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Former bodyguard leaves threat assessment career for bass fishing

Tournament bass fishing began as a way to relieve stress for Robin Babb, but has now become a profession. 

CELEBRATION, Fla. — A Texas business entrepreneur and former bodyguard has abandoned her career — where she protected celebrities from stalkers and assessed the threat of fanatic fans — to lead a less stressful life in competitive bass fishing.

But don't be mistaken. Robin Babb of Livingston, Texas, isn't fading away. In fact, she's roaring with unmistakable energy and staggering passion for the newly created Women's Bassmaster Tour.

"My mother told me I was crazy, but it's just something I wanted to do," said Babb, who finished 27th in the Tour's preview event in October and already is registered for the five-event trail in 2006.

A medical necessity

Babb, first a bodyguard in New York and then in the threat assessment and management sector for nine years, had a stressful career. She profiled individuals who constantly wrote or pursued the famous to help determine their threat level. "My clients were the most famous of the famous," including movie stars and business leaders of Fortune 100 companies, she said.

So while Babb always enjoyed fishing, it wasn't until she suffered a mild stroke while living in Los Angeles that she began tournament bass fishing to help relieve stress. It was a doctor's recommendation — and it worked.

Babb met an angler who befriended her, taught her techniques, took her to tackle stores and introduced her to a fishing club, where other anglers introduced her to tournaments. "The whole experience was exciting, enticing and relaxing," Babb said. Her competitive spirit drew her to tournament fishing in California, but none of the women's circuits were around long enough for her to build the reputation she sought in the sport. The Women's Bassmaster Tour, Babb said, is about to change that.

"The WBT will help me achieve my dream of having a career in bass fishing," Already, Babb is on her way. She counts Triton boats as one sponsor and said she's currently negotiating with a second company for sponsorship.

Looking ahead

Today, Babb and her mother own and operate the Out to Lunch Café in Livingston, which specializes in homemade breads, soups, salads and deserts. Babb also is a real estate agent and is active in her community. She helped found the Livingston Specialty Merchants Guild, is the chairwoman of the Livingston Main Street Advisory Board, and is on the board of directors of the Livingston-Polk County Chamber of Commerce.

But fishing is integral for Babb, so it's routine for early morning café customers to find her pitching a casting plug down the aisles, under tables and through chair legs. At work, she also reads and studies bass and the lakes she'll fish. "I find a couple of hours three to four times a week to fish, but I don't have to be on the water to practice and refine my skills," she said.

Now in her early 40s, Babb has refocused her tournament hopes on the Women's Bassmaster Tour, where she's devising a plan to conquer the competition, but to also be a role model for other anglers and mentor them, just as she was mentored. "With positive goals, attitude and desire, any obstacle can be overcome," said Babb.