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Rod Review

Swimbait Rod Wars Installment #6 : The Tool of a Trophy Bass Fisherman, Dobyns Rods 795ML


Date: 4/01/08
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: Dobyns Rods
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 7.17 - GOOD


Update from TT Editors 6/25/19 - We reviewed a number of Dobyns Mike Long Signature bass rods years ago, and the rod in this article was one of them. At the time Mike was well respected for his giant bass catching capabilities, and we also spoke to him at industry events about the design of these rods. The recent article and video by SDFish.com captures a series of events, and behaviors, that are extremely disappointing for any angler that enjoys the sport of fishing, and especially the pursuit of trophy class largemouth. For anglers, the joy and challenge of making countless casts with big baits is fueled by the dream of enticing a proper strike, and landing one of these unforgettable fish.

We know that Dobyns rods severed ties with Mike years ago, and like other manufacturers, outdoor media, and anglers, many people believed in Mikeís bass hunting abilities, and are likely just as disappointed. Over the years we have fished the signature rods mentioned in this review, and even purchasing a few more ourselves for use in other big bait reviews, and while we still believe in the rodís capabilities we do have to now question what was originally told to us about the layout and designs of these signature rods.

Where the Mike Long Signature on the original rods used to be a positive reminder of the passion in which to pursue big bass, it now serves as a reminder that it is important to pursue these fish, and treat others, with integrity and respect. As with all of our reviews we hope that you, the angler, can extract the points that are meaningful to you, and your unique applications. For those anglers that have purchased the original signature series rods we hope that you continue to enjoy each cast, and every memory that a swimbait fish brings. For us, we no longer feel motivated to utilize them, even for future bait testing purposes, and will be donating all of them to up and coming young anglers that will be able to put them to good use. - Z


Introduction: Our last installment of the Swimbait Rod Wars introduced us to a seldom discussed, surprising performer in the Kistler Custom Rods KBSBS80. We contrast that today with a rod that came to us with very high expectations. Carrying with it the pedigree of tournament champion Gary Dobyns together with the design spec's of trophy bass fisherman Mike Long, the Dobyns Rods Champion 795ML is a rod built for those serious in their trophy hunting aspirations, but does it have what it takes to impress the crew at TackleTour?

Dobyns Rods Champion 795ML Specifications

Material Proprietary Graphite
Length 7'9"
Length from Back of Reel Seat to Base 13.5"
Line Wt. 15-30lbs
Lure Wt. 4-8 inch baits / 1-4 ounces
Pieces one
Guides 9 + tip (Fuji Alconite, all double footed)
Power Rating Medium Heavy
Taper Fast
Rod Weight 8.5 ounces
Manufacturing Country China
MSRP $199

Impressions: The 795ML was one of a handful of rods handed to us by Gary Dobyns himself after that trip to Clear Lake during the Summer of 2007. With this type of special delivery comes the advantage of being able to walk us through his and Mike Long's mindset when negotiating the final design specifications of this stick. Aside from the actual action of this stick, the one aspect of primary importance to both Dobyns and Long was balance. They certainly achieved that with a stick that balances out just five and a half (5.5) inches up from the centerline of he reel seat. But of course, with such fine balance on a stick of this size and power comes weight, and the 795ML is among the heaviest in our Rod Wars coming in at eight and one half (8.5) ounces.


Introducing the Dobyns Rods Champion 795ML


Though this is not the rod we teased at the end of the DX703X review, the 795ML does sit within the base line, Champion series offering of the Dobyns Rods lineup. A very nice feature with this rod is the use of Hypalon as the rear and foregrip material instead of cork, otherwise, the detailing on this stick is similar to that of the DX703X save for the use of blue highlights instead of red.


Lab Results for Dobyns Rods Champion 795ML

Avg RoD (2-48 oz)
Rated Action
Measured Weight
Balance Point
Dobyns Rods 795ML
8.5 Ounces
Kistler KBSBS80
7.2 Ounces
Okuma 711MH
7 Ounces
Fenwick ECSWB79H-F
6.4 Ounces

Lab Tests (Rate of Deflection (RoD)): If you've been following each chapter of the Swimbait Rod Wars thus far, you're already familiar with this deflection chart. An interesting aspect with the 795ML is how light its tip is with load ranges to about 28 ounces, then, beyond this range, the rod seems to stiffen up really well suggesting a strong backbone.

Fig. 1 : This RoD Deflection Chart shows the deflection characteristics of the Dobyns Rods Champion 795ML (yellow curve) against several similar sticks.

Spine, Weight, and Balance Point: We've already discussed the rod's trade off of weight for balance leaving the only remaining technical point of its spine. We were able to locate the rod's spine on top, right in line with its array of double footed Fuji Alconite guides.

Rigged and ready to go on the California Delta

Real World Test: We fished the 795ML primarily with one of two reels: Daiwa's TD Luna and Daiwa Japan's Millionaire Black Sheep. We threw baits up and down the rod's lure rating to get a sense of the blank, but I have to say, the tip of this rod is just about perfect for Black Dog Bait Company's Lunker Punker. Boy does that bait feel good on this stick!

This stick has the perfect blank action with which to fish the Lunker Punker


Complete Field Test Set-Up for Dobyns Rods Champion 795ML

Daiwa Millionaire I'ZE Black Sheep 250
Daiwa TD Luna 253LA
20lb Cuda Copoly
20lb Triple Fish Camo Escent
Primary Baits Fished
Black Dog Bait Company Lunker Punker
Baitsmith 6" Swimbait
Rainbow Worms Bowfish

Casting: With its 13.5" long rear handle, the 795ML is made with long casting, big bait fisherman in mind. You can REALLY lay into your casts with this rod and literally launch your baits some incredible distances. As such, make sure, if you move forward with the purchase of one of these rods, to use a reel with good line capacity. If only we had a Calcutta 250 DC on hand, the results could have been very scary.


The 795ML is a casting machine...

Casting is so far and easy with this stick that I found myself looking forward to each successive cast just for the sheer fun in launching baits with it. But it's not just the blank's easy loading action and the rod's extra-long handle that contribute to the ergonomic casting of this rod. The grip material has a lot to do with it as well. The soft, cushioning hypalon grip really comforts your palm and provides a positive gripping surface when torquing the bottom half of the rod back around. Really A+'s all around for the casting performance of this stick - very impressive.

with the ability to send baits like this long and far!

Working Baits: But of course, as with the weight versus balance issue on this rod, there is a trade-off for the 795ML's fantastic casting performance: the extra-long handle is a pain when trying to impart any action into our bait. Case in point? The afore mentioned Lunker Punker. It is scary the distances you can achieve casting that bait with this rod and the rod's soft tip makes the Punker do its dance expertly.

The 795ML comes equipped with a full array of double footed Fuji Alconite guides


Trouble is, as you're making the Punker do it's dance with the 795ML, you'll likely be doing one yourself as the butt end of the rod jabs your ribs and elbow with each successive jerk of the rod's tip! Not a problem you say, just jerk up and down instead of side to side? Nope, then you just nail yourself under your arm. It is a frustrating negotiation trying to find the perfect motion with this stick given how beautifully it can work the Punker.

Given the rod's long handle, the 795ML is more easily fished with soft plastic swimbaits like this 6" Baitsmith

Now of course, with bottom bouncing baits like Baitsmith's 6" swimbait, or even a Huddleston Deluxe 8" trout, most big bait fisherman simply tuck he butt end of the rod up under their arm and slowly work their baits by turning the handle of the reel. In this application the rod excels, but it's not nearly as much fun as working that Punker. What's more, while it's doable, I found the 8" Hudd just a tad heavy for this rod during a cast, but the 6" Hudd? absolute nirvana.

The 795ML features an exposed blank reel seat

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