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Event Article: Clear Lake with Gary Dobyns

Evaluating new rods at Clear Lake with Gary Dobyns (continued)

While we knew we wouldn’t be able to beat Gary in terms of quantity, Cal decided his strategy would be to beat Gary on quality, and to do that he would turn to the arsenal of swimbaits that he had packed for the ride. Before sunrise we arrived at lake where Gary was already in the water. He had been calling us every few minutes over the last half an hour saying “get you butt over here! I’m slamming them on topwater!”


An attractive metal butt cap decorates the base, but it does need to be further recessed


The boat wasn’t even stopped when Cal and I ran down the dock and jumped into Gary’s Ranger and we were off. As the sun started to peak over the hill we really did start getting into them. Then without warning the topwater bite shut off, and as the fishing started slowing down we started talking.


The hook hanger on this rod is awesome, it stealth's away very nicely and doesn't get in the way at all

On the deck rested a slew of rods from both the Dobyn’s Champion (blue) and Champion Xtreme (red) lineups. The difference between the two lineups is the sensitivity of the blanks and the actions of the rods. These rods are being distributed by Lamiglas, and the bulk of the models are available online via select e-tailers. More and more dealers are starting to pick up the rods as well, especially those that already carry Lamiglas house offerings.


A look at the split grip. Dobyn's rods are available with both solid and split grips depending on application


The rods we fished with looked much more refined than the prototypes we had seen during the shows in the past, and the work on the guides and the threading on the blank are much cleaner now that the rods are all in mass production. We immediately liked the fact that the blanks were matte and not slathered with a thick layer of gloss. The carbon fiber look on the base of the blank reminds us of import rods, and the stealth hook hanger on the rods is very easy to use, and will never get in the way of your line, or any other lines when rods are resting on the deck.


A macro of the beautiful carbon fiber in the split grip

The rods also have excellent ergonomics, designed for anglers that have a rod in their hand all day long. Many are split grip models, but some have a full grip with a sculpted cork grip to make it easier to grasp. The rods have a slightly larger cork diameter than normal rods, and I was surprised how much I actually liked the sculpted grip when casting.  

Varying cork in the grips are a nice touch


If there is one thing that Gary is known for it is versatility and the lineup shows that. There is a rod for every big tournament bait that you can think of, regardless of what your favorite way to target bass is, odds are that Gary’s already got a rod designed just for it.


A look at the rear of the split grip model


Throughout the day Gary wasn’t shy about sharing fishing secrets with us, and told us stories of how he had won multiple tournaments on Clear Lake. At the same time he wasn’t shy about asking us about the up and coming tackle either. He impressed me with not only his fishing knowledge, but his ability to keep a conversation while slamming fish.


The bulb at the end is comfortable while fishing, and provides a quality grip during double handed casts


At some hotspots it was every third cast for me, and every cast for Gary, it just seemed like he was tuned in to the fish more, either that or he had one of his buddies in scuba gear hooking fish on his line just to impress us. He also encouraged us to beat up on his rods, and we did just that. Heck, I even stepped on one of his rods, sure it was an accident, but the guide bent back nicely.


Gary gets into a fish near the shore

At one such honey hole all three of us were getting into 2-3lb fish on just about every cast. One by one we were catching them until Cal finally lost one. “Wake up Cal, were on a roll here stop losing those fish, must be that fancy reel your using” Gary jabbed with a smirk. “Hmmm, I’m pretty sure it’s not my Exist, must be something wrong with this weird rod I’m fishing,” Cal retorted as he looked down at the Dobyn’s Champion spinning rod resting in his hand. Gary turned to me and said, "Sorry Zander, think you're going to have to find yourself another Enthusiast Tackle Editor, because by the end of today you're definitely going to be one short." 


Time for lunch...


While I still need more time to actually fish with the rods I can confidently say that the Dobyn’s rods feel more powerful than your average fishing rod, and Gary admitted that he definitely prefers his rods with more muscle. Anyone that fishes with Gary will learn that he drives the hook home with a massive hookset and doesn't waste any time bringing the fish back to the boat.


Zander boats a nice one with a jig and Yamamoto twin tail trailer

Next Section: More rods, and Cal tries to beat Gary










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