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Rod Review

Gary Dobyn's deep involvement in Powell's Max Bass Rods help create a bona fide hit for bassers (continued)

Casting: Our Powell 701 L Fast handled both the copolymer Yozuri Hybrid, and monofilament Original P-line very well. Casting distances were not as great with the Berkley Fireline but we're not certain if that discrepancy was from the reel or the line we used since the our Daiwa SS Tournament 700 is from another era in tackle all together. Even so, we never failed to reach our intended targets. I will say, the 7 foot length of our Powell spinning rod is better suited for open water applications rather than fishing in, around, and under docks or in any situation where pinpoint accuracy is paramount. For those applications, I would choose one of the shorter, 6'8" Powell spinning rods.

Both our 700 and 2000 sized spinning reels sat firmly in the reel seat of our 701 L thanks to Fuji's familiar design


On occasion, we like to push our test subjects beyond their rated capacity. When things don't work out, the information rarely makes it to press because tests are not fair, nor are they applicable. In the case of our Powell 701 L, though we do not recommend you try this on your home waters, we'd like to note that we abused the rod's maximum lure rating of 3/8 of an ounce just a bit. Realizing the bite we were experiencing on the water was something other than the traditional finesse type baits we were throwing and wanting to catch something on this rod to judge how well it handled, we tied, on separate occasions, the large, 6" Yamamoto Senko, and a Lucky Craft LVR D-7. While certainly not our first choice for these types of baits, quite surprisingly, our 701 L handled them just fine and did not give us the impression of being over burdened during both overhead and underhanded casts.



Our 701 L features an open ended hook hangar making it easy to secure everything from drop shot weights, to texas rigged plastics, to treble hooked baits and more.

Sensitivity: To test the sensitivity of our 701 L, I first mounted our Daiwa Exist spooled with 6lb monofilament to the rod, tied on an 1/8 ounce jig head and cast it out to shore. Dragging the jighead along the bottom, I could feel each encounter the jighead had with a rock or weed and was very surprised at the amount of sensitivity the 701 L afforded me. This only increased as I progressed to the copolymer Yozuri Hybrid, and then, to the Berkley Fireline. Our actual hookups on this rod came on 6" Yamamoto Senkos rigged weightless and though, as noted above, this lure is well above the rod's 3/8 ounce maximum lure rating, the rod was able to handle these baits fine and each strike was detected easily!

One last shot of the Fuji spinning reel seat



The rear grip of our 701 L

Power: The trophy during our tests with this rod was a 3.5lb largemouth caught on the afore mentioned Senko, but perhaps the hardest charging fish was a 14" striped bass caught on the LV-500MAX. While the striper proved an exhilarating battle, the power of our 701 L was up for the task. Transition from the rod's sensitive tip section to it's backbone is quick and all our hooksets were solid. Based on our experience we see no reason why use of this rod in conjunction with the appropriate test line and a little patience, can yield safe catches of fish much greater than those we encountered. In other words, this rod is not appropriate for horsing a fish to the boat, but nor is any rod that shares the same light power rating. On the other hand, we've fished many light action rods in the past that did not share the superb hooksetting responsiveness of our Powell 701 L.


Another look at the hook hangar on our 701 L


Features: The Powell Max 701 L sports contemporary design features such as a split rear grip, no foregrip, and open ended hook keeper. Born from the world of custom built rods, It seems more and more rod companies are incorporating features such as these into their product line and we welcome the change of pace. Another aspect we enjoyed from our 701 L was the incorporation of subtle, yet decorative winding checks at the split rear grip and at the top of the reel seat. Small enhancements such as this really give the rod a more finished look.

Winding checks a the spit rear grip are a welcome design detail



The 701 L, and all Powell MAX rods also feature a handsome winding check at the top of the reel seat

Similar to the Kistler MgAPSMH66 we reviewed earlier this year, our Powell 701 L sports a permanent label with recommended uses for the rod. While, again, we'd prefer to see this type of information presented on a removable label, at least on our Powell stick, it is co-located with the rod's typical specifications for length, power, action, and lure and weight ratings. This is less obtrusive and a bit more bearable than putting this information on the split rear grip.


The rods specifications include recommended uses


A closeup of the simple, but well executed thread wrap

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. This applies, really, to all manufacturers as often times, a happy middle ground can be reached for situations that do not fit neatly into the printed or stated policy.


This 3.5 lb bass was the trophy fish during our test of the Powell 701 L


Powell MAX 701 L Fast Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality This product may be assembled overseas, but if we weren't told about this upfront, we would not have known. Some competitor rods have cooler looking weaved blanks, but the Powell offerings some pretty darn close to premium offerings 9.5
Performance Casting weight range is above the rated capacity, sensitivity is very good, hook setting power and fish fighting ability is what one should expect from a light action rod 9
Price Intentionally brought in at an aggressive price point this rod is actually more aggressively priced than many comparable competitor offerings. While it isn't a cheap rod it is one that is worth the money 8.7
Features Contemporary design together with a solid line of components this rod has a bit more than you would normally expect in a rod of this price range. While there are not breakthrough features the overall design and layout is very good 9
Design (Ergonomics) A bit tip heavy off the shelf, but the rod is so light overall, it easily balances out with about a 2000 or 2500 sized spinning reel 9
Application Wonderfully suited for finesse applications and even a little more. This rod surpassed our expectation in this category and was able to handle bass and even stripers with no difficulty. Use it for any type of finesse applications, or tie on a bigger bait and go to town 10

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Excellent Value! L On the guides, strictly for cosmetics, I'd have preferred the frame to be chrome with the black inserts. The contrast would give the rod a more high-end look.
J Very Light L The hook hanger always works better for me on the left side of the blank
J Quality Components L Hard to find outside of the West Coast, but hopefully, this will change soon
J Versatile Casting Performance  
J Very Good Sensitivity

Conclusion: Yet another rod manufacturer heads overseas to bring to our shores, a rod with contemporary design features and superb performance. Powell makes a successful foray into the world of bass fishing with the expert guidance of Western Pro Angler, Gary Dobyns and his designs in their MAX line of bass rods. The first in our series of planned reviews has really set our expectations quite high. The 701 L spinning rod is very sensitive, light, yet surprisingly versatile rod. We were able to fish both inside and outside the tackle box with this rod, and that left us with a lasting impression. How will the other Powell rods we have stack up now that we've sampled the waters with this stick? Only one way to find out. Time to put this rod down, pick up another and go fishing! Until then congratulations to Gary and Powell for breaking into the highly competitive bass rod space with a rod that many bassers out there will find very attractive.











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