West Coast bass wizard Gary Dobyns has completely re-designed his entire Dobyns Rods lineup for 2009 and has a whole mess of technique-specific sticks to cover just about any bass fishing situation you’ll encounter. The Dobyns Rods’ new 702 SF spinning stick is a nice, lightweight and modestly priced entry aimed at finesse plastics aficionados. But how does it fish?
Features & Specs
The 702 SF Champion Series is 7 feet long and rated for 6- to 12-pound test. It features a medium/light fast action and will cast 1/8- to 1/2-ounce lures.
• No foregrip
• Split rear grip
• Custom hook keeper designed specifically for dropshot rigs
• SiC guides
• Fuji reel seat
• MSRP: $229
On the Water Test
If you’ve been following the Dobyns Rods story, you’re probably well aware that the initial offerings were prone to some breakage issues. They really weren’t design flaws but quality control issues at the Chinese factory. Several hard core bassers I know said they liked those early rods but tip breakage was a problem. Although if you got one of the random good ones, the rods preformed very well.
The Cliff’s Notes version of the tale is Dobyns dumped his production facility in China and eventually found one in Korea that will produce a much better product. He also revamped the line, tweaking here and there and changed some of the models. The cosmetics have also been changed — the Champion Xtreme line, in particular, are really “pimped out.”
I got an early sneak peak at the 702 SF a couple weeks back and was immediately impressed. The first thing you’ll notice when grabbing one of these new generation of Dobyns Rods is how light they are…an important factor when you’re going to cast all day to cold, lethargic bass that bite extremely softly.
Dobyns designed the 702 SF with dartheads, shaking worms, shaky heads, tubes and Gitzits in mind. For my trial run, I did a little of everything but spent a lot of time casting a 1/4-ounce Smallie Beaver a lot of the day.
The rod was light, responsive and sensitive. Without a foregrip, you get direct contact with the blank so you can detect even the most subtle grab. The bass were deep that day and I could easily feel when my lead head or dropshot ticked the rocks in 35 feet of water.
Same holds true for the split rear-grip. More sensitive — and without all that cork, lighter, too…The extra length back here also gives you a place to put your left hand if you need to really punch a cast a long distance into the wind:
The action of the rod seemed perfect. A soft enough tip to cast light baits and protect light leaders while also possessing enough cajones in the lower end to muscle a big kicker bass out of deep structure:
The Dobyns Rod 702 SF was a pleasure to fish..I only wish the fish were on a better chew so I could have “really” given it a good, line burning, bent-double all day workout. Oh well, that’s fishing…
As a side note, though not designed for it, I think the 702 SF would also be a nice stick to throw Kastmasters and Panther Martins for trout at your favorite lake…just in case the bass aren’t biting.
Time will tell if all the quality control problems have been resolved with Dobyn’s new Korean rod plant, but I have a strong hunch that the West’s all-time money leader in bass tournaments has got all the bugs worked out.