Talking rods with Powell's owner Keith Bryan
Your rods make use of a split grip design, what was the main reason you
implemented this design into the MAX series?
Keith Bryan: Yes, Woody and I were doing it by ourselves for quite a while on
the side in our Rancho Cordova facility. Making rods with Tennessee
handles, and a few with reel seats with split grips, etc. Then in
January of 2002, I actually received great input from Dave Rush and I
listened to what he had to say about the split grip. Dave was single
handedly the one who convinced me to use this style of grip without the
fore grip on the rod blanks that I was currently producing and he
deserves all of the credit for that. He said this is the grip you need
to bring to the market because many folks will want this, especially if
you are able to incorporate your sensitivity and lightness of your fly
rod technology with the strength needed for this market.
Keith prioritizes orders at the office
Zander: The split grip has been a big hit among bassers. Recently you expanded your MAX series with a number of new rods.
Can you tell us about the development process, and how a rod goes from
an idea to final production?
Keith Bryan: We have always had a certain protocol that we follow when making a
new rod line or additions to a current product line. We begin by
listening to customer and dealers needs and we utilize a number of
fishermen to make suggestions and help create ideas and ultimately to
test the rods that we design to ensure that they will hold up under the
toughest conditions. Once there is an idea, we take that info to our rod
design engineers and there we look at what type of material and taper is
needed to achieve that specific rod action and so forth. Once we know
what is needed to make that particular rod, we then do a cost analysis
to ensure that we can make it within the cost parameters needed to fit
it into the current product line. If we like the analysis, we then begin the development and hope we build a winner, and this is where
the rod design engineers earn their money. They are the true heroes
behind the scenes when it comes to designing a rod, with the material
choices, mandrel taper, wall thickness, outside diameter, guide
placement, and balance point to name just a few of the considerations
when this process gets going. That’s the way we’ve always done it and
that’s the way we will always do it. The beauty is we have 97 years of
this type of rod making history so there definitely is a strong blueprint to build off of.
One of the
features we like about the Powell Max rods is the open hook
Zander: Now lets turn our attention to what is to come. What are your future plans for Powell bass rods are there any
new lineups planned?
Keith Bryan: We are in the process of adding rods to our current product lines
where we need to make additions for 2008. Other than that, there’s not
too much more planned right now except for building more and more of the
current product line with these new additions because we are on such a
tremendous growth spurt. I am constantly talking with our pro staff
members sending them new rods to try, etc., getting their feedback. In
fact, John Murray and Jared Lintner were using a few new prototype rods
in some of their recent tournaments as was Art Berry and Dave Rush which
will be introduced at this years ICAST show.
Zander: Will we ever see any Powell saltwater sticks?
Keith Bryan: Again, Powell has been around for nearly 100 years and was
primarily known worldwide as a high performance high end fly rod
company. My goal is to make this a complete rod manufacturing company
over time. We will always look at additional facets to add on to, but
right now I’m just not sure if the saltwater market is where we want to
Powell has a complete line of fly rods, the Tiboron XL, teh
TiMax, and Legacy Bamboo series
Zander: Can you tell me more about your different fly rods and what
makes them so popular?
Keith Bryan: Currently, we make two series of fly rods, the Tiboron and the
Timax which has been a main staple for a few years now. The two rods are
made with a Ti-graphite reel seat and all are 4 piece travel designs
made with a low profile ferruling system, titanium stripping guides and
light wire chrome snake guides and are truly cutting edge technology.
The two common ingredients the two rods have are “Maxumfiber” which is a
proprietary high modulus high resign content graphite material made for
power, lightness and sensitivity. It allows our rod design engineers to
design and build blanks utilizing less material while maintaining
incredible sensitivity, dampening, lightness, and maintaining strength.
This is the same material we use when making our current line of “MAX”
casting and spinning rods. The Timax is a Fast action fly rod series and
the Tiboron XL differs because it uses additional high end ultra high
modulus material as an added ingredient and is an Ex-Fast action fly rod
We have been building fly rods for 97 years and so many people know
them or at least know the name Powell, so our job is to continue to
develop products that are complimentary of this great old name. When
people think of Powell, they think of high performance and high quality
products with superior customer service.
Zander: I always like to ask
how often do you personally get on the water, and what is your
preferred type of fishing?
Keith Bryan: Not too much right now because we are so busy, but how does not
enough sound. I will fish a tournament here and there and go fun fish
when I can, but seriously, I haven’t fished much since last fall. I
recently fished a Clear Lake tourney and had a lot of fun. I’ll fish a
tournament circuit or two down the road when the time is right. When I
go fly fishing I like to catch big stripers on a fly rod, however, my
preferred style of fishing is bass fishing with casting and spinning
rods. I’ve done it since I was in the 5th grade and I truly
love the sport.
some quality fish at a tournament
I'll let you get back to work so you can hopefully make some
more time to actually get out on the water. Thanks very much for your time
today. Is there anything in closing you
would like to say to TackleTour readers?
Keith Bryan: I would like to thank God because he has truly blessed me and this
company through the good times and the rocky times. I would also like to
thank all of the consumers who have given Powell the opportunity to be a
part of their personal fishing arsenal, thank you very much for your
support. I would also like to thank all of the retailers that have given
Powell such a strong vote of confidence by allowing us to do business
with them. If not for them, we would not be so popular. I would like to
thank our pro staff who has really helped us and I would also like to
thank TackleTour for allowing me this opportunity to share the Powell
Last but not least, I would like to thank my family and close
friends which start with my wife Karry. She has absolutely been there
for me and has helped me guide this company financially over the last
few years, and it is to her that I owe a great deal of gratitude.
TackleTour would like to thank Keith for taking time out of his busy day
to give us and our readers a look at the past and future for Powell