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Rod Review

A Big Stick for Big Fish, Dobyns Gen 2 Mike Long Edition 795 Swimbait Rod (continued)


Power: The 795MLSB is properly rated at Med/Heavy, this rod is a good all round swimbait rod capable of handling both light and heavy swimbaits. When it comes to power to handle big fish this stick gets the job done with confidence. While I have fished swimbait rods that are more powerful than this one, when it comes to a balance of weight versus power the 795MLSB is pretty much as good as big bait rods come.


When there is a fish on the line this rod has plenty of power to guide fish in


Ergonomics: The 795MLSB delivers excellent ergonomics that are a distinct notch above the already very good previous model. The 12.5” handle may take a little while for anglers to get used to but I found that once I spent enough time fishing the rod I absolutely loved the extra length and actually wished the handles on my other swimbait rods were as long. Does it get in the way of working topwater spook-type swimbaits, yes, so if you’re looking for a swimbait rod specifically to fish wakebaits this is not your rod.


Comparing the original and second gen rods side by side


It can get the job done but inevitably you will find the handle does get in the way, or your body gets in the way of the butt of the rod rather. Yes, the handle is a little bit of a “love it or leave it” characteristic but once you give it a shot it really doesn’t feel awkward at all and that extra casting leverage is especially good when fishing from shore.


A look at the fast action blank


When it comes to sinking baits, especially soft plastic swimbaits like Hudds the extra leverage provided by the longer handle is excellent. Once the bait is in the water the sculpted handle feels comfortable tucked under your arm and the overall lightness of this big stick makes fishing big baits all day easier. The hypalon grips on the new rod have been upgraded and are not as rough and porous as the original rods, the new grips feel smoother and more along the lines of what you would expect from a JDM rod.


I caught a lot of stripers and largemouth bass on the Delta with this combo, Dobyns 795MLSB + TMike Bullshad


Price & Applications: The original Dobyns 795ML retailed for 199 dollars and the gen 2 costs 239 dollars, so what do you get for that extra 40 dollars? The new rods while designed for the same purpose offer a much greater level of refinement both in terms of the aesthetics and performance. The new composite cork butt is a nice touch and the recessed butt cap doesn’t take damage like the previous version. At the end of the day the Gen 2 delivers the same type of overall feel but is even easier to fish with all day as it is noticeably lighter.



Dobyns Rods Champion 795ML Gen 2 Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Much more refined than the previous generation. The reel seat is still Fuji but the guides are now Kigan SiC. 8
Performance Casting performance is very good, feels a tad lighter than the original during casts but is capable of tossing lures all the way up the rated spec. Very good at the lighter swimbaits and when a fish is on the line the rod loads up very nicely 9
Price Not cheap for a swimbait rod  and lots of competition at this price point but still worth the money. The extra 40 dollars for this version over the previous one is palatable due to the improvement in weight reduction 7
Features Still don't get the Zirconium guides on the Champion Extreme and the SiC on the standard Extreme, but it benefits this rod. This stick feels very light and responsive, not your average heavy and cumbersome swimbait rod 8
Design (Ergonomics) Love it or hate it the extra long grip is more comfortable now with a sculpted handle. (subtract a point here if you don't like the extra handle, you will want the non Mike Long edition) Personally I love the extra long rear grip and find it excellent for swimbait fishing from shore, that extra leverage with big baits is fantastic 8.5
Application A very versatile stick good for most swimbaits minus topwater where that rear handle can get in the way 8

Total Score

Ratings Key: Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
(For a detailed explanation of the ratings go here)

Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Well balanced and Dobyns Rods manages to shave some weight off the original improving overall balance L Long handle is cumbersome when trying to work topwater baits
J SiC ring inserts L More expensive than the original but more refined
J Improved ergonomic hypalon grip  
J Great casting performance  
J Feels lighter and more responsive than the original  


Conclusion: At the peak of the swimbait craze, which some will argue has not yet subsided, every rod manufacturer out there rushed to market with a stick capable of handling big baits. While just about all these rods were able to handle the weight of a swimbait most were no more than rebadged saltwater sticks that were heavy and cumbersome to fish with. When we went through the exercise of testing a complete range of swimbait rods two years ago we found a few sticks that not only were sensitive and lightweight but rods we actually enjoyed fishing with. The original Dobyns 795ML was one of these rods.


A Delta Striper taken on a Jerry Rago swimbait


When Gary told me that he was redesigning the line to improve durability and overall quality I hoped that was indeed the case and not that the rod was simply going to a new factory to get cosmetically re-skinned. I was happy to see that the new rod is indeed a step up, and while it isn’t a quantum leap the Gen 2 does improve on a already quite good swimbait stick.


The reason we love swimbait rods and fishing swimbaits in general


The new 795ML is not your traditional overly stiff dead feeling swimbait stick, it feels light and responsive yet is capable of slinging a wide range of swimbaits all the way up to 5 ounces. The improvements in refinement and overall weight reduction while preserving the capability to toss truly big baits is enough to edge out the previous rod and take home an Editor’s Choice Award. Checking our test logs I found that I had spent the most time with this particular rod over other swimbait rods over the entire course of the last year, not because I needed to log more testing time but because I simply enjoy fishing the new 795MLSB and whenever I have a new swimbait to toss this is usually the first stick I reach for.


Looking for the Dobyns Mike Long Edition Swimbait rod?
Try Tackle Warehouse or Monster Fishing Tackle










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