I first noticed Gary's illness years ago. He always seemed to have some local rod builders making rods for him, tweaking this and that and moving seats and guides.
Photo Courtesy of Tackle Tour
I remember once when I was back at the Ranger plant on business. They had recently opened the Forrest Wood Museum, and had many personal items that anglers had presented to Forrest over the years. There on display was a Gary Dobyns signature series rip-bait rod made by Abu-Garcia. I think about then was the time his disease was starting.
Then there was CRO rods, then Competitive Edge Rods and it seems the more he did, the worse his disease became. While Gary was with G. Loomis, I worked with him and a small group of anglers in the early stages of the R&D for the GLX worm rod series. At that time, I should have seen the signs that he was starting to take this rod design stuff too seriously.
Then came Powell Rods. Now it was obvious to me, and most people around him, that he had totally flipped out at this point. All he could talk about was graphites, blanks, guides, tips, splines, handles, no handles, cork, and no cork. It was sickening. He needed help. Then he really want crazy and started to talk about going to China! I said, “You big dumb okie. They don't even have ice cream there and you can't eat with sticks.” I was hoping the ice cream thing would stop him. His response was, “I don't care. I just want to build a great rod!” So I mailed him a fork and spoon and wished him well. After trips to China, lots of proto-types, lots of testing and a lot of hard work, the Powell Rods were on the market. Unfortunately, as it happens sometimes in business, his partnership with Keith Bryan and Powell Rods did not work out.
On the upside we all hoped that this would give him some time to work on his problem with R.D.D. and just forget about fishing poles for a while. BUT NOOO!! Here comes the Dobyns Rods!!
This man needs help.
I remember shortly after that we did a sport show somewhere in northern California. At dinner one night, I actually sat and watched him ruin at least 30 perfectly good bar napkins trying to design a new hook holder! After that, I told him to cut the damn hook holder off the rod and let’s get back to our rooms. We’ve got a show to do tomorrow!
During the design phase of Gary's second generation of rods, the now "Dobyns Rods" I actually got a call from him on a Saturday morning and during the conversation he told me he was on his way to the lake to break rods. I said, “What?” He said, “I'm going to see how much it takes to break these rods. Hang up in trees, docks etc., etc., and pull on them until they break!” At that time I did the only thing I could. I hung up the phone!
Hopefully, now that he has total control over design, pro-staff, dealer relations and distribution he can relax and start getting a handle on this disease, the dreaded R.D.D. There is an up side to Gary's battle with R.D.D. and that is the end user, the angler, will be getting one heck of a rod.
Before you guys start burning up your keyboards, you need to know that not now, nor do I plan in the future, to be associated with Dobyns Rods. Hell, I wouldn't know even how to pick rods from a 52 rod line-up! No, I 'm happy right where I am with Lamiglas Rods, with the exception of two warranty claims which I'm not afraid to tell you about.
#1. I received a prototype rod from Roy Gray during the development of a rod that later became the "Big Bait Special". Upon arrival of my rod, I was at the Delta and made the mistake of showing it to another Lamiglas pro staff member, Bobby Barrack. He didn't have one so he promptly stole it and ran into his garage. So I called Roy and told him I needed another one at which time he told me, "Jeff that was your prototype and there are no more. If you want it back, you’re gonna have to steal it back." Now one thing Roy didn't realize is how well Barrack keeps his garage locked. I still haven't gotten that rod back!
#2.After five great days at El Salto in Mexico as a guest of the Lamiglas guys and after flat whackin' the fish with zero rod failures, I'm in my room and packing up to fly home and one of my flipping sticks breaks due to no fault of my own. It wasn't my fault that the ceiling fan was on high! I gave that rod promptly to my roommate that week, none other than the owner of the company, John Posey, and asked him to take it back with him for warranty. About 4 weeks go by and I still didn't have my replacement rod. At that time I called John and he informed me that I needed to take up the warranty with the Mexican manufacturer of the ceiling fan! Well after lots of phone calls and about $100.00 worth of phone bills, I've gotten no where! I couldn't even begin to understand what they wanted me to do. It's like they where speaking a foreign language or something!
Other than those two rods, I have to say that Lamiglas has been the perfect fit for me. I'm looking forward to working with Roy and John and the whole Lamiglas family on rods in the future.