This was inspired by someone that asked this exact question. What does the term “pro staff” mean to both a company and an angler? Pro staff does not mean getting all the free rods, reels, fly lines, buffs, sun gloves, waders, boots, jackets, magazine features or exotic destination trips you can handle. The idea behind having a pro staff is to bring something to the table that is both beneficial to the company and the angler.
How the Angler Benefits:
When one is on a company’s pro staff, they obviously are going to be using their product and (in my opinion) should be tied to that product. There should be an attachment to the product that the angler already has, or a reasoning behind signing on with a company’s pro staff. Every company is different, but often their pro staff members are provided with either a limited quantity of free equipment, or equipment at a certain discount, or a combination of both. Being a pro staff member also provides a certain amount of credibility if the company has a good reputation.
How the Company Benefits:
When a company seeks a pro staff member, they are often searching out people that can provide a combination of valuable feedback and promotion. This does not mean that you have to have 5K followers on Instagram to be a pro staff member, far from it. It may be putting the product in the hands of your clients when you are guiding or spreading word through the fly shop you work for. Companies will also sometimes provide their pro staff members with prototype material in return for feedback about what they like and don’t like. The company will often hold feedback from their pro staff members in high regard, which helps create a better product.
This video called “The Pro Staffer” is humorous and scarily accurate depiction of the dark side of “pro staff”