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Rod Review

Looking For One Stick to Do It All and Then Some? Powell's MAX 683C Casting Stick

Date: 4/25/06
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: Powell
Reviewer: Cal

Total Score: 9.28 + EDITORS CHOICE!

Introduction: Just a few short weeks ago, we shared with you, our thoughts on the new Powell MAX 701 L Fast, a light action spinning rod built for serious angling. Today, in perhaps our fastest follow-up review ever, we share with you our experience with what could become their flagship model in their MAX Bass Rod lineup, the medium heavy 683 C Extra Fast.

Powell MAX 683C Extra Fast Specifications

Material Powell, Proprietary "Maxumfiber" blanks
Length 6'-8"
Length from Back of Reel Seat to Base 9.5"
Line Wt. 10 - 17 lbs
Lure Wt. 1/4 - 3/4 oz
Pieces One
Guides Fuji Alconite ( 9 + tip)
Power Rating Medium Heavy
Taper Extra Fast
Rod Weight 3.7
Manufacturing Country China
MSRP $170


Background & Impressions: Leveraging nearly 100 years of rod building expertise, Keith Bryan, President and Owner of Powell Products, Inc., since 2002 has taken the company headlong into arguably, the hottest segment of today's fishing market, bass fishing. In our previous article, we shared with you, our discussions with Gary Dobyns, chief designer of the bass rod line, and what both he and Keith Bryan went through bringing these rods to market. We've learned from Keith himself that they are not even close to completing the expansion of their product offerings and he's made some subtle hints to us to keep an eye out for them at this year's ICAST show in July. We can't wait!


Introducing the Powell MAX 683C Extra Fast Casting Rod

Today, what we have for you, is Keith Bryan, and Powell Products, Inc.'s, answer to G.Loomis's vaunted MBR783C - the medium heavy, Powell MAX 683C extra fast action bass rod. This 6'8" stick was the first we sought out at this year's San Francisco Fred Hall show, and the one stick from this lineup we anticipated fishing the most. It shares the same, contemporary styling of the 701L reviewed earlier this year, and the same rigorous manufacturing methods. Of course, the lure weight rating of 1/4 - 3/4 of an ounce falls right into the unofficial industry standard for an all purpose stick and judging from our first impressions handling this rod at the show, it really did feel just right for a multi-purpose application.

A closer look at the contemporary styling of the MAX 683C's grip assembly


The Powell company logo is proudly displayed on all their rods

The specifications of our 683C


Lab Tests: We loaded up our MAX 683C in what we've affectionately grown to refer to as our RoD "WRACK" and put it through a series of measurements under loads ranging from two to thirty-two ounces. Because of their similar, contemporary designs and countries of origin, we've been receiving countless inquiries regarding comparisons between these new Powell sticks and the previously reviewed Kistler Mg TS rods. So, in response to these, and future inquiries, and as a combined update, we also strapped up our MBR783C GLX and Kistler MgAPSMH66 to retest them across this same range of loads and see if we might not be able to gain a better sense of each rods' inherent characteristics under semi-controlled conditions.


Lab Results

Avg RoD (2-32 oz)
Rated Action
Measured Weight
Balance Point
Powell 683C Extra Fast
Extra Fast
3.7 oz
+ 8.5"
Loomis MBR783C GLX
4.1 oz
+ 6.25"
Kistler MgAPSMH66
3.5 oz
+ 8.5"

Rate of Deflection (RoD): We've discovered, since first debuting our RoD testing methodology in our February 8th article on the Kistler MgAPSMH66, that taking measurements across a broader range of loads can give us a better understanding of a particular rod's deflection characteristics. Such is the case with the Powell MAX 683C. Were we to take just a single deflection measurement of this rod, or even the average RoD value across a given range, we can see it best compares to the G.Loomis MBR783C GLX. However, when we look at the actual deflection values, and plot them against one another as in Fig. 1, below, we can actually see that while the Powell MAX 683C deflects similar to the MBR783C GLX under loads below sixteen ounces, above this range, it begins to behave more like the heavier powered MBR844C GLX.

Fig. 1 : This RoD Deflection Chart shows the deflection characteristics of our Powell MAX 683C rod begins similar to the MBR783 GLX, but finishes up more like the MBR844C GLX and MgAPSMH66


Further, looking at the above chart we can see that while the MBR783C GLX and MgAPSMH66 from our previous article share the same lure weight ratings, the actual deflection characteristics of these two rods suggest they are different powers entirely. In fact, from this chart, we can see the MgAPSMH66 compares more favorably to the MBR844C GLX, a rod many believe behaves more like a "typical" medium-heavy rod anyway. What does it all mean? Again, our goal for these tests, is to provide you with some simple information to hopefully give you a better idea of what to expect when ordering one of these rods sight unseen. With that in mind, we can safely say, based on our lab measurements, that the Powell MAX 683C has a tip, similar to the G.Loomis MBR783C GLX, but a backbone, once you really lay into the rod, more akin to the Kistler MgAPSMH66 and G.Loomis MBR844C GLX.

A photo of our Powell rod in action



All the Powell MAX bass rods feature Fuji Alconite Guides

Spine, Weight, and Balance Point: The spine of our 683C came out on the bottom and its balance point at about eight and a half inches up the rod from the center of the reel seat with no reel mounted on the rod. It has a distinct, tip heavy feel typical of rods with no foregrip and a split rear grip, but balances nicely once a reel is mounted in the seat. The actual weight of this six foot eight inch stick is 3.7 ounces. In our tests, we witnessed the line coming in contact with the blank at the top portion of the rod with about eight (8) ounces of pressure at the end of the line. Just further fuel to the fire of those in favor of spiral wrapped guides where this phenomenon is a non-issue.

Our 683C features 9 guides plus the tip top



The first four guides on the 683C are actually double footed while the remaining 5 are single footed.

Real World Test: Finally, enough with the tests and let's get to the real reason we buy these sticks - to fish them! We fished our Powell MAX 783C Extra Fast Action bass rod over a period of roughly two months and with a variety of reels. These reels included a super tuned Shimano Chronarch 101a, a Daiwa TD-Z Custom, and the Daiwa Alphas Ito Ai. Of these three reels, the Alphas Ito Ai felt best when matched with this rod due to its super low profile and unbelievable palm-ability.

Our reel of choice for this stick, the Daiwa Alphas Ito Ai

Complete Field Test Set-Up

683C Extra Fast
683C Extra Fast
683C Extra Fast
Shimano Chronarch 101a
Daiwa Alphas Ito Ai
Daiwa TD-Z Custom
12lb Yozuri Hybrid
14lb Sunline Shooter FC
14lb Sunline Shooter FC

Next Section: Let's go fishing!









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