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Rod Review

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

Sensitivity: Sensitivity is really good with this rod. In fact, it was surprising. On a recent outing to Clear Lake while slow crawling a 6" Hudd, I could really feel each bump and knock of the bottom contour. So much so, I found myself setting on a lot of "rock fish"! I was also quite pleased with this rod's performance while fishing weed patches in the California Delta with the Rainbow Worms Bowfish for striper. For some reason, with these small swimbaits, a lot of times, the striper will pick at them before committing. I was able to feel all the little "tick-tick-ticks" just before they turned into big "woofs!" as the striper finally took the bait in.

This early version of the 795ML expresses the rods lure rating in terms of size of baits (4"-8"), not weight.

Power: Hookups with this rod are inspiring. In the afore mentioned "tick-tick-tick - WOOFS!", sweeping back with this rod to set on striped bass, was downright bone jarring as good sized stripers are not easily turned even on a hard hookset. As suspected, the 795ML sets up rather quickly into its backbone, yet, when battling a fish, the rod's forgiving tip is just soft enough as to minimize the chances of pulling your bait out of the fish's mouth.

JIP checks out the 795ML with a bait he's reviewing

Though I encountered no circumstances as amusing as my encounter with the Kistler KBSBS80 during Zander's phone conversation, a story shared in the last installment of our Rod Wars, the 795ML provided ample fish catching fun with some smaller sized schoolies caped off with a chunky eight pounder. Judging by the way it handled these fish, there should be no issues with black bass of just about any size on this rod.

The prototype of this rod featured a very large foregrip. It was paired down to this relatively small bulb for production - we like this implementation.

Features: Most of the features of the 795ML have already been discussed. One interesting, non-performance affecting characteristic of this rod is the buttcap. At the end of the 795ML is an aluminum cap - same as that found on the previously reviewed DX703X from the same manufacturer. Only where the cap on the DX703X was surrounded by compressed cork, that of the 795ML is almost fully exposed. In a rather odd detail, the hypalon of the rear trip tapers down towards the aluminum butt cap and the cap extends out beyond the end of the hypalon.

The rod's aluminum buttcap extends out beyond the end of the rod.

Again, this does nothing to effect the rod's performance, but if you're one who prides him or herself in keeping your equipment as new looking as possible, this little detail makes it difficult, at best, to keep the butt cap of the 795ML free from scratches and scuffs. What's more, if at any point in time you lean your rod up against the side of your boat or any other surface, be mindful that if the ground is smooth and hard, that your combo will likely slide and come crashing down onto the floor because the exposed butt cap provides no friction against which to stand or lean your rod. A minor inconvenience at best, and we're told it is being addressed on future models.

and is therefore susceptible to premature scuffs and scratches.

Application: As alluded to earlier, the 795ML is the bottom bouncing swimbaiter's dream - at least for baits within the rod's recommended lure rating. If there were some way to shorten the handle, it could be the absolute perfect stick for the Lunker Punker and even 3:16's Wake Jr.. Oh and by the way, Dobyns is fast at work on a modified 795ML with just this very characteristic! The rod's soft tip, yet fast taper make it ideal for just about any type of swimbait you can tie to the end of the line. That's saying a lot against the rods we've written up thus far as there seems to be a trend for rods that are best suited for either hardbaits or softbaits.

Subtle detailing touches like this winding check between the rear grip and reel seat add a nice touch of refinement to this stick.


For added measure, I did tie on some 1 oz lipless cranks, big spinnerbaits, and even some one ounce jigs, and the 795ML can handle all those baits in a pinch as well. Large rip baits were a no go as once again, the rod's handle length was too cumbersome.

Lamiglas helps with distribution and warranty processing of all Dobyns Rods

Warranty: As previously outlined, every Dobyns Rods product comes with a limited lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. In addition, if one chooses not to go through the warranty inspection process, there is a "No Hassle" replacement plan for a set fee of $50 at participating dealers. For full details or additional questions please visit the Dobyns Rods website or contact them directly. 



Dobyns Rods Champion 795ML Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality A few quirks here and there, but overall, a nicely crafted stick 6.5
Performance Casting performance among the best we've sampled thus far 8
Price Getting up there but still inline with the mid-range product 6.5
Features Solid components 7
Design (Ergonomics) Very comfortable grip 7
Application The most versatile stick yet able to fish hard or soft plastic swimbaits - just tough with the topwater baits because of the handle 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 Very well balanced stick L With that balance comes extra weight
J Solid component line L Long handle is cumbersome when trying to work topwater baits
J Comfortable hypalon grip  
J Inspiring casting performance  
J Versatile performing blank


Conclusion: Most of the first batch of Dobyns Rod's 795MLs were sold before they even reached store racks. Any remaining sticks were snatched up pretty quickly. Such was the anticipation created by the pedigree this stick carried coupled with the craze of big bait madness sweeping across the country. The excellent casting and power performance of this stick certainly lived up to expectations, and those accustomed to longer handles while working their baits will feel right at home with the 795ML. But for us here at TackleTour, that added length proved cumbersome with the bait we really wanted to throw on this stick, namely the Lunker Punker.


This 8lb striped bass didn't stand a chance against the Dobyns Rods 795ML


Moving past this frustration, we resigned ourselves to fish baits that can be worked with the reel, rather than the tip of the rod. From this perspective, the 795ML is ideal and we cannot wait for more time on the water with this stick and our stash of 6" Huddleston Deluxe swimbaits. This particular 795ML may never see a different bait tied to the end of its line. If you're a bottom bouncing, big bait fisherman, this is the stick for you. As for us, it's back to the Rod Wars and our evaluation of the next representative. Time to take another look at the exotics.










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