By Terri Battisti
August 25, 2011
In part one of this piece, Gary talked about what made him go from full-time tournament pro to full-time rod manufacturer. He also talked about what goes into making a Dobyns rod and how he uses only the best materials for each line of rods offered.
Now, Gary and two of his national pro-staff members, FLW Tour Pro Dave Lefebre and Elite Series Pro Clark Reehm, talk about the rod lines, the rods they use, why they use them and what these rods have done for their game.
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The Rod Lines
Currently Dobyns offers three different rod lines – the Savvy series, the Champion series and the Champion Extreme series – the difference in each being the grade of the components used.
“The Savvy series line was basically developed because our dealers and anglers wanted some entry-level rods,” Dobyns said. “There are only 13 rods in this series but each rod is designed and built with the same care as our higher-end rods. The difference between these rods and the Champion series is the use of alconite guides, B grade cork and a slight step down in modulus ratings on the blank.”
“The Champion series, on the other hand, is the backbone of our company. They have everything anyone would ever need in a rod. I could fish with this series and never pick up another rod. My son, Richard, and I fish mostly Champion models.”
Because the Champion series is the bread and butter of the company, they offer 45 models from spinning through swimbait rods and even have four graphite/glass composite crankbait rods in the lineup. The rods are made with Kigan SIC guides, A-grade cork and a super high-end proprietary blank.
Dobyns also knows and understands that there’s a market for high-end JDM style rods. His line of Champion Extreme rods is meant to compete with companies like Evergreen and MegaBass.
“The Champion Extreme series rods are made with only the best materials money can buy,” he said. “They are the ultimate ‘feel’ rod and my customers are always telling me they look and feel like a JDM product.”
Because this line targets a smaller audience, they offer 20 models, each fitted with Kigan zirconium guides, aluminum trim rings, Kevlar in the butt section of the rod for strength and looks and AAA-grade cork. The blanks and reel-seats are even finished in a chameleon paint that changes color depending on how the light hits it.
What do They Use and Why?
Bass anglers have a penchant for loading the boat with rods – sometimes having more than 20 rods in the locker or on deck at any time. I was curious what Gary would say if he was told he could only take a minimum number of rods out on the water with him.
“That’s not a bad question,” he said. “Like we talked about before, our rods are designed as crossover rods and this gives the angler a lot of options. If I was limited to the number of rods I could take, this would have to be my decision:
“I’d have a flipping stick (DX795), a jig rod (DX744), two crankbait/jerkbait rods (704CB), Randy McAbee 764RM and 805RM crankbait rods, two utility rods (733C and 734C) for throwing toads, blades, Senkos, spooks and whatever else. Then I’d round it out with two spinning rods (702SF and 703SF) for finesse fishing. After that, I might switch one out for a swimbait if I knew I was going to be throwing that. That’s only 10 rods but those rods will allow me to do anything I could ever need to do anywhere.”
So what would a tour-level angler use?
Clark Reehm is known on tour for a couple of reasons. He tells it like it is and he’s a tackle freak. Clark has been with Dobyns Rods since he started the Elite Series 4 years ago. He shares some thoughts on equipment and Dobyns Rods.
“I’m one of those anglers who’s a stickler for pairing every aspect of my equipment to optimize my time on the water,” he said. “Dobyns Rods has a model in their vast line-up that can get the job done no matter what bait, technique or condition I plan on fishing. Gary builds the optimum model rod for every situation. Other companies might just have a great flipping stick or crankbait rod but not an arsenal of quality options.”
“For an angler looking for a specialty rod, Dobyns Rods has the answer somewhere in their lineup. That being said, most anglers would probably say that one of the more technique specific rods like the 805 CB RM , the 705 GLASS, or the 736 Frog Rod would be their favorite but I am more of a junk power fisherman than a specialized expert. I make most of my money with a Champion 734C. This is one of the most versatile rods Gary produces. You won’t find a better rod for chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, or smaller swimbaits. I use the same rod for Senkos, light Carolina Rigs and spooks. This isn’t the rod I pull out to sell someone on how bad ass Dobyns Rods are. It’s the one I pull out when I need to put fish in the boat.”
FLW Tour pro Dave Lefebre is a recent addition to the Dobyns Rods pro-staff. After being with another rod company for many years he landed with Dobyns at the beginning of 2011 and hasn’t looked back since.
“A couple of years ago I started looking for a new rod company,” he said. “I asked a lot of friends what they liked and Gary’s name always came up. I knew Gary was one of the western sticks but I had no idea he had a rod company.”
“Then I fished with a co-angler who had some of his rods and my instant thought was, ‘I need to call this guy.’ He’s the only company I approached and I’m so glad I did. He makes the best rods I’ve ever seen.”
“For the last 20 years I have always preached moderate action rods to anyone who would listen to me. After talking with Gary and fishing his rods, I know my theory was way off. Fast action rods have caught me fish this year that I know I would have missed in the past. They allow me to catch up to the fish so much faster and the action has really helped my jig fishing. Don’t get me wrong, there are still times I need a moderate action rod for certain things but with the faster action rods I have really noticed a difference in the number of fish I put in the boat.”
Known as the “Rattle Trap-losingest” angler on tour, one of Lefebre’s favorite rods has become the 705CB Glass.
“I have been known to lose nearly 80% of the fish I hook on traps,” he said. “The first event I fished with this rod at the beginning of the season I was throwing a trap and covering a ton of water. I got eight bites and caught them all. I went from 100th in the standings up to 30th and it was all because of that rod. In the past, I might have boated 2 of those fish and would have just chalked it up to my luck.”
His favorite rods, though, are the 74-series rods.
“I used to use 7-foot 6-inch and 8-foot rods all the time,” he said. “Now I’m finding that the 7-foot 4-inch rods fit me better. The 742 through 745 rods are the most versatile rods I have ever used. The 743 is an awesome chatterbait and blade rod. The 745 is an awesome jig rod.”
“I do a lot of flipping and the DX795FLIP is light but still a beast of a rod.”
The rods he has in his boat consist of:
Champion Series – 804CB for big cranks, 705CB Glass for traps and squarebills, 735 for toads and the 736 for frogs. “It’s the best frog rod on the planet,” he said.
Champion Extreme Series – DX703C, DX704C, DX705C, DX742C, DX743C, DX744C, DX745C and the DX795FLIP.
“The other thing I like about Dobyns rods is the family feel,” he said. “When I made it known I was coming over people came out of the woodwork welcoming me and offering advice. A lot of the rods that were recommended were spot on. There’s a lot of support out there with fans of his rods that you don’t see with other manufacturers.”
Never being satisfied with the status-quo, Dobyns is in the works to break out a new rod line come 2012. Lefebre has been using one of the prototypes this year.
“I’ve been using a prototype this year and the rod is incredible,” he said. “I can’t wait for the whole line to come out – they’re lighter than you can imagine and very well balanced.”
Dobyns also has it in the works to fish the FLW Tour next year – assuming he can get healthy.
“My son, Richard, and I really feel like we need to go east and fish the FLW Tour,” he said. “It’ll get me out of the west and it’ll also help us promote the rod company. We recently became sponsors of FLW and fishing in the east, meeting new friends and dealers should help grow our company.”
“The fishing is a lot different than what’s out here but we should be able to catch fish. I just need to get my shoulder back in shape.”
Never satisfied with his performance on the water, Gary Dobyns was always trying to find better ways to make rods that would elevate his game. His relentless tinkering over the course of his fishing career finally resulted in a rod company that makes rods for fishermen that are balanced properly, have multiple uses and will put fish in the boat. Not only that, you won’t find a more fervent person in the rod business who stands behind his product and listens to what the anglers want.