How to Get a Job in the Fishing Industry with Robby Gant of Shimano and Larry Colombo, Outdoor Writer
Find a Mentor, and Learn All You Can to Become a Part of the Fishing Industry
Editor’s Note: Many outdoorsmen hope to some day work in the fishing industry. Robby Gant explains how he’s become an integral part of the fishing industry without going the route of fishing professionally.
At 5-years-old, Robby Gant knew he wanted to become part of the fishing industry. Today, as the Senior Brand Manager for Shimano American Corporation in Irvine, California, Gant at age 31, has found his calling and has realized his dream from so long ago. Most fishermen believe they only can break into the fishing industry as bass-fishing professionals, but that’s not true. Let’s look at how Robby Gant has done it.
I met Robby Gant at Dream Lake near Livingston, Alabama, where he and the Shimano staff tested new products to learn more about what kinds of rods and reels southern fishermen would need in the future. When I asked Gant how he began his quest to be part of the fishing industry, he told me, “From as far back as I can remember, I wanted to be part of the fishing industry. All I did from the age of 5 until I graduated from high school was plan how to work my way into the fishing-tackle business.”
How a Young Gant Worked to Reach His Dream:
“At age 12, I met Chris Scott, a professional bass angler sponsored by Shimano, who had a small cottage industry making jigs and spinner baits. He took me under his wing and taught me how to make lures,” explains Gant. “Then when I was 15-years-old, Chris and I fished a California calico bass tournament around the time he’d just begun working for Shimano’s marketing department as event coordinator. Chris operated Shimano’s live-release boat for fishing tournaments that released the bass caught at the tournaments back into the lakes and rivers and also attended consumer shows to represent Shimano. Through Chris, I met Dave Pfeiffer who’s now the president of Shimano American Corporation. Chris Scott and I won the calico bass tournament, a Shimano sponsorship (I could buy Shimano products at a discount) and $2,000 each when I was only 15. As a teenager, I started attending consumer shows with Chris, learning about Shimano and the duties of the event coordinator. I talked to consumers about Shimano products, and I memorized the Shimano catalogue - every word and the specs for every product. I considered Chris Scott my teacher and my mentor, and the Shimano catalogue my textbook.
“There are two secrets to getting into the fishing industry. Find someone who’s already involved in the fishing industry, and help him every way you can without asking for money. Then learn all you can about the product lines.”
Tomorrow: Take Advantage of Your Surroundings to Become a Part of the Fishing Industry