, last… actually, last year I sent two. I sent one that was straight-up just a year in review of 2019 and then another one which was a proposal for 2020. And to be honest, I think it was a little bit almost confusing to some of my sponsors and partners. Like, it was… they couldn’t tell the difference maybe. So, this year I combined them into one and it seemed to be a lot easier. One conversation. ‘Here’s what I did last year, here’s what I’m gonna do next year,’ type of thing.
Jason: Nice. Nice.
Jason: Did you want to share it with us? Could we take a peek at it?
Erik: Yeah! Yeah, absolutely. So, let’s see here… So, I’ll just go Share Screen… I guess Application… Well, I’ll just start sharing. So, let me know how that goes. Do you see anything yet? You still see me?
Jason: Black screen right now. We’ll give it a minute, though. Maybe it just takes a sec. Oh, there we go! So, I’m looking at me. Oh, there we go! Erik Luzak. There we go. So, I’m looking at your media kit. Perfect.
Erik: Okay. Yeah. So, it’s funny, you’re the first person I’m showing this to that isn’t one of my sponsors or partners. And it’s funny, I’m actually happy to do this because I put a ton of work into this and to have only a… really a handful of people see it is kind of a shame.
Right off the bat, as you can see, it’s got plaid. I’m wearing plaid. My view on marketing is you always have to have some sort of little bit of a niche. Something so they remember you, recognize you. And it can be cheesy. But for me, as soon as I… even when I was down at the Forrest Wood Cup, it was just the fact that I was Canadian.
Jason: That’s awesome.
Erik: You know, Canadian down there. And they all… they would know me. So, I did the Cup and the following year did the tour. All these pros that had been doing the tour for 10 years knew who I was. No, I shouldn’t say all of them. A bunch of them had come up to me and been like, ‘Hey, the Canadian guy!’ They may not actually know who I was, they probably didn’t know my name, but they knew I was the Canadian guy.
Erik: Right? So, I might as well play on that. So, the plaid, that was new this year and that was basically because in Florida, I caught a real big fish when the media boat was actually on me and I was wearing this exact plaid sweater that I’m wearing right now. So, I just kind of played…
Jason: Too awesome!
Erik: Yeah. Just, again, it’s cheesy but it’s something that… to… It’s a jumping off point. Whatever you want to…
Jason: And I kind of find… to be honest with you, and maybe it’s because I’m a little bit worried to kind of advertise myself. But for me, I find a lot of like advertising is kind of cheesy, right? Like, you’re showing the biggest fish you caught, you’ve got the plaid because you’re Canadian, but it is a selling feature, right? And I think a lot of people are… If it’s like me, anyway, I’m kind of nervous to put myself out there and share things, you know, about me. So, don’t be worried about cheesy! I think it’s awesome!
Erik: Yeah, and it is kind of… I can make this a little bigger, actually. It is kind of… Yeah, I agree with that. I don’t like just being like, ‘Here’s pictures of me! Pictures of me! Blah blah blah blah!’
Erik: But you kind of have to do it, right?
Jason: Yeah. Yeah.
Erik: So, first off, right off the bat, I’ve got to give credit to… So, my girlfriend’s family, they run a motorcycle magazine publication here in Canada. They’ve been doing it for 20 years, so they’ve got really good, you know, publication skills. So, shoutout. So, her mom actually made me the first version of my media kit and then… So, I didn’t do this from scratch myself. But that was in 2019, and the last two years I basically revamped it.
So, she did this in InDesign. I don’t know if there’s any kind of design people listening to this, but I use Adobe InDesign and that’s because it was first done for me in InDesign, and now all I do is click on boxes… Well, here, I can reopen that here, actually. Is this the demo one? Yeah. So, here’s the design kit version of it.
So, I just go through, and let’s say I want to change my cover photo. Well, I was gonna say I’ll change one of these. You just click on the photo and then you go into your files and it just, boom, changes that photo for you.
Erik: So, that’s how I’ve done this. And the over the last two years, I’ve basically revamped this 100 percent. So, there’s the design view of it but we’ll go back to the real one.
Erik: So, and then I save it as a PDF and obviously send it to anyone who I’m talking to in PDF format.
One of the big things is, we are emailing things back and forth, so you’ve got to condense it. I find, you know, big files don’t send well. So, this is condensed a little bit. But not too much so the pictures aren’t blurred, so that’s good.
So, anyway, right off the bat: Erik Luzak, professional angler. I always feel silly saying this because, I mean, I’m not really a professional angler. Like, I’m fishing the pro circuit, but I don’t do it 100 percent for a living. But you kind of have to say that.
Erik: So, realistically, I want to say semi-pro angler, but…
Jason: [Laughs] That wouldn’t sell as well.
Erik: Exactly. Yeah. And that’s funny, I talked to a few people like, ‘That’s awesome! You know, I’ve never let someone who makes a living fishing!’ And then I kind of say, ‘Well, I don’t only fish…’ But anyway, yeah. So, that’s pro angler or whatever.
Jason: Well, I think you kind of do, right? Like, I mean, okay, maybe you don’t make 100 percent of your income from it, but, I mean, just looking at your FLW stats, you got $38,000 last year in tournament winnings, so, I mean…
Jason: Good job there.
Erik: Which is great. But the entry fees are $40,000, so that… see, that’s…
Jason: [Laughs] So, you’re short a couple.
Erik: Yeah. So, anyway, and then it’s the cover page, so, you know, you always have to assume that someone’s going to open this up and read the cover and then skip straight to the end. So, right at the start I just put a couple highlights, okay? So, I finished fourth with Forrest Cup 2019 and this is how I got here... Can you see me notes here as I move them?
Jason: [Crosstalk] Yeah. Yup.
Erik: Okay, good. So, I don’t have to use a pointer. And I qualified through the FLW International Division Championship. I was a champion. That’s how I qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup, and that’s how I’m now still, now on my second year, on the MLF Pro Circuit. So, anyway, title page…
And yeah, you’ve got to get wicked picture that pops. So, this was a real iconic fish for me, actually, I caught during the second event of the Pro Circuit in Florida. Really cool. I got video footage of it all. But this, it was on day three, which was actually day four because day three got canceled.
But either way, this was the final day, and I was having a tough day. I had a limit, but they were all dinks. And I went into this little canal where they’re spawning. We were in this time where some fish were spawning, some fish were coming in to spawn, and some fish were done spawning. And this big girl here… Now, she only weighed about just under seven pounds, but it was honestly the body of a nine-pounder. I cruise into this bay and I literally have seven pounds with five fish and it’s like two in the afternoon. So, I’m like, ‘Ah, well, whatever, I made it to the final day… I’ll cash the check, I’ll be happy.’
And then I see this wake coming towards the boat in this canal. Literally like a wake coming like at me. And I’m like, what the heck is that? So, I cast… I can’t remember. Some sort of swim bait by it. I literally bump into this waking object with my swim bait and it doesn’t even react. It keeps swimming right towards my trolling motor and I look down and… I had a marshal in my boat and I tell him, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, it’s a freaking ten-pounder.’
And it’s just swimming right underneath the surface, doesn’t give a care about my boat. And then as I’m looking at it, the media boat comes down the canal to take pictures of me. And I’m like, ‘Oh, guys, be careful, there’s this big fish… I’m looking at her.’ And it swims over to the media boat. They see it. They’re like, ‘Oh my God!’ And then, they’re not allowed to say anything, so they kind of had to kind of like cover their mouths and pretend they didn’t see it. But they kind of…
Erik: Right? Because they’re not allowed to help me. They kind of spooked it back to me and then I picked up a Hardy custom jig. That’s my team partner, Tom Hardy, makes these flippin’ jigs. I picked up a flippin’ jig, which I swear to God, I hadn’t thrown a flippin’ jig the entire time in this tournament or in Florida. It had straight braid right to the jig. Not a sight-fishing lure at all. But I was throwing everything else at this stupid fish and it wasn’t even flinching. I take one pitch with the jig and it kinda turned on it just a little bit. And I was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s gonna bite the jig.’
There’s a really good video on my YouTube. You can see me do like maybe four or five like really quick pitches to it and then it just turns down and eats it right in front of me. I set hook and, oh, it was just awesome.
Jason: That’s great.
Erik: So, really cool pictures of that. Which, I actually put that moment right here. So, this is, again, in my year in review. So, this is the camera boat. He’s a boat-length away from me, laying on the deck of his boat taking these pictures. You can see the big mouth just jumping there.
Erik: And then that’s me after landing, just freaking out. Like, I couldn’t believe it. The problem was, she was spawned out. She was on her way back to the lake and had like an inverted belly. Like, no stomach whatsoever.
Jason: Oh, wow.
Erik: But… [Laughs]
Erik: Yeah. So, that was my highlight of the year, and for that reason, I made that kind of my year in review. Like, why not? You’ve got to focus on the high points, right?
Erik: [Crosstalk] When you…
Jason: For your year in review, were you just looking… Sorry, I’m probably jumping ahead. Were you just focusing on that one instance or were you kind of generalizing the whole year?
Erik: No, I was generalizing the whole year.
Jason: Got it.
Erik: [Crosstalk, inaudible… 0:22:07].
Jason: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Sorry, I get excited easy. [Laughs]
Erik: Page one. Again, I’m assuming someone reading my media kit might have never seen a tournament or know who I am or anything. So, it was a really quick thing. I call it The Journey. It’s kind of how I got to where I am.
So, it talks about, you know, ‘Erik Luzak’s journey began on a small lake in Southern Ontario, Canada…’ So, Balsam Lake. That’s my home lake. And I literally would sit on the… I was very fortunate enough to have a waterfront cottage growing up, but we didn’t fish. We had this little crappy boat. We weren’t really, like… you know, we were new cottagers, I guess you could say. So, we didn’t really… we weren’t really like involved in the fishing world at all. My dad didn’t fish except for he knew how to put a worm on a hook… that was about it.
So, I would literally sit at the window and these tournaments would happen on Balsam Lake, and I would stare at these guys, sometimes through binoculars, however, to see what they were doing. I was just so intrigued by it. And I would beg my dad to take me fishing, you know, and slowly I learned, and I started teaching my dad how to fish. He would support it 100 percent the whole time and take me fishing any time I wanted to go.
But yeah, so that’s kind of talking about that. And then, you know, so, that was over20 years ago now. You know, and again, you’re kinda pumping your own tires. You have to kind of talk it up a little bit, so…
Erik: Going on about how I’m, you know, the first Canadian to qualify for the Forrest Wood Cup, which is… I’m not the first Canadian to qualify for the Cup… I’m the first Canadian to do it through the International Division.
Erik: So, any kind of bragging points you can think of that put you… to sell yourself separately from someone else.
Erik: And then I talked about how I started the club level and went on from there. It talks about my DVD series that I used to do. You know, I was thinking about that. Like, you’re doing a lot of YouTube stuff.
Erik: Man, I was on YouTube 15 years ago, and if I kept it going, I’d be bigger than the Googan guys, I think, right now.
Jason: Oh, yeah!
Jason: Oh, yeah! I remember when I first… like I said, when I first was looking you up and I found your website, I was like, okay! And again, I didn’t know anything about fishing, right? So, I’m like, ‘Okay, who’s this Erik Luzak guy?’ So, I tried to find anything I could about you before I went out there. Because I didn’t know, is this a rip-off? I mean, the guy calls his website Bass Class! Who teaches fishing?
Jason: Anyways, so, I went on and I saw old videos of you, Tom Hardy, and…
Erik: Yeah, yeah.
Jason: It was awesome. Yeah, if you kept it going, you’d be huge! It would be awesome!
Erik: I know. I truly didn’t post… I just started posting again this year and it’s going… it says like ‘Your most recent post was ten years ago!’
Jason: Oh, God! [Laughs]
Erik: Should’ve been doing that! Anyway, so, then my next page is my year in review. So, again, even if you don’t know who I am, you can still see what I did last year, but if you are a current sponsor, you’ll see that. So, this… yeah, this goes on. It was a weird year for me, for sure. You know, we got stopped right in the middle of it because of COVID and had to come… And they completely changed out schedule. So, it goes on to talk about that, and, yeah, talk…
My best finish of the year was 13 out of 160 pros on Harris Chain. That’s from this event here. So, again, talk about your selling points. And then that I did qualify… I did officially requalify for the pro circuit for 2021. So, they, out of 160 pros, they take 110 to go on for next year. So, that was a pretty thing. Even though I had a couple bombs, I still requalified, so that was nice.
And then this is what… You know, this is your basic highlights. And to be honest, this is my least favorite page of the whole thing, but you kinda… it’s like your resume. You kinda have to have it on it.
And to be in on it, if you’re not looking for money, just trying to get on some teams, sometimes this is all you really need to show to some sponsors. And this is all I… before, to be honest, this is all I had. I had a one-page kind of fishing resume and I talked about some of my highlight.
Here I really summarize it because I’m not gonna go through everything I’ve done with CSFL. I mean, so, it talks about overall 21 years a tournament angler, you know, whatever top 10 finishes… You know, it’s hard to really track that in Canada. In the States, they track these figures way more for you. And it talks about a couple of my National Classics that Tom and I won. CSFL National Classics, team of the years… You know, those are good things, I… you know, I think.
And then a quick little blurb about my schedule. And again, just throwing pictures, in you know? For one, it’s showing your current sponsors what you’re doing.
Erik: And then it’s showing kinda, you know, that you’re photogenic, you’re whatever, all that kind of jazz. These ones are… So, that was Chickamauga. That’s when I first grew the mustache. That was right after the COVID break when I came out with that, so… I tell you, it’s a different world now with a mustache.
Jason: Oh, yeah! I mean, it opens it up though, right? Like, I mean, people just…
Erik: [Laughs] Yeah!
Erik: New windows are opening up constantly for me. Yeah.
Jason: That’s right. Exactly.
Erik: And then you get into… So, you know, everyone wants to see, obviously, your social media and any exposure you get in. So, I just talk about sort of what I’ve done. So, In the Press, I call it. These are sometimes clickable links, but on this one, they are not. So, you can link these.
So, this is a video that they did of me. This is at the Forrest Wood Cup. They… in the parking lot right after weighing in, I did a walkthrough of my boat. And, so, that was a click right to that link. There was a podcast I did with FLW as well. This I wish I had a digital copy, but I don’t, but about… oof, five or maybe six years ago, Ontario, Canada did a really nice kind of feature on what I’ve done, but also talking about Bass Class a bit and our tournaments and whatnot with, you know, what we’ve done.
And so, you know, again, you’ve got to brag about yourself. I don’t love doing it. But anything… any sort of… It’s really important, I find, even the little things that get your name out there is also getting your partners’ names out there and your sponsors’ names out there. So, you’ve got to keep track of it and try to get proof of it and list it wherever you can. I mean, you kind of have to do that.
There are a lot of apps and companies that you can pay to do that for you. I choose to do it myself. And that comes in… right into social media. So, obviously, press and social media are very similar. Some of these are digital, some of them are paper, but either way, it’s all kind of the same thing.
Jason: Yeah, no, and that’s interesting that you would put that in there because I wouldn’t have thought…some of the other media kits that I’ve seen, they really are very resume, and this is so much different than what I thought it was gonna look like.
You know like even when you go to National Pro Staff, right? And you’re filling out your National Pro Staff. You know, whatever they call that. But it is very resume-like and it’s kind of like what tournaments have you won? You know, where you fish and all your highlights. But this is interesting. I like the idea of being able to showcase all the media stuff that you’ve done. That is very cool. This looks great.
Erik: Yeah. I think that’s more important than, ‘Here, I’ve done a hundred tournaments in my…’ You know, if someone’s really gonna get into it, yeah, they can click on my FLW profile and see my stats, which aren’t great. You’re not gonna go and find my Canadian fishing stats. So, it’s a summary of it. And, yeah, this is more important, in my opinion.
So, this is really where the future of all Pro Staff is going, in my opinion, as well, is the social media and video side. You’re right on trend with that, Jason, for sure.
So, yeah, here’s where you talk about your YouTube channel. Now, I didn’t get into big facts and stats about my followers and how many followers I have, partly because I don’t have that many. [Laughs] So like I can’t be like ‘Five hundred thousand followers!’ But it’s more about the impressions that I get. And these are all real stats that I calculated myself using my Instagram and Facebook accounts that have the… well, you know how it goes. If you have a business account, it gives you the stats and you can through. And I basically tallied it all up throughout the year.
These are things that you can sign up through companies that will give you this for you. And actually, not a bad idea. Especially if you get a lot of mentions and comments outside your account, it’s hard to track those. So, these companies will do that for you. For a fee, obviously. So, that’s out there. I know a lot of the other pros do use these companies. I’m old-school… I do it myself.
But basically, this is, not only just telling… saying what my stats are for social media, it’s what I do on social media. So, obviously, I have Instagram, you know. There it is. Facebook, YouTube… Those are the main ones. I do not Tik Tok. Do you Tik Tok? I feel like you’re into that.
Jason: You know what? I’ve tried it. I’m not… I won’t say that I’m fluent in it. I mean, I try, right? I mean, anybody follows social media stuff, they know a guy named Gary V and he talks about, you know, you’ve got to be on Tik Tok. And I’ve tried but I’m really… I’m not getting it. [Laughs]
Erik: We’re too old. That’s it. We’re too old.
Erik: We’re past it.
Erik: Anyway, any sort of highlight. So, in my last year’s media kit, it was when I fished the Forrest Wood Cup and they Skyped me in live during coverage of the Forrest Wood Cup. Well, that’s great media coverage. So, I had a screenshot of that here. This year, again, going back to the Harris Chain, this was my best moment. That’s that fish I caught. I just told you the story. That’s the fish it culled. And even though it wasn’t live, the camera boat sent in pictures right away and this got… this is a screen capture from live coverage.
So, again, just showing that, you know, again, partnering with me and you’ll get… you know, through what I do, you’ll get some media coverage. That’s what you’re trying to sell, right? So, you’re selling yourself.
And I wasn’t wearing… I don’t fish in my tournament jersey often and it’s just… I just never have. So like I throw my jersey on in the weigh in line like everyone else does in Canada, but in the States, they kinda wear their jerseys all day. To be fair, if I ever was one of the five guys that was like live during the live coverage, I probably would wear it all… I definitely would wear it all day. But I feel more comfortable wearing my flannel. It was like kind of a chilly Florida day!
But anyway. That’s kinda… this is the reason why I’m using plaid this year, and flannel as my little niche, I guess.
Jason: Maybe an update to your… sorry about the noise in the background. I’ve got the kid over.
Erik: No worries.
Jason: But yeah, maybe change up the whole thing, right? You could have, instead of a white jersey, you could have a plaid jersey! Yeah?
Erik: Oh, yeah. You’re about to… you’re spilling the beans. I’ve got some things…
Jason: Oh, I’m sorry!
Jason: You heard it here first! [Laughs]
Erik: Yeah. And then, yeah, I did some takeovers of like some… So, Fishing Zone Official, I did a takeover of their account at the Bassmaster Classic to get some coverage. So, these are the little things you put in there. Anything you do.
This is kind of a general page that was… it was put in there for my first one. I kept it in here. And it just talks about what a wrap can do. You know, some brand awareness and some real facts in here about… Yeah. So, the average of 50,000 daily impressions on a wrap if you’re on the road for about 200 days a year. These are real facts from the American Trucking Association. So, you have to back everything to stats.
This was a cool photo. So, because I was, at one point, in the top 10 at that event, all the top 10 get that write-up on what baits you used. So, again, showing a good opportunity to show them my, you know, sponsored stuff. So, that’s kind of why that got put in here.
I like this one a lot. This is where your brand will be seen. And again, when I did my recap kit, I often had this ‘Where your brand WAS seen’ and it had this same type of map, and this is where your brand WILL be seen. So, yeah, if you’re gonna put your logo on someone’s truck or boat, you want to know where is it gonna be see. So, this is all my, you know, Photoshopping. And I just found a map and I just highlighted… you know, paint filled… paint bucket filled these states. And it’s pretty simple but it paints a good picture.
It’s a lot easier than showing a list of your tournaments, and that… you know, whoever you’re talking to might not really get the whole image of where… the coverage it’s gonna get. So, this is, again, just to visualize it. This is where the coverage of it, where a wrapped boat driving around in the water and on land, is gonna see… be seen. Right? And that’s a big thing. Like, these trucks are all over it and all over the country and that’s why they’re wrapped… because they get seen. Now, I have had people drive by me on the highway, I can see their camera out, and then I get tagged in a photo later that day on Instagram of someone driving by filming me being like, ‘Whoo, Erik Luzak!’ Like, that happens. People notice you. They see you on the highway. So…
Jason: That’s very cool. This is interesting. I really like this slide because that is not something that I would have thought about or even looked at. But even social media-wise, because you can break down your social media into states and countries... This is really interesting. It kinda gives me some thoughts.
Erik: And I don’t have all of my Canada stuff on here. I just didn’t have space. And the majority of the money in fishing is in the American stuff. So, I have Lake Simcoe, because that’s gonna be the big Canadian Open, if I do it. I didn’t do any this year. I couldn’t because the way the schedule was, every time I’d come back from the States, it was within two weeks and I couldn’t do anything, right? I had to be self-quarantined in between each event, so it’s kind of annoying.
So, yeah, this is the schedule for the 2021 MLF Pro Circuit. Starts in Florida, kinda… you know, whatever, goes on. And this is… Oh, Pickwick. So, then I also mixed in the Toyota event as well, Toyota Series, which I may or may not do. But either way, throw it in here because there’s a good chance, depending on how my season goes… depending on how travel restrictions go, I’ll do as many as I can. And that’s kind of the goal there.
And then that’s kind of it for about me and what I can sell on them, boom, right in the proposals. So, what I usually do, I have two or three… sometimes just one, I guess, and then a thank you.
Before I get too far into these, in some partnerships I have, I don’t even put proposals. I just have a great deal, I’m on their team, I’m happy to be part of the team, I’m not looking for more money from them, they support me in other ways, so I won’t even include these slides. I go right to a thank you slide. You know, and a little… and I’ll customize this, you know, to say something nice. You know, ‘Thanks for being a part of your company since 2018.’ Whatever. A little thank you slide, and that’s always how I end it.
But then if… you know, if I’m trying to renegotiate a deal to be my title sponsor… And this one was from my co-title sponsor. Then it’s really important. Yeah, you start… I mean, with any sort of sales, you start high, you know, and then you have your bottom end, right? You’ve got to give them options. And then when I say there’s only one, sometimes I don’t want to give them an option. Like, hey, if I want one deal or no deal, you know, that can be a thing too.
This is by far the hardest part and this is where I spend a lot of time, and it’s customizing these things. So, these are just kind of blank ones I have in here right now. Some what you’ll get if, you know, you get proposal number one.
So, and this is where I… again, my amazing Photoshop skills. I just make… do a quick, again, visual. They want to visualize it. What would it look like if Lunkerhunt and Power-Pole were my co-title sponsors? Well, spoiler, this is likely what it’s gonna look like this year once the boat gets wrapped, by the way.
Jason: That’s awesome.
Erik: And again, so I don’t know if you can see it on the screen but that’s the… You’re the first one to see this as well, actually. Going with the plaid thing. I don’t like bright boats. I like black. Black trucks, black boats. So, that’s actually a black plaid that’s gonna fade to black in the front.
Jason: Oh, that’s gonna look so good!
Erik: Yeah. We’re in the designing stage right now. Another big part of it. But the boat’s hopefully going to get wrapped right before Christmas. We’re actually gonna do it over the holidays at Auto Trim Design in Lindsay.
So, anyway, yeah, so, this is the most important part because this is where you need to really officially sell yourself and why would they give you money. And every deal I have is different. And I customize it with who the company is, what I know they… from our previous conversations, what I know they’re looking for, what I know they’re not looking for. Some companies will straight-up tell me like ‘Do not even send me a media kit with proposals because I get a hundred of them a week and I’m sick of looking at them.’ You know, it’s just begging for money. So, I’ll create something completely different. Like, some sort of marketing plan to… or whatever.
And it’s funny, I relate this part of the business to being single and being in the dating game a lot because, you know, you go out and you try to meet girls or whatever and it’s a lot of swings and misses, right? And that’s what it feels like. You feel like you’re getting turned down by girls constantly when you’re looking for money.
And then every now and then one of them finally goes, ‘Okay, yeah, yeah, I’ll let you buy me a drink!’ And then from there you start talking and hopefully you can talk yourself into something. So, that’s kind of how this goes.
So, out of the… oof, I don’t know, let’s say 20 of these that I might send out a year, you know, I get deals from… I mean, cash deals from a few of them. [Laughs] It’s not a lot. So, anyway...
Jason: And I think that’s where a lot of people are like kinda… You know, I think that people think… like you said, right, entry fees are $40,000.
Jason: And I think that people are just thinking that guys like you are just flowing in money. Flowing in sponsorship money. How hard would you say it is for somebody at your caliber? Because it is obviously gonna change depending on the caliber of fisherman that you are. At your caliber and where you are right now, being your second year in, when you send these out, you know, many, many girls are calling you back, I guess is what we’re… Like, how successful do you think this is for you?
Erik: Yeah. My big thing is I’m new at it. I don’t have a huge following. And unfortunately, being Canadian in some ways kind of hurts me. It helps me and it hurts me. So, again, it’s my angle and I’m using it as my angle but it’s… Canada is a small market, and we don’t have a lot of fishing fans. So, at this point, it is hard for me.
And I see some of these guys that are in the States… Like, some of the guys I roomed with last year. it was their first year and it wasn’t… I’m not gonna start naming names and talking about their deals or anything because, I mean, I don’t have permission to talk about it. I’ll talk about mine but that’s it. But I know that some of these guys were pointing out these little stickers on their boats and being like, ‘Yeah, I got five grand for that sticker, five grand for that sticker, five grand for that…’ And I’m like, ‘What!’ I had to work my butt off to get five grand for, like… you know, for the year! You know, whatever it is, right?
So, it’s definitely difficult. And it’s partly because I was a rookie last year. They wanted me to prove myself. Well, I got that a lot. A lot of companies would come back and say, ‘Thank you very much. You know what, maybe we can give you a discount this year on some product,’ which is not what I’m looking for, to be honest. ‘But, you know, we want to see how you are, you know, for a year or two before we… you know, we don’t sponsor rookies.’ Whatever the deal is. That happens. But that’s a foot in the door, right? So, you say, ‘Thank you very much, I appreciate it. I’ll keep being in touch next year,’ or whatever, right? So, you keep trying to prove yourself.
Jason: So, are you gonna resend these out, then, to companies that you’re interested in working with next year if they kind of give you? Okay. Interesting.
Erik: And it’s a lot of following up. Like, it’s, you send it once you don’t always get answers. When you’re asking for money from people, they tend to not want to even respond to you sometimes. Because they have their own… they’re running a business, but they’re trying to make money. they don’t want to be giving money away, right? So, you do have to follow up a lot. I personally, I feel like I’m pestering people sometimes, but you kinda have to.
And then when it comes down to the… Like, I had to have my deposit in last week for MLF and it came down to, I had to finalize some deals. So, I had to pick up the phone and be like ‘I need an answer like unfortunately, today. Or at least like some sort of word for you before I can commit to it.’ So, sometimes you… sometimes you’ve got to be a bit pushy, but not too pushy because you’re asking for money from people, right? So, it’s tough. It’s a fine line.
And then, you know, so, one more thing just to talk about too. This is also the first time I put the boat wrap thing in here as well, and I think it actually helped. And I also have a jersey option. So, again, to visualize it, if you get option one, you get your logo here. This is a Power-Pole, one for example. If you take option two, your logo will be much smaller over there and you’ll be on my sleeve over here and not on the front. Things like that.
And then obviously the content in here would change. So, promo days is a big one that’s on a lot of the States… or a lot of the American guys’ media kits. And that’s talking about ICAST. So, I’ll do four days at ICAST for you. I’ll do whatever. It’s not as big of a deal for us up here.
Live events. Yeah, okay, obviously, I’m gonna talk about your brand wherever I am. I’m gonna post on social media.
The boat wrap one, this we’ll usually talk about literally like the size of your logo up in this kit versus that kit. And then media content. What that one’s in there for is for someone of my deals… my Power-Pole deal, for example. It’s in my contract to produce media for them. So, either YouTube videos, product videos about how their products work, and then obviously provide them photos. That’s part of the product.
I have other deals… Like, Lunkerhunt is a really interesting deal I have. I’ve been a part of Lunkerhunt… Well, I shouldn’t say that because I had… I was kind of forced to leave at one point. But I was part of Lunkerhunt since basically like almost since they started. Like, back when David Donald had it, 10, 15… They were like one of my first sponsors. They’ve since been bought by another company. A company and another couple of guys bought them. They’re awesome guys and I’m really happy to be working with Lunkerhunt again. But when I say working with, I’m legitimately working for Lunkerhunt. The deal that I worked out with Lunkerhunt is almost more of like a consultant job than it is a Pro Staff job. And these are things that like that’s what they need. Like, they’re not gonna give out money. So, what… I actually put in time. I work on product development and I work on actual sales calls and sales meetings. So, I’ll be in on sales calls with buyers from Bass Pro Shops to Barlow's, you know, all the big box stores, as their product specialist. I’m their touring pro but I’m also their product specialist and I’m actually there helping sell their product to the stores.
So, deals like this, that’s what you have to be willing to do. And I hear about that a lot in the States when guys say, ‘Yeah, they’re my sponsor, but I work for that company.’ And that is true. Like, you have to put in actual time. No one just gives you money… it’s real work. And that work might just be sitting on your computer editing videos, whatever it is, but that’s work and that’s time.
Jason: And is that something that you are coming to them with? Saying, ‘Hey, I’m gonna do this for you’? Or is it… Again, sorry about the kids in the background.
Or is it gonna be something where you’re like, ‘I’m gonna leave this blank, I’m gonna send this to you,’ and then just see what they come back with and see what kind of work they want you to do?
Erik: It really depends. I might go back to my screen. Does that work? Or we can do… Are you done with this one? I’ll go back to stop sharing?
Jason: Yeah, for sure.
Erik: I feel like I’m just... you’re talking to a bank screen.
Jason: That’s okay.
Erik: So, I’m gonna go back… How do I just… Do I stop sharing?
Jason: Yeah, I think you just click on that.
Erik: There we go. Oh, I could have changed my background? Cool! Am I back? Oh, no I’m not.
Jason: Not yet. Hold on. Let me see here…
Erik: Oh, here we are. Here we are. Here we are. Here we are.
Jason: You got her? Alright.
Jason: Hey, yeah! There you are. You’re back.
Erik: Okay. Alright. Yeah. Anyway… So, yeah. A good example is what I mentioned with, I customize it with each company I go with. So, Lunkerhunt, I know them well. We had chatted a lot about the… you know, what they’re willing to do for Pro Staff. So, when I sent that proposal to Lunkerhunt this year, yeah, I didn’t just say, ‘I’m gonna do videos for you, I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do this…’ Like, I factored in this deal where I actually would actually work X amount of hours to get X amount of money, and then any more hours I work, it can… you know, it can be worth whatever it is.
That was more like a job application, legitimately. But it was attached to my media kit. So, that was customized for that. The Power-Pole one, again… You’ve just got to know what they want and what they’re willing to do. I work with WOO! Tungsten, another great Canadian company, and same thing.
Like, they just don’t throw money around for doing nothing. They get… WOO! Tungsten has done an incredible job of getting the most free publicity I’ve ever seen of any company through social media. Like, they’ve become a social media empire. It’s incredible what Aaron and Kris have done with that company. It’s truly impressive. So, it’s the same thing… when I pitch stuff to them, it’s got to be different. And he kind of pushes me to think different, which is awesome. Because he’s an outside-of-the-box guy himself. Aaron, I’m talking about.
Jason: Yeah. I fished with Aaron.
Erik: And he’s a really good guy.
Jason: I’ve fished with Aaron. I’ve fished with Aaron a couple of times.
Erik: Yeah. Yeah.
Jason: He’s an amazing guy. And so down to earth. Like, you wouldn’t even know that this guy owns WOO! Tungsten.
Jason: You talk to him and, I mean, he’s just some dude that you go fishing with. He’s amazing.
Erik: But he’s an out-of-the-box type of guy. So, you don’t just send him a run of the mill media kit saying, ‘Here’s what I want to do.’ So, anyway, like I said, you’ve just got to know who you’re sending it to. And, I mean, that’s sales 101, you know? Like, know your customer. And I hate to say the word customer in that situation, because these companies are not my customers, but, you know, if you look at it that way, that’s how it goes. And, yeah, basically just… And be willing to get shut down. And don’t get offended when you get shut down. I mean, deals come and go.
I know Matt Arey pretty well like through Lunkerhunt. He’s one of the biggest names out there right now. And he was with Pennzoil forever and just last year, they just… Pennzoil pulled the plug on his deal. And he worked his butt off and he got a deal with Toyota. I’ve had a few dinners with him over the years and to hear that kind of that he’s dealing with… When I say I’m dealing with the business side of it, I’m dealing with like a tiny little part of it. He’s dealing with like big, big money stuff. And his is through all… Like, he doesn’t email Toyota head office. He’s going through marketing agencies that have the budget to put the money for Toyota out there, or Pennzoil or whatever. And then all of a sudden, yeah, by year, what, three of the deal, they’re like, ‘Oh, we’re not… we’re gonna put our money in NASCAR instead of fishing, sorry.’ And that’s just how it goes. And he’s like, that’s business so you go onto the next one.
And it’s the same thing with me. My title sponsor was Fishing Zone for the last two years. Fishing Zone is going in another direction with their promotions. He’s actually starting a rod company. With my partnership with Daiwa, I can’t use another rod company. So, these deals come and go.
So, I did switch up title sponsors this year and it’s not saying that, oh, they dropped you or you dropped them. It’s just the way the business world works. You’ve got to be… yeah, you’ve got a thick skin. You’ve got to be prepared to be shot down and you got to work your butt off for it.
And like I said, I posted about this on Instagram a little bit, this has been my life for the last couple months. I’ve been staring at this media kit like it seems like for hours, but it’s what you’ve got to do. It’s the less fun part of it but it’s what you’ve got to do.
Jason: Yeah. And it looks awesome. Congratulations on that media kit because it looks really good. If I could just ask one more thing, because I don’t want to take up a whole bunch of your time here, but if you are a new fisherman… Because we’re gonna have a bunch of guys. Like, my people are a lot of like entry level guys. Or guys that have been doing it for a while but maybe want to start moving in a different direction and getting a little bit more. Where would somebody like this start?
I mean, you got just, to me… and I may be looking at it different. Just thrown into like this FLW thing and then you’re like, ‘Alright, I’m going at it… I’m gonna get her done.’ If I’m a guy who maybe doesn’t have that same thing and I’m fishing through the, let’s say, BASS, you know, chain of fishing tournaments there, when should I be looking at this? Like, would you suggest that guys start maybe earlier doing this and actually kind of look for sponsorships? Or should they do… And to your… you know, just to say awesome to you, you’ve been doing this for years and years and years and years. Should they get that under their belt first and get their fishing handled before they start looking at this?
Erik: That is a really good question, and I get a lot of young anglers DM me on Instagram and Facebook asking me that exact question. And I actually really like this question because I think about it a lot.
And almost always my answer to them is, work on your craft first. Don’t worry about… And they get… you know, they say, ‘Oh, you know, I started fishing clubbies this year or BFLs as a co-angler. Should I start getting sponsors now or what?’ Like, no! No. Wait. Like, sponsors aren’t… First of all, there’s too many anglers out there, you know what I mean? To compete against to get sponsors. Learn how to compete against them in the water first. You know what I mean? Like, there’s so many guys hounding these companies for deals, mainly just for free product, let alone getting money out of these deals… these guys.
So, you’re gonna spend too much time worrying about that, in my opinion. Spend that time on the water. And, yeah, I’ve been doing this for… I guess I’m in my 21st year or something like that. And I’ve only actually been doing this media kit kinda really pushing myself thing for the last three years.
And that’s a good example of it. I do feel like I am finally ready for that part of it. I’ve done enough aspects of the fishing world to understand it enough where, if you… if I was doing this 15 years ago, I wouldn’t have had a clue. I wouldn’t… it wouldn’t have been professional, I wouldn’t have had enough content, I wouldn’t have enough knowledge about myself and my skills to do that.
And then you’ve got to back it up on the water. You can’t just have all these sponsors and wrapped boat and go out there and… you know what I mean?
Jason: Suck? [Laughs]
Erik: Bomb out. So…
Jason: Yeah. For sure, for sure.
Erik: It’s important. So, yeah, I say master the craft first. Sponsors… and I’m not… I hate saying sponsors will come, because let’s be honest: they won’t. In this world, they don’t knock on your door. But it’s a heck of a lot easier to get in this door if you’ve got some cred.
So, my cred was like getting to the Forrest Wood Cup. I did well in the Forrest Wood Cup, that was more for me. That made me feel good about myself, that I could do this. And, you know, so, that was my first kind of kick. There’s my sales pitch. I’m fishing the Forrest World Cup and the fishing eyes are on me. The fishing world eyes are on me. So, you know that was my in.
So, work your butt off. Qualify for some Classics Championships, whatever. Get some… get your name up there. You know, you’ve got to maybe get some write-ups of yourself done first so you can fill up that media page. ‘Here’s where people have talked about me. Here’s where I’ve done well and have featured articles or whatever.’ And then go for sponsorships.
Now, I’m not saying don’t join a team of, you know, maybe a rep group of some sort where you can get some good deals and good connections. Because, like I said, I worked with Canada Pro which was Okuma for years and I would highly recommend getting in with a team like that. So, you know like try to get with a Daiwa, an Okuma… An umbrella kind of company, if you will, where you get five or six companies with some of these. You’re a regional Pro Staff level. All you have to do is put in your time at trade shows, which I guess they’re gonna be virtual this year. Virtual trade shows? I don’t know.
Jason: Yeah. [Laughs] Yeah. Hopefully not next year. I’m getting sick of watching everything on the computer. [Laughs]
Erik: I know. And then just fish! So, you don’t have as much commitment.
The one thing I’ve noticed the last couple years, actually… I was just talking to my girlfriend about this the other day as I’m mentally prepping for this coming season. I think I put too much pressure on myself last year to try to… this is gonna sound really cheesy and I don’t even want to say it. But to appease my fans. I don’t have any freakin’ fans! Right? Like, I’m Erik Luzak from Canada. I’ve got…
Jason: You got fans, buddy. You’ve got fans.
Erik: But not like you know, the real guys down there, right?
Erik: But here I was down there, thinking about that on the water. I was like, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ Like, just fish, man! Fish like I fished 10 years ago when I didn’t even have an Instagram account.
So, that’s what I really… You’ve just really got to worry about you. And even by me getting these deals last year and the year before, I had some… I had to post. I had to do recaps. I had to… you know. And I’m not saying I hate that, but it does take your mind off the game for a little bit and makes it harder. So, it takes a while to get to be…
And these guys that are doing this for a living for 20 years, they are pros at it. They’re experts at it. The cameras are on and, boom, they’re on. They’re posting, they’re fishing, it’s crazy. But it’s a different world and it’s tough. So, yeah, 100 percent, get into fishing first.
Now, what I want to say on that too, my biggest regret in my entire career: I have never fished, other than my first year in a club when I was 13… I guess my first couple years. Since then, I have never fished as a co-angler in the tournament.
Erik: And I really kick myself because I see these co-anglers that I get in my boat when I’m fishing the Toyota series events or whatever and the marshals that fish with me… that sit in my boat in the Pro Circuit event and I’m like, ‘Man, if I had done this, the learning curve would be so much quicker.’
I kind of did it the hard way. [Laughs] Like, I mean, I studied, I fished, I talked to guys, I fished with guys whenever I can, but I’m learning it myself. And I’m not saying you’re going out with these co-anglers… these pros and stealing their techniques, but you learn so quick. So, I highly recommend joining a Pro-Am tournament. Even if they’re just clubbies. If you only have clubbies, that’s… that have Pro-Am things, that’s great.
I’ve been telling Andy from CSFL, and he wants to run more Pro-Ams. He has a hard time filling Pro-Ams. But that is the future. We need more Pro-Ams in Canada. The club level is great for that. And in the States, you can fish those BFLs, you can fish the Toyota series events for quite inexpensively as a co-angler. A non-boater.
I highly recommend you do that for years before jumping into the front of the boat. You don’t even need a boat! Your expenses are a fraction of what your expenses are with the boat.
Jason: Yeah. You pay 50 bucks for your boater and done, eh?
Erik: Yeah, exactly!
Erik: Yeah. And if you have to have six rods, seven rods… Yeah, it’s different, I agree. You’ve got to like know… you’ve got to rig your rods differently than a pro would, and I get it. A lot of guys that have boats hate going as a co-angler because it is… you have to take your stuff out of your boat and like get a small little bag together. But, man, you learn so much.
So, I highly recommend doing that before you get up there. Because, yeah, I just feel like I would have been… I could have been doing this 10 year ago had I was doing that 15 years ago, you know what I mean? [Laughs]
Jason: Interesting to think about.
Jason: That’s really interesting to think about. And, yeah, I’ve always pushed doing clubs because, I mean, I learned so much. And I’m not all that good, but, I mean, just imagine what I would be like! [Laughs] If I suck this hard now, imagine how hard I’d suck if I didn’t do any of that!
Jason: So, yeah, no, it’s awesome. Hey, I don’t want to waste too much of your time. We’ve been here for almost an hour. Man, I really appreciate it. I know you’re a busy guy, so taking the time out…
Erik: I’ve got to go sledding. That snow is not going to bash itself out there.
Jason: Oh, I’m jealous! We got like an inch here. So, good for you. Good for you. So, thanks a lot. Did you want to say anything at the end? Push some sponsors? Tell people where they can find you? Like, anything. This is you. Five minutes of all you.
Erik: Well, first of all, Jason, thanks so much for having me on. It’s been a while since we chatted.
Erik: Let’s go out on the water again this summer hopefully.
Jason: That would be awesome.
Erik: If things are normal again.
Erik: I don’t live in Orillia anymore but I did for years. I’m back at… so my boat lives in [inaudible… 0:55:29] and I bounce back and forth from and B.C., and I’m all over the place. But we’ve definitely got to meet up again in person.
And, yeah, thanks everyone for tuning in. And, yeah, I have to give a sincere thanks to everyone who has supported me over the last couple years, because I do get some phenomenal messages when I’m down there, you know, doing well, even when I’m not doing well. The people that reach out, it does mean a lot. It can be a lonely feeling being down on tour and not doing well. It’s a mental game. And when… every little message means so much to me and all the support, so thanks so much to everyone.
Obviously, shoutout to all the sponsors that have, you know, hooked me up for so many years and let me do this. So, Lunkerhunt has been huge. Power-Pole. I mean, Power-Pole and Lunkerhunt are saving me this year. I was on the cusp of not being able to do the Pro Circuit this year but I was.
Erik: In fact, it was down to the last minute. And then Power-Pole actually was the last one who stepped up to help me be able to do it, so that means so much to me.
Jason: That’s amazing.
Erik: Yeah. Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about… those calls of desperate… Like, I was desperate. [Laughs] On the last one. I was literally… I had my… a letter kind of drafted of… not resigning, but I was actually gonna ask if I could take a year off and maybe get in on the year after due to, you know, a lot of reasons. But luckily, I didn’t have to do that. But it was really close to having to do that.
Because it’s hard, man. It is, it’s financially hard, it’s emotionally and mentally hard. So, thanks to all those sponsors. WOO! Tungsten, I mentioned them. Daiwa has been great. Ranger Boats.
And, yeah, Instagram is my main way of posting, so add Erik Luzak on Instagram. I do have YouTube and Facebook. They’re both Erik Luzak Fishing.
But, yeah, man, look forward to doing that soon. And maybe we can do a live from Florida or something while I’m catching some giant bass down there.
Jason: Dude, that would be awesome! Nice! Nice! Well, thank you again. Thank you so much. I really do appreciate it. I can’t wait to see all the Instagram photos next year. Thank you so much for taking the time with me, Erik.
Erik: Awesome. Thanks, Jason.
Erik: Talk to you later.
Jason: See you, bud.
Erik: Take care! Yeah.