stranger to bass fishing, Gary has a long history of tournament
How exciting it is to uncover news of a brand new company entering the
tackle industry. Even more thrilling is having a chance to sit down and talk
to the CEO of such a venture. Gary Dobyns is an icon in the Western Bass
circuit. His career achievements include 2004 W.O.N. BASS Angler of the Year
and over 50 first place tournament finishes. He is the all time leading
money winner in the Western United States and has now set his sights on the
manufacturing side of the fishing industry with the formation of a new rod
company, Dobyns Rods. With the anticipation of his product reaching a fever
pitch, we asked Gary if he’d mind sitting down with us to give you, our
readers, the inside scoop on what he has planned.
First off, thanks Gary, for taking the time to talk to us and let our
readers in on your exciting new venture. Tell me, with all your years of
tournament experience and success, what made you want to venture into the
product business, and why fishing rods versus lures or something else?
G.Dobyns: I've been fishing
tournaments for over 20 years and as you might expect, I've become very
picky in my choice of rods. I've never been able to find what I want from
any one manufacturer and to be honest, there are a lot of companies out
there that make rods that I flat out do not like. As a result, I've had to
rely a great deal on custom rods to find and build what I really want. So to
answer your question, it's really quite natural for me to move in this
direction because I personally feel the need is there to do some things and
offer some products that are not out there right now.
developing your product line, did you have a price point in mind? And if so,
how were the designs of your sticks influenced by your target price point?
G.Dobyns: Yes, I really want
to keep the price point for these rods somewhere between $170 to $180 give
or take a few dollars. I think this is the price point most fishermen
seeking a quality rod are most comfortable with. While the design of the
sticks have not been compromised to meet this price point, what I did have
to do was move production of these rods overseas. If I didn't do this, the
price on all the rods would be a heck of a lot more and I didn't feel that
would be the right thing to do.
understandable, in order to keep prices in line, that you've decided to move
manufacturing of your rods to overseas. In fact, there seems to be a growing
trend not only within the fishing industry, but industries across the board,
to leverage lower cost manufacturing solutions such as this in order to keep
prices reasonable and competitive. Despite this fact, there is the
continuing stigma that a product made overseas is inferior to something
built Stateside. What's your comment to this mindset?
G.Dobyns: You know, I get
asked this question a lot. I personally do not have a problem with products
made overseas and I don't feel the majority of fishermen do either. In fact,
I've seen some products from companies like Daiwa, who are making rods
overseas as well, that are really above and beyond anything being made here
in the States in terms of weight, balance, and detailing. I haven't fished
any of these rods and have only held them in hand, but some of the work is
really amazing. I've also seen rods supposedly built here in the States that
were flat out terrible, so you can have good and bad on both sides of the
ocean. More and more companies are moving production overseas and virtually
all of them have something made over there. Bottom line is, I flat out
cannot make the rods I want in the States and keep the prices competitive,
so my concentration has been to find a place that can build them to my
standards, meet my demands, and take it from there.
Dobyn's brings his tournament experience into play with the design
of his new rods
had a vested interest and have been sponsored by some
of today's more popular rod companies. What have you taken from your
experience with these companies that you've tried to incorporate in your own
G.Dobyns: It's no secret that
I've had a very long and good relationship with both G.Loomis and Lamiglas.
When I think of American rod companies, they're the first that come to mind
and what I really respect from them, having seen it all from the inside, is
the way they take care of warranty issues, keep in constant communication
with their retailers, and flat out build a product that is both superior and
in demand. Don't forget, Loomis as a company, has only been around since the
early 1980's, so they did all this, built their reputation and demand up
very, very quickly. You don't do that with an inferior product or warranty,
and you don't do that if you don't keep your retailers happy.
In the same respect, what have you taken from your past experience and made
sure you addressed from a "this is what we're NOT going to do" perspective?
G.Dobyns: Well, I can tell you
what we aren't going to do and that's fall down on warranty issues.
These absolutely have to be met head on. We are also not going to be of the
mindset where we think we know everything in terms of what every fishermen
needs. That's definitely not going to happen. There are going to be holes in
my lineup, but hopefully, we'll have a large enough assortment of rods to
fit a wide range of anglers. If there's something we don't have, we will
seriously consider supporting that technique in the near future. There has
to be some give and take there and we are in no way assuming we can cover it
all at the very beginning. Heck, I'm not even sure we can cover it all ever,
but I'm going to do my best to cover a broad range of the most popular
techniques and take it from there.
Next Section: Finding out more
about "Dobyns Rods"