Purchasing quality bass fishing rods is an investment for most anglers. It’s an investment that improves one’s bass catching and usually leads to purchasing more quality bass rods. Before you know it, you can have quite a bit of money wrapped up in bass fishing rods. What are some things we can do to protect our investment? I spoke with Gary Dobyns of Dobyns Rods, to get some in-sight on how to take care of our equipment.
Gary’s advice is to purchase a good rod cover. He favors the Rod Glove brand because their tapered tip makes it much easier to place the rods in the rod locker. What the Rod Glove does is protect the guides going in to the rod locker storage systems in the major brands of boats. Also, the Rod Glove keeps rods from tangling making it much easier going in and out of the rod box. Many rods are broken as anglers are yanking on tangled rods when removing them from the rod box. It protects both the blanks and guides and will prolong the life of your rods.
Gary’s next comment was the fact that so many guys use the tip of an expensive rod to save a hook and weight, or a jig. They’ll break a rod that could cost as high as $300 plus to save a very cheap bait. This is a problem all companies deal with. It’s something that is very easily recognized in warranty situations. Gary says, “I just can’t believe guys will risk breaking a rod tip for a $2 jig.”
Something else that most fishermen don’t realize is reeling a bait all the way to the tip of your rod for storage, whether you’re moving to your next spot or trailering home, is very hard on tip guides and rod tips. Two baits that Gary specifically named that he sees regularly are spinnerbaits and buzzbaits. You see a boat flying down the highway with these baits spinning in the wind. It surely does not do guide inserts any good. He also points out that it will twist the line up and wreck a spool of line up. You should never reel a bait all the way to the tip of a rod for storage. That’s what hookkeepers are made for. Gary says his favorite place to store the bait is hooking it on to the reel.
Today’s anglers want lighter and more sensitive rods. As rods get lighter with the higher end materials, the walls get thinner, and they don’t take abuse. Gary says many tournament fishermen flat believe in using and abusing their products. Some anglers repeatedly step on rods, punch baits off of snags, throw their rods (temper tantrums over lost fish), hit obstacles on the cast (partner’s rods, trolling motor, or electronics). For these reasons, Dobyns Rods offer a no hassle no questions asked warranty. Basically, send Dobyns Rods $60 and the broken rod and it will be replaced regardless of how it broke. Anything that is a manufacturer’s defect will always be replaced immediately on the company.
Gary says that the thing that’s funny is some anglers flat break rods while others never seem to break a rod. The most common breakage is “high sticking” a rod. This is simply overloading the tip on a straight downward pressure. One of the most common ways is having the fish on a short line trying to unhook him, and he flops out of your hand. If that rod butt is on the carpet with the rod sticking straight up in the air and you drop a fish; that overloads the tip. Gary says he tries to build more strength into the tips for this reason. He credits this for his very low rod breakage.
All Dobyns Rods go through an amazing flex test before they are shipped. “I want to ensure that when the rods leave our hands they are perfect for the angler”, Gary said. He continued, “things happen in shipment and we understand that and will take a close look at any warranty claims. Most blank defects will show up in the first few fishing trips, most likely the first one. If a rod has a weak spot in it and you put a heavy load on it with a good fish or a snag, it’ll break. This is why we flex test all of our rods. We only want happy customers, and we try to do all the little things including using foam tip protectors and only shipping in PVC pipe. It’s a lot more expensive but really cuts down on possible shipping damage. We want to protect our rods.”
The thing that I haven’t mentioned is the way I usually break rods. Stepping on them! My big size 12 feet have been the guilty culprits. The only fix for this is to limit the number of rods on the deck at any given time. I know it’s a scary thought but how many times have you laid out 8-10 rods but then only used 4? For me, I still put them all on the deck, but as the day wears on and I start to dial in the fish, I’ll take a few seconds and put the ones that I’m not using away. You can take 20 seconds now and store a rod or $200 later…. I’ve learned the 20 seconds is worth it.