Sponsored angler’s “dodgy” flattie

THE thorny issue of unethical productplugging has again arisen following news that a sponsored anglerallegedly misappropriated an online image of a 106cm flathead andclaimed he caught it on his sponsor’s tackle.

The image of the fish, which ispictured on a brag mat, was originally posted online four years ago.Back then, the fish achieved wide exposure as being one of thebiggest flathead ever caught out of St Georges Basin. The fish wascaught and released by Jim Barrie, a well-known South Coast fisho,using a soft plastic.

The picture of Jim’s monster flatheadwas again posted online recently by a tackle company “fieldstaffer” who claimed it was his “PB flatty” caught “throwinga **** lure on my new **** rod and **** reel, sensational day on thewater”.

Fishing World has chosen not toreveal the angler’s details, nor those of the company whichsponsored him.

It is understood the angler is now nolonger a “field staffer” for the company.

Jim Barrie told Fisho that hewas “disappointed” that someone had misused the image and madefalse statements about its capture. Jim had set the record straightvia Facebook but has since deleted the post, saying that he did notwant to cause the tackle company involved any further embarrassment.

This incident raises questions aboutthe concept of “sponsored anglers”, a fairly recent trend whichinvolves tackle companies giving product and sometimes cash toprominent or successful anglers in return for exposure andendorsement.

As far as Fisho is aware, thevast majority of sponsored anglers are highly ethical individuals whowould never act dishonestly or unjustly “talk up” their sponsors’products. However, it is obvious that there is the potential fordodgy conduct. For instance, a sponsored angler might claim at acompetition or in a media report that a fish was caught on asponsored product when in fact it was caught on something else.

Using an online image of someone else’sfish and claiming you caught it on sponsored tackle, as has happenedin this latest instance, is, unfortunately, symptomatic of the moderndigital era.

The concept of sponsored or “pro”anglers is based on a commercial relationship between the angler anda tackle company. For a sponsored angler to be of use and benefit toa tackle company, the angler has to be seen as being above reproach.An admired and respected sponsored angler is a major sales advantagefor the sponsor company due to the fact that consumers will oftenpurchase product used and/or endorsed by the angler.

It goes without saying that informationabout successful tackle, especially lures, is of vital interest toall keen anglers. After all, we all want to know what’s hot in theworld of tackle. And gun anglers, including those who are sponsored,are minefields of useful information.

But is the info we all want gettingdrowned out by plugs and overt commercialism?

And how does the “sponsored angler”thing work – for both the sponsor companies and us as tackleconsumers – if the angler turns out to be dishonest or a fake?

As previously stated, Fisho isconfident the bulk of sponsored anglers out there are completelyabove board and ethical in the way they approach their commercial andsponsorship responsibilities. But it seems that everyone wants to bea sponsored angler these days. Does this put pressure on the wannabebig names to attempt to fast track success by using dubious tactics?And what do the tackle companies expect in return for product and/orcash?

Let us know your thoughts about theseissues and also have your say about the concept of productendorsement. What inspires you to make a purchase decision? It is anadvertisement in a magazine or TV show? Statements or testimonialsfrom a respected angler or angling writer? Unbiased reporting from anindependent angling journalist? Or maybe a sales pitch from a tacklecompany rep? How about the plugs given by some fishing TV hosts?

Look forward to your comments.

The Fisho team.


ABOVE: The “sponsored” angler’s recent forum post.

BELOW: The original photo on Facebook in 2010. Look familiar?


What's your reaction?

Related Posts

Load More Posts Loading...No More Posts.