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Rod Review


FINALLY! The Dobyns Rods Champion Xtreme DX703C X-Fast (continued)
 

Sensitivity: The true badge of honor amongst rod manufacturers is sensitivity. This is where you hear all the outlandish claims of "the best" or "the most", etc.. So where does the DX703C lineup? Truthfully? I can say I feel it is no better or no worse than the other three rods mentioned previously. I stopped short of taking all four rods out with me to test them head to head because I experienced nothing while fishing the DX703C to give me the impression it was anything less or anything more than the other three rods in terms of sensitivity.


A look at the Fuji ECS reel seat on our DX703C
 

A not often seen Sacramento Squawfish taken on the DX703C

 

Power: Where I might have doubted this stick's power rating during casting and pitching exercises, I was quickly reminded, and rewarded of its inherent power whenever I got a hookup. In fact, with the largest fish caught on this rod being a four plus pound bass, not once did I have any difficulty bringing my catch in or directing it away from potential line breaking cover. Hopefully, someday soon, I'll hook into something to truly test this rod's power curve, but for now the DX703C feels as though it has sufficient backbone for a rod rated in this power class.


Some may find the rear portion of the split rear grip too small

Features: Earlier this year, during our coverage of the International Sportsman's Exposition held in Sacramento, California, we reported on the two different Dobyns Rods lineups: the Champion and Champion Xtreme. At that time, it was reported to us, that the Champion Xtreme rods differed from the standard series with a higher grade graphite and different grip treatment (full rear grip on the Xtreme versus a mix of full and split rear on the standard). Obviously, our DX703C Champion Xtreme rod features a split rear grip, so either our information was incorrect, or something changed between then and now once again. Whatever the case may be, our DX703C Champion Xtreme is a production model rod, so be aware it does feature a split rear grip.

A closeup of the DX703C's detailing at the rear split grip

 

The components of this rod are all Fuji including the Alconite guides and ECS reel seat. There are attractive metal winding checks at appropriate locations around the grip including a very subtle one between the rear grip and reel seat. This Champion Xtreme rod comes with black thread wraps with red and silver highlight threads.


Fuji Alconite guides held in place by black thread wrap with red highlights

Another attractive feature of this rod is the woven graphite tube that extends from the butt to about halfway between the top of the reel seat and first guide. Its purpose is as much to add to the reinforcement of the rod's base as it is to add an attractive element the rod's appearance.

A very subtle winding check between the rear grip and reel seat

 

Application: The DX703C X-Fast comes with the ever increasing practice of having the recommended uses for a rod printed right on the blank. For this medium-heavy powered rod, the manufacturer recommended applications lifted right off the blank are "Senkos, Jigs, Flukes, Texas Rigs, Spinnerbaits." In other words, this is your typical all purpose application rig. The tip is soft enough to where you can even throw crankbaits with little difficulty. My favorite applications for this rod were Senkos, lipless cranks and spinnerbaits.


The DX703C's grip features a mix of standard and compressed cork for a different look
 

An often forgotten detail with US rods, this butt cap wins style points, but at the same time, this implementation is questionable because of the non-too-durable compressed cork surround

 

Warranty: Every Dobyns Rods stick comes with a limited lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the original owner. Warranty claims are to be sent directly to the warranty center along with a check or money order in the amount of twenty dollars ($20) to cover shipping back to the owner. Claims will be evaluated and each rod will be repaired or replaced as quickly as possible. If it turns out the rod failed for another reason, the owner will be contacted with replacement options.


Just what we needed - yet another player in the bass rod market!

 

Additionally, Dobyns Rods offers a "No Hassle" replacement plan as an alternative to the warranty process. The fee for this replacement is $50 and it is an over the counter transaction at any authorized Dobyns Rods retailer. Replacements are for the same model rod only.

 

Ratings:

Dobyns Rods Champion Xtreme DX703C X-Fast Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Another finely crafted rod from overseas 9
Performance If you're looking for a stick with which to learn the fine art of pitching, this may be the one! 9.5
Price The higher end product from this manufacturer comes with an associated higher price point. 8
Features Spec's to match the competition including a no hassle replacement plan to match G.Loomis 9.5
Design (Ergonomics) Part of the delay with this product was G.Dobyns' insistence on balance. We can see the result 9.25
Application All purpose doesn't get much easier than this 10

Total Score

9.21


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Balance balance balance L Just a tad on the pricey side
J Generous Replacement Warranty L Split rear grip is now becoming a bit passé
J Great tip for pitching  
J Good sensitivity  


Conclusion: While it's clear features like a split rear grip and no foregrip design are no longer as eye catching and avante guard as they were even just two short years ago, it's nice to see an implementation that doesn't simply go along with the crowd, but improves upon the design. The DX703C may not be as light as other rods featuring these styling cues, but it is better balanced and feels better in hand. Couple that with excellent pitching performance, solid components, and a power curve that is the very definition of "all purpose" and you've peaked our curiosity as to what else Dobyns Rods has in store.

 

This Delta Bass had some serious battle scars but was kind enough to jump onto the end of the line of our DX703C X-Fast for this picture.

 

Great, just what we needed, yet another rod manufacturer to keep tabs on. It's clear Dobyns was paying attention to other rod manufacturers because our primary criticisms at the end of a number of reviews were that many rods needed just a little more "umph" cosmetically, and we preferred the hook hangar on the other side of the rod. The DX703C makes a run at both those points and backs it up with pitching characteristics reminiscent of yet another of our favorites, the Kistler Helium He69APC. Unfortunately, it does so at a higher price point than the 683C which only begs the question, how well does the standard Champion series perform? ... Oh come on, you expected that, didn't you? After all, what would an article on Dobyns Rods be without yet another tease?

 

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