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Event Article: Clear Lake with Gary Dobyns

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

The Champion rod lineup also is focused on delivering the longer lengths that are popular among anglers on the tour. The blanks look and feel great and the carbon showing through the Fuji reel seat is a fantastic enthusiast oriented gem of a detail. The only issue I could find at this early stage is the small round butt cap, which I really like, but found protruded out too much on some of the models, making it possible to scratch them up. Gary mentioned that future models will have them further recessed.


Gary demonstrates jigging in rough water


When it comes to big bass there is no bigger name than that of Mike Long. This San Diego big fish expert’s big bass weighed 21.50 pounds and he has caught over fifty documented bass over 15 pounds and hundreds over the 10 pound mark. Mike lent his expertise and his personal specifications were incorporated into Dobyn’s swimbait rods. We found the rods equally powerful with some of the other swimbait rods we have fished in the past, but noticeably lighter.


One of over 40 fish that Gary landed during the course of the day

These rods make use of a combination of cork and EVA, or all EVA grips, depending on the model. One of the rods has a massive 15 inch rear grip which Mike specified for more leverage when catapulting massive swimbaits, and horsing lunkers up, while it takes some time to get used to it certainly is something you have to see to believe.


Even the spinning reels feature a slightly larger grip


By the late afternoon what Cal and I predicted was taking shape, while Cal and I had caught plenty of fish we were still downright getting destroyed by Gary. Not only was he killing us with numbers but he had boated the best fish of the day on a jig, which weighed just over 6 pounds. Cal picked up a swimbait stick and tied on his secret weapon.


The sculpted full cork grip is surprisingly comfortable to hold while casting

Gary looked back and said “I’d be surprised if you get them to come all the way up right now.” Cal ignored him and began casting towards the edge of an island, reeling back his full-size surface swimbait. After a few casts Gary turned back again and said “better get back to that jig Cal….” when suddenly, right in the middle of his sentence a massive blowup on the lure took place, “get him!” Gary yelled. Cal did get him and Gary and I both stood jaws wide open as we gawked at the nearly 9lb bug eyed bucketmouth Cal had just caught. “Talk about getting lucky,” Gary said. Within minutes Cal caught another fish, this one six pounds, on the very same lure he was testing, at which point Gary was officially sold.

A look at the carbon blank through


Gary spent the rest of the day casting that lure with his frog rod, and he boated some more nice fish. Nothing as good as the first one Cal landed, but plenty to have him asking where to get more. “Do me a favor and don’t write about that lure just yet,” Gary laughingly said “let me win some money with it first!”


Of course we had to get that "tournament" money shot


Gary’s approach to Clear Lake was very different than the way that Cal and I usually fish the lake. Normally we spend a lot of time focusing on working walls, docks, and even the occasional drop shot. Gary on the other hand showed us what versatility was all about. He was able to adapt to each location within minutes, picking up on a pattern and changing his techniques to maximize strikes.


Cal gets into another nice fish


In addition his knowledge of the lake was mind boggling, as time and time again we would power across the lake only to stop in open water, and as we turned to see what the problem was Gary would get up and drop the trolling motor. He’d then proceed to point into the middle of the lake and describe the rock piles and edges hidden beneath the water. We got schooled when it came to fishing in open water, and it paid off time and time again as we pulled jig fish out of the water we would normally cruise right over as we proceeded from one bank to the next.


Cal's swimbait fish is the biggest of the bunch... stay tuned to find out what lure he was using

Personally I really enjoyed my time on the water both with the new rods, and with Gary. The fact that we caught a bunch of nice fish didn’t hurt either. Cal and Gary traded barbs all day, as they one upped each other with hilarious jabs. In fact the only time that Gary got serious is when he was teaching us about the lake, or explaining features and actions in his rods.


Gas to Clear Lake, 37 dollars, A Champion Xtreme casting rod, $249 dollars, a day learning how to "really" fish Clear Lake from Gary Dobyns, priceless


Conclusion: At the end of the day Gary had boated more fish than Cal and I combined, but Cal did walk away with the big fish of the day. If there was a weigh in Gary would have slaughtered us in total weight, but Cal’s never going to let Gary live down the fact that he caught “big fish.” The new rods are already shipping, and while we are now preparing to put the rods through the wringer of our normal tests the initial impressions of the rods are very encouraging. To break the entire day down… the gas to Clear Lake, 37 dollars, A Champion Xtreme casting rod, $249 dollars, a day learning how to fish Clear Lake from Gary Dobyns, priceless. It was truly a great day out on the water, and I couldn’t think of any better way to spend a Saturday than stressing an assortment of new rods and gaining some valuable fishing insight from a professional angler like Gary. There was a story behind each and every one of the new Dobyn’s rods, and the reason is that each rod was hand tailored to satisfy a particular type of application that Gary has found successful in tournament situations. Whether it is a particular length or action, the Dobyns rods are built with purpose, and that purpose is to help anglers catch more fish, whether that is during a tournament with money on the line, or any given weekend.


To see more pictures from the day click here to visit the new TackleTour Gallery.

Thanks to Gary for a great day on the water, and stay tuned for upcoming in depth reviews of the very rods we tested ….oh, and that lure Cal was testing, you’re just going to have to wait for that review.










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