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Rod Review

Savvy Duo:  Dobyns SS733C and SSM733C Micro Guide Rods (continued)

Field Tests:  The Dobyns rods were put to the test in South Florida waters on a myriad of lakes and ponds targeting Largemouth Bass.  Before the rods were able to do their thing, they obviously had to be rigged up.  Stringing up a micro guide rod can be a bit frustrating!  They are so small you really have to concentrate and just go slowly.  Make sure you have good eyes (and/or glasses!) and a steady hand.

Numbers were good, but size was not!

Casting:  Both of these sticks feature a fast action.  Couple this with their lightweight, balanced feel and they make very formidable casters with lures throughout their respective weight ranges.  Though they are rated up to 3/4 ounce lures and do handle them just fine, the sweet spot for me was in the 1/4-1/2 ounce range.  Accuracy was excellent and they were a pleasure to cast for long periods.  Both rods felt quite similar to me while casting but the slight extra softness to the  SSM733C was vaguely apparent.  Before taking my first casts I was expecting the micro rod to fish a bit crisper since it features smaller guides, but this was not the case at all.  The reasons for this were of course mentioned previously.  Despite all that I've read regarding micros vs. standard guides, I noticed no big differences in smoothness or distance under normal casting.  The only time a small difference was detected, was when pitching a light, unweighted plastic bait.  The standard guide model seemed to perform slightly better since it allowed line to flow more freely at slower trajectory speeds with the light bait.

Fishing the SSM733C with a nearby thunderstorm looming.

It was surprising how well the SSM733C micro guide model casts a braid to leader knot connection.  With 20lb braid, I attached a 3 foot section of 20lb Berkley big game mono via Albright knot.  I was thrilled to find that the knot effortlessly passed through all the guides and didn't seem to impede casting one bit.  This was something that I did not think was possible before with such a heavy leader.

I was really pleased with how well knots passed through the tiny micro guides.

 The length of the rod butt is spot on for anglers of all sizes.  It's just the right length to not get in your way when casting, but is still easily tucked up under your arm when crawling a bait along the bottom.  This simple but very important design feature is something some manufacturers just completely strike out on.

Sensitivity:  Sensitivity wise, both rods can be classified as slightly above average.  There is ample feel to get a good idea of what your bait is doing, but the sensitivity will not blow you away.  This is a sub $200 rod after all, so this should come as no surprise.  The micro guide rod seemed to have just a hint more sensitivity with certain reaction baits.  This was not evident to me until I began retrieving a lipless crankbait on each rod side by side using mono.  I felt the micro guide rod had just the slightest bit more feel to it.   No difference was noted when fishing a bottom contact bait, however.

Both rods feature a fast action and are great casters.

Power:  Both rods deliver sufficient power despite their slight differences and are well qualified to be MH rods.  There is ample muscle to move fish away from cover, with tips and midsections that really make for wonderfully versatile MH power rods.  There are definitely MH rods on the market that will fish with more power, but many manufacturers vary slightly in their ratings.

Application:  I have a real soft spot for 7'-7'3” medium heavy rods.  This length and power makes them so extremely versatile for a huge variety of techniques.  You could easily have several of these rods on deck and have most or even all of the bases covered for a day on the water.  Lipless crankbaits, Senkos, Texas rigs, football jigs, and spinnerbaits are a few of the applications that immediately come to mind.  Just because these are Bass rods doesn't mean they can't be used elsewhere!  Fellow saltwater anglers will appreciate these for small to midsized species like Stripers, Snook, Redfish, and juvenile Tarpon.

Price, Warranty:  Pricing on the Savvy rods is very competitive.  Spinning rods range from 6'9”-7'0” and are priced at $149.99-$159.99.  Casting rods range 6'6”-7'6” at a cost of $149.99-$169.99.  The cost per rod is the same whether you opt for standard or micro guides.  Our two test rods were priced at the top of the range at $169.99 each.  Gary Dobyns backs his rods with several warranty options.  First, a limited lifetime warranty is offered guarding against defects in materials and workmanship.  This warranty applies to the original owner, and is good for his/her lifetime.  Second, is a “No Hassle Replacement Policy”.  Simply take your damaged rod to a local Dobyns dealer, and for a $60 fee you may exchange it for a new rod of the same model.  Finally, is the standard replacement policy where the broken rod and payment for $60  is sent directly to Dobyns rods in exchange for a brand new rod.  For more info on warranty service visit Dobyns Rods and click on “service”. 


Dobyns Rods 704CB Glass Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Good construction overall.  No epoxy overruns or sloppy finish.  Nothing high end, but overall satisfying. 8
Performance Well balanced rods that feel just right in your hand.  Sensitivity was good for the price point.  The difference in power between the two was a surprise. 8
Price A competitive price for what you get. 7.5
Features Fine overall, but I'd like to see guides with a bit more of a refined finish. 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) Very comfortable to hold and fish. 9
Application Super versatile rods capable of handling many applications and many species in fresh or saltwater. 9

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:


+ Attractive cosmetics - Blanks tested different
+ Nicely balanced and lightweight - Guides could be more refined
+ Good performance - Can be frustrating to string up a rod with micro guides
+ Micro guides available for no extra cost  
+ Several warranty options  
+ Competitively priced  


Conclusion:  Despite our odd test results with the blanks, these two Savvy rods are a real joy to fish.  Though the micro model is the softer of the two, I find myself reaching for that rod most often.   This choice is not due to any real performance gain, but rather because it's something outside the norm. With the lightweight, low profile guides, it gives the rod a sleeker look and is just a bit different and more interesting than what I am used to.

A good one while fishing a hollow body swimbait on the SS733C.

 With good looks and pricing that will make your wallet smile, it's no surprise why these rods have been a popular addition to the Dobyns rod family.  Whichever model you opt for, you will get a proven fishing tool designed by a top tournament pro.  There are some great rods available in the sub $200 range these days, and these should really be on your list.    

Looking for a Dobyns Savvy Micro Rods? Check out Tackle Warehouse.










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