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Rod Review

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

Pitching and Casting: Overhead, side arm, roll casts, the Powell 683C does it all and does them all very well. Some rods rated with an extra-fast tip are difficult to load, but not this rod. The 683C loads with amazing ease. Even a roll cast in tight quarters using just the power of your wrist can send a bait out over the water for very respectable distances. Pitching is performed with equal ease by the 683C and, given its relatively short length, you can turn that pitch into forceful underhanded cast and not lose a thing with accuracy. This rod is spot on in any casting mode and requires surprisingly little adjustment before casting is just second nature.

Early on, we fished our 683C with a super tuned Shimano Chronarch 101a equipped with upgraded bearings, a clicking drag star (Calais parts), and a ZPI Carbon handle with bearing supported Septon grips



Another look at the Alphas Ito Ai mounted on our 683C


As far as the rod's actual lure rating is concerned, we tested a range of baits throwing everything from 1/4 oz jig heads tipped with plastic worms to baits rated well over the rod's top end specifications. We were shocked to discover the 683C has the ability to effectively cast the eight inch Castaic Platinum Swimbait - a bait that weighs in excess of 2.5 ounces! Many rods will feel overloaded when stressed so greatly over their rated specifications, but the 683C, with its aggressive taper is a surprisingly agile stick. We loaded it up with one of our Castaic swimbaits and were able to make repeated lob casts with ease.



One of the baits thrown during this test, the Megabass Vision 95


Here we have a 1/4 oz Duh Jighead paired with a Zipper worm



The 683C also performed quite well with this 1/2oz Persuader American Pro Assassinator Clacker Spinnerbait


Sensitivity: The 683C certainly lacks nothing in the sensitivity department. The low profile reel seat coupled with a no-foregrip construction was made popular by custom rod builders for a reason. The sensitivity this configuration affords is amazing. More and more rod manufacturers are moving in this direction with their mass produced rods and it is really a welcome sight. The most telling tale we have of our 683C and its sensitivity was while fishing our Daiwa TD-Vibration lipless crank. The TD-Vibration is a rather subtle lipless crank when compared to the likes of the Lucky Craft LV-500MAX. We came to find, it's also a good bait at catching miscellaneous debris suspended in the water column. During one trip, on countless occasions, I hooked up with twigs, leaves, and weeds while throwing this bait and each time, I could actually feel the difference these hitchhikers made in the action of the TD Vibration thanks to the sensitivity of the 683C.

The 683C features a Fuji, blank through reel seat



Another look at the 683C's exposed blank reel seat

Power: As revealed in our lab tests, the 683C lacks nothing in the power department. I found it quite easy to move bass up to 4lbs with this rod, wherever I wanted them to go. Hooksets were always solid and I do not recall one fish coming unbuttoned during our test period. We even pitted this rod against some schoolie striper on one trip and time and time again, while throwing both a Megabass Vision 110 and Lucky Craft Pointer 100sp, the 683C was up to the task against these small, but very powerful little fish.


Though well above its rated lure range, the 683C had no trouble with our ~2.5oz 8" Castaic Platinum Swimbaits



A close-up look at the Castaic Platinum Swimbait used during our tests of the 683C


Features: Like its previously reviewed counterpart, the Powell MAX 683C sports contemporary design features such as a split rear grip, no foregrip, and open ended hook keeper. The rod's reel seat and alconite guides are produced by Fuji, and it sports the same handsome detailing we discussed in our review of the 701 L spinning rod with the aluminum winding checks and simple, but well executed thread wraps.

The 683C features a handsome winding check at the top of the reel seat



Powell's excellent implementation of the open ended hook hangar mounted on the right side of the blank

Application: Our intent, when walking out of the Fred Hall Sports Show with this rod in hand was to employ it as an all purpose type rig. We fished everything from plastics, jerkbaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits and even swimbaits on this rod and discovered it can do it all. Its ability to support present the over 2.5 ounce swimbaits was the kicker. We were looking to challenge the rod with that test and it ate us up and asked for more. The 683C is as versatile a stick as they come.

The Daiwa TD Vibration is another bait supported well by the 683C


Another look at the 683C's hook hangar, this time in action


Warranty: All Powell Max Bass Rods are covered by a lifetime warranty applicable to the original owner of the rod. Typical of any manufacturer, all warranty claims are subject to inspection and cover defects in workmanship not accidental or intentional breakage or other non-fishing related damage. Warranty claim forms can be printed direct from the Powell website and all postage is paid by the customer, including a $35 warranty fee which basically covers return shipping. Should you have an occasion for an actual warranty claim, please contact Powell directly and work out the details for of your situation directly with them.


Powell MAX 683C Extra Fast Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality We said it before and we'll say it again, this product may be assembled overseas, but if we weren't told about this upfront, we would not have known 9.5
Performance I tried to overtax the rod, but it wouldn't have it - performance wise, I was truly surprised 9.5
Price The 683C is presented at a very aggressive price point 8.7
Features Contemporary design together with what seems to be the industry preferred line of components 9
Design (Ergonomics) A bit tip heavy off the shelf, but that can be attributed to the many double footed guides. It balances well even with a light reel 9
Application An all purpose rod in the very sense of the term 10

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Excellent Value L Just a little more "umph" cosmetically and I'd be smiling from ear to ear.
J A Wonderfully Versatile Stick! L As previously discussed, I prefer the hook hangar on the left of the rod blank.
J Quality Components  
J Very Good Sensitivity  

Schoolie striper are great fun on the Powell MAX 683C Bass Rod

Conclusion: Well, if you were holding out to hear more about this line of rods before making you're move, then here you have it. Offering custom rod features with the industry preferred line of components and paired with a very generous warranty all at a very aggressive price point, Powell's MAX line of bass rods has already made a huge splash in the bass fishing market and we can see why. We liked the 701 L spinning rod reviewed earlier this year, but we all know, casting rods is where the true passion of any bass fisherman lies and the 683C is a stick worthy of some serious consideration by both recreational and tournament bass fisherman alike. Value minded anglers looking for that ever elusive and equally ambiguous combination of "best bang for the buck" would do well to consider a Powell MAX Bass Rod. Keith Bryan is doing his best to best to expand on the Powell product offering and their first foray outside of the fly rod market, the MAX line of bass rods, promises to be an overwhelming success. So impressed was I with this particular rod, that I am awarding it with our coveted Editor's Choice Award!











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