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Rod Review

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


Power: At Lake Falcon the fish started to tap the capabilities of this rod and the submerged treetops made for excellent test subjects in which to run squarebill crankbaits through. Unlike traditional round billed baits the angular lip on square bills causes the lures to ďhuntĒ side by side versus just traditional vibration or wobble.


One of many small bronzebacks caught with the PSB


This extra hunting movement can be downright deadly at times especially when the bait mimics both baitfish pattern and behavior. Square billed crankbaits typically run very shallow so when fish strike the lures so close to the surface it is important to have a rod that is able to pin fish quickly so they donít dive back into the structure or jump out of the water and shake the lure before you have an opportunity to get a proper hookset in.


Anodized red winding checks help compliment the rod's overall look and feel


The PSB rod fits the bill nicely (no pun intended) and delivers a predictable and powerful reaction the second the rod is lifted. I found that the rod was able to control fish up to five pounds with no difficulty whatsoever and even larger fish could be turned with confidence with this rod by simply allowing the firm backbone to do the work.  


The water drop pattern can be seen through the reel seat


Sensitivity: Contrary to common belief square bills donít ďbounceĒ off structure. Quite the contrary actually, Iíve found that it is the round bills that will bounce off submerged tree limbs and rocks while the square bill is actually able to get in tighter without snagging. The extra angle on the lip gives these lures the ability to stay in close without hanging up, but make no mistake given the right (or wrong, depending how you look at it) conditions and the lure will snag.


Powell's open ended hook hanger makes it easy to hang and deploy just about any style lure


It is probably more important to have a sensitive crankbait rod to fish this particular type of lure than in average cranking applications. A glass rod will not telegraph as much detail and the graphite Maxumfiber blank on the PSB rod delivers an accurate reading of what is happening on the end of the line so you know exactly what kind of structure, be it rocky or wooden, that your lure is encountering.  Overall the PSB while not the most sensitive rod proved to be more than receptive enough for this application and given the choice of glass or graphite for squarebill fishing I would definitely go this route.


A foam buttcap finishes this rod


Price & Applications: The PSB can compete with rods costing nearly 200 dollars in many respects and yet it retails for only $139.00, and we were further impressed to see the rods are being sold at a special price of only $111.99 at Tackle Warehouse. That is a downright steal for a rod of this quality and performance. Though designed for fishing squarebill cranks the PSB proves to be more than just a one trick pony and can be used for tossing traditional shallow running crankbaits, wire baits and even soft jerkbaits and hard ripbaits as well as paddletail swimbaits. Powell rods continue to be among the best value on the market when it comes to performance versus price and the fact you can buy a custom signature rod for just over 100 dollars is notable but it is even more impressive when you factor in the Lifetime Warranty that accompanies each rod.


Though designed for squarebill cranks this rod is good for crankbait fishing in general as well as other lures including smaller ripbaits and larger spinnerbaits


Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

Powell Square Bill Crank Rod Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The PSB is built with quality Fuji materials and the alconite guides are good enough for this application. The use of metal winding checks lends to an overall custom look and feel. Like other Powell rods we have tested this rod is very durable 8
Performance The PSB performed well when fishing squarebill cranks and the fast tip combined with a nice transition to a powerful but section made for a rod that felt both accurate and could still control and turn bigger fish 8.5
Price Exceptional price, this rod is a downright steal at 112 dollars! 9.5
Features Basically an application specific rod with a few nice Powell standard features including a split grip and well designed hook hanger 7.5
Design (Ergonomics) Well balanced with a 7-8oz. reel and easy to fish with all day long. This may not be the lightest rod but it does balance well and is easy to fish with all day long 8
Application Though designed to be an application specific rod this stick proved to be good for a number of applications including fishing blades, ripbaits and even paddeletails 8

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

+ Crisp feeling rod that exhibits the right characteristics for fishing squarebills - Not for those who prefer glass for all crankbait applications
+ Good for more than just crankbait fishing  
+ Good overall balance of features  
+ Blank is capable of casting a wide range of baits  
+ Killer price!  


Conclusion: Jared and the team at Powell did a fine job on the PSBís design and construction, this rod is just about the right length giving anglers the best of both worlds when it comes to casting distance and accuracy, and the use of graphite versus glass gives this rod plenty of sensitivity for working shallow running squarebills through structure. The key attribute of this rod that makes it so effective is that it possesses an extra fast tip for accuracy and sensitivity yet is able load well allowing for solid hooksets keeping trebles on. Equally as impressive as the performance of this rod is the exceptional price of only 112-139 dollars! While designed specifically for squarebills this rod can be used for a variety of other baits, and when you figure in the outstanding value this signature rod represents it is no surprise that it is a recipient of  our Best Value Award.


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