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Rod Review

 

Taking the Time to Appreciate the Unique Personality of the Enthusiast Class Dobyns Xtasy Series (continued)

Design and Ergonomics: It is interesting how we have come full circle on grip styles when it comes to premium rods. For a while everyone wanted a split grip, and full handle grips were viewed as a legacy design due to their traditional styling and weight. Nowadays, similar to how clothes go in and out of fashion, full grips are once again considered cool. Ergonomically I've always liked a traditional full grip, and the cork used on the Xtasy Series is smooth, soft, and beautiful.

Even with the full cork handle the Xtasy 724C is well balanced, and paired with a lightweight reel like the Shimano Metanium MGL it just feels right.

Though the Toray blank materials and Fuji Torzite guides offer the latest in technology there are elements of the Xtasy Series rods that make them very traditional, the full non-tapered cork grip design is one such feature. Another is the choice to use the proven ECS reel seat, a move that I applaud, and while it may not be the most aggressively styled, or modern seat, it is still the benchmark when it comes to comfort and ergonomics.


The detail in design is here in the Xtasy Series, and the overall build is what we would expect in an enthusiast class stick

Price & Applications: During the last two seasons I also brought out various Dobyns rods out of the lab vault to compare them to the Xtasy. This exercise reminded me just how hard it is to build a flagship model. The differences are subtle, and yet the Xtasy rod delivers improved sensitivity over the Champion Extreme HP rods, and a lighter, but not necessarily crisper, overall feel. It is when fishing deeper with contact baits like jigs, worms, and bubba shot rigs where the Xtasy seems roughly 8-10% more sensitive than the already very respectable Champion Extreme HP rods. This difference may seem insignificant, but that is often how things are when you get to the halo class, and that extra little bit of added refinement makes all the difference between a premium and enthusiast offering.


I pretty much fish the Xtasy exclusively with the Metanium MGL nowadays

Retailing for $549 dollars each the Xtasy Series rods are a serious investment, and put it squarely in the range of premium competitors like the often compared G.Loomis NRX Series, Daiwa Steez SVF AGS, and Megabass Destroyer rods, which are interestingly the most affordable of all these rods, and how often can you say that about anything "Megabass."

For Dobyns fans the Xtasy Series will be a no-brainer, they are simply the most lightweight and sensitive rods in the brand's lineup. For G.Loomis fans the Dobyns offering represents something different, and many NRX fans may not necessarily appreciate the attributes of the Toray material and Fuji Torzite guides until spending enough time with the rods. This was certainly this case for me, and only after fishing the Xtasy in deeper water with light jigs did I fully appreciate the unique personality, and performance attributes, that the Xtasy brings to boat.


Though billed as a feel rod for plastics and jigs that more moderate taper actually makes this rod a possible choice for fishing smaller hardbaits

The Xtasy rod lineup is particularly well suited for jig and worm fishing, especially with lighter weights and in deeper water. When you learn exactly how that unique tick feels like upon strike don't be afraid to set hard with the Xtasy, as this rod will respond confidently.


Even spinnerbaits and inline-blades are fair game with this rod

Just for kicks I also fished the Xtasy rods in a wider range of applications, testing the rod with fast moving reaction baits, and found that in a pinch it can actually handle small hardbaits, spinnerbaits, and even inline blades quite well.

Ratings:

Dobyns Rods Xtasy DRX724C Rod Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Great to see Dobyns move to Fuji for almost all their rods and the use of Torzite in the guides makes sense. The build quality on the Xtasy Series is excellent and matches the quality materials and components 9.5
Performance This particular rod is a very good introduction to the series and surprisingly versatile. The rod is sensitive, but definitely feels very different than other enthusiast contact sticks, especially the NRX, as it doesn't rely on blank stiffness or insert-less guides to telegraph vibration. While the Xtasy feels very different after fishing the rod for an extended period, and changing the way I palmed the rods, I began to really appreciate the rod's unique performance attributes and overall light handling 9
Price The Xtasy Series makes use of some very expensive components, especially the Fuji Torzite guidetrain, so it is no surprise they retail for $549 dollars. There is a lot of good competition at this price point but the Xtasy does offer a unique blend of technology with classic, and proven, design 6.5
Features The rod's greatest features are the Toray nano materials and Kevlar wrapping in the blank and the durable and lightweight Fuji Torzite guides. The AAAA cork grip is high quality and feels great in hand but the overall rod design may be too muted for some enthusiasts 8.5
Design (Ergonomics) Though traditional in design I actually really like the full cork grip and found that when I finally mounted the new Shimano Metanium MGL I had found my perfect pairing. Overall the rod handles well and while not really a standout in styling is also not polarizing at all (think how much some anglers hated the bright blue styling on the NRX when it first debuted, so much so the company had to introduce a more traditional green series) 8
Application There are other more versatile, and more affordable, rods in the Dobyns lineup but if you are looking for a jig or plastic application specific rod the Xtasy Series delivers and is capable of more in a pinch 8

Total Score

8.25
Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here

 

Pluses and Minuses:

Plus

Minus
+ Blends modern technology with classic ergonomics and design - Expensive, which is exactly what you expect from an enthusiast rod armed with Fuji Torzite guides
+ Fuji Torzite guides are light and tough and handle all line types well - Takes some time to appreciate how the rod is designed and how to really unlock the rod's full potential
+ Sensitivity isn't jarring but allows anglers to really discern the difference between structures and bites - It could be a positive depending on your tastes but the styling may be too simple, or muted, for some enthusiasts
+ Casts very well  
+ The cork used in the handle is very high quality and I appreciate the fullgrip from an ergonomic perspective  

 

Conclusion: The Dobyns Xtasy Series is a unique take on what a halo rod series should be. Styling-wise I found the Dobyns Xtasy to be surprisingly subtle for an enthusiast class rod. The attention to detail is absolutely there, and when you look at the quality of components it all adds up, and yet it doesn't necessarily scream enthusiast. Where are the colored accents, bright threading, cork and EVA combined handles, or proprietary reel seat? In many ways the more affordable lower-positioned Dobyns rods bear more flashy elements than the Xtasy Series. These rods are all about stealth, quality and tactical brilliance.

 


Proving that you should never judge a book by its cover the understated Dobyns Xtasy Series my not scream enthusiast from a styling perspective but it does deliver the features, performance, and fun

 

Built with top of the shelf components including Toray nano materials and Kevlar wrapping in the blank, expensive Fuji Torzite guides, and finished with AAAA-grade cork fullgrip handles, the Xtasy Series is everything you expect from a flagship rod. Yet it takes fishing time to appreciate just how light the Xtasy handles, how well it launches baits, how it transfers vibration through the guides and blank, and even how it soaks up hooksets and preserves those hooked fish. Spend the time to experience the Xtasy and you will appreciate the great rods that Gary has created, and unlock the full potential of these enthusiast-class rods for fishing both jigs and plastics.  

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