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Rod Review

Powell Teams up with Pro Angler Jared Lintner to create a rod specifically for Squarebill Cranks


Date: 12/22/10
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: Powell
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.25 - BEST VALUE AWARD!

Square bill crankbaits are some of the most exciting hardbaits to fish as they can really get down and dirty when it comes to calling bass tight within structure to strike. Powell has partnered with Pro Angler Jared Lintner to release a 6’9” rod specifically designed for this technique. Featuring new more aggressive styling this particular rod is one of four new sticks in a Tackle Warehouse exclusive series of new rods. 


Powell Square Bill Crank Rod Specifications

Material Maxumfiber Graphite
Length 6'9"
Line Wt. 12 - 25lb
Lure Wt. 3/8 - 1 1/2oz.
Pieces 1
Guides 9 Guides + Tip Top Fuji Alconite
Power Rating Heavy
Taper Extra-Fast
Rod Weight 5.1 oz
MSRP $139.99 (special at $111.99)


Powell partners up with Pro Angler Jared Lintner to create a cranking rod specifically for Squarebill crankbaits


Impressions: Powell picked the right Pro Angler to partner with for shallow water applications as Jared has a lot of experience fishing square bill cranks and has leveraged them many times to fill the livewell on tour. He spent a great deal of time designing a rod that could address the technique, and features like an extra-fast tip and a strong backbone were both key attributes that he wanted in the final production stick.


This rod is an exclusive at Tackle Warehouse


The new PSB (Powell Squarebill rod) features the company’s MaxumFiber blank design but with new cosmetics that are designed to make the stick instantly recognizable. On top of the reel seat and between the split grip is a red water drop pattern, and just in case you forget what the rod is designed for there is a squarebill graphic prominently displayed alongside the Powell logo.


The PSB (Powell Squarebill) makes use of Fuji components including a traditional ECS reel seat


Powell makes use of Fuji components throughout the rods construction including a traditional Fuji ECS reel seat and Fuji Alconite guides. The rod grips feature high quality cork and are finished with small EVA foam inserts followed by anodized red winding checks. This layout is very similar to the new Endurance series from Powell which features a very analogous motif just in purple instead of red. 


Powell 695 Fast Square Bill Limited: 10" Rear Handle : 9+tip fuji Alconite Guides  : Made in China : Though rated Extra Fast this rod measured similar to a Mod-Fast Taper : Heavy Power : Lure Wt. 3/8 - 1 1/2oz. : 12-25lb line wt.


Lab Tests: Before hitting the water the Powell PSB was put through all the usual paces in our lab including the Rod WRACK. These tests reinforced the initial speculation that this rod had a fast tip but would be able to transition smoothly all the way down the blank. The stouter lower portion helps give this rod the ability to toss heavier lures and still maintain that crisp feel with a fast tip.


Lab Results


Avg RoD (2-32oz)
Measured Weight (oz)
Balance Point (inches)
Balancing Torque (ftlbs)
Powell 695 Fast Square Bill


Though rated extra-fast by the manufacturer the rod measured in between and was somewhat mod-fast which makes sense considering this rod is designed for crankbait fishing. The balance point on this rod is pretty good considering the length from the butt to the foregrip is 14" putting the balance point right at the section behind where the cork grip meets the reel seat allowing for the extra weight of the reel. 


Just in case you need a reminder of what the rod is designed for a squarebill crankbait is featured prominently on the blank


Real World Tests: Let’s crank it up! I relish my time testing any crankbait product as they are one of my favorite types of lures to fish year-round. Squarebills however are a style of crankbait that I really hadn’t previously dedicated enough time to, so this particular test would also be an opportunity for me to brush up on my own modus operandi. In my mind I knew what I was looking for in a good squarebill rod and that was a combination of sensitivity, responsiveness and sheer power, would the PSB deliver? 


This rod paired well with the Shimano Chronarch D


To find out the rod was on my boat the entire season and was used to target everything from largemouth and smallmouth in the Delta and also made the trip to Lake Falcon Texas where I used it for both cranking squarebills through the treetops as well as some serious blade fishing.


The PSB makes use of Fuji Alconites which are fine for this application


Casting: The first thing I noticed was how light the PSB felt in hand paired with the Chronarch D, the rod balanced very well with this 7.6oz. reel and this made it easy to chuck crankbaits all day. By itself the PSB weighs in at 5.1oz. and I found the rod felt both crisp and accurate when casting even lightweight squarebill crankbaits from SPRO, Bandit and Bomber. The length of the rod also felt just right as a 6’6” would have been a tad short to make those longer casts and a 7’6” rod would feel a little too long for making very accurate drops alongside structure. 


The lower portion of the rod features an attractive red water drop pattern


Retrieve: throughout testing I found that this rod is best held upward while fishing allowing the baits to swim shallower and generate that proper side to side hunting action. This is quite unlike many other cranking applications where I prefer to hold the rod tip down to allow for a greater dive. Held at an upward angle this rod feels balanced and doesn’t put strain on the wrist and I could easily see the tip vibrate as the lure swam back to the boat.


The PSB has an extra-fast tip action...


These same attributes that make this rod so good for squarebills also makes this stick an excellent choice for tossing spinnerbaits. I liked this rod so much for big spinnerbaits that by the end of the season I found myself using it for 3/4oz spinnerbaits just as much I was using it for cranking, if not more. The PSB is also a surprisingly good choice for small to mid-sized jerkbaits where the extra fast tip makes it possible to make subtle movements to tease bass into striking.


...and is able to cast both small and large crankbaits accurately


Though the rod has a very fast action tip it does exhibit a good flex through the blank connecting the end of the rod with a butt section that never seems to let up, both when setting and when there is a fish tugging on the end of the line. I didn’t get into any trophy smallmouth during testing but I did crank up a lot of smallies in the 1-2lb. class, and these fish really were no match for this stick. It was only at Lake Falcon did I really start to appreciate just how balanced this rod really is in terms of sensitivity and power.


With most cranks I point my rod downwards or towards the bait but with squarebills this rod can fish them at an upwards angle to help them stay shallow and run over structure

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