Powell Rods was founded in 1910 and began making and selling hand made bamboo fly rods hand made by E.C. Powell in Marysville, CA. His bamboo rods were unique due to the fact that their construction was semi-hollow for lightness. In fact, it was so cutting edge that he applied for and received a patent for that fly rod design. The company has always been known for high end fly rod quality craftsmanship and that reputation followed all the way through with the heritage and the progression of the company as it progressed through to the fiberglass era with E.C.’s son Walton Powell, then through to the graphite era with Walton’s son Preston Powell in Chico, CA. They always tried to address the needs of the fisherman.
After many years as a small family business the Powell family made a decision to aggressively seek outside investment. This went on for a few years and finally, in or around late 1996 and 1997 the Powell family secured a partnership with a very successful businessman and avid outdoorsman who has a deep passion for fishing. He was able to bring a lot to the company, in terms of investment, manufacturing equipment, graphite, other materials, manpower, salaries, computer systems and much much more.
In 1998 a new and much bigger state of the art facility was secured in Sacramento, CA. and the company moved. The company spent hundreds of thousands of dollars custom tailoring this facility to fit the needs to make rods and to have its own research and development facility. Once that was done the company hired two rod designers who had many years of rod design experience from other companies and a couple other individuals with vast knowledge within the industry. They had vast knowledge of how to make the right rod actions for today’s markets, in all markets, fly rods, bass rods, ocean rods, etc. We had a wealth of experience in rod design and development, we had numerous experienced rod makers and assemblers and we used good fisherman to test the rods that were being designed by us to ensure that these ideas would hold up under the toughest conditions they could put them through.
Keith Bryan was one of the first new employees hired to sell the fly rods to dealers and that is where he began to learn about rod design and development and who the real heroes are behind the scenes of this very difficult discipline. Keith began to work very hard to understand the rod design and development aspect to help him effectively communicate to customers what set Powell apart from our competitors from a sales perspective. One of the key people brought in was a man named Woody Wood. He was brought into Powell in 1999 to help with rod design and development and to run the manufacturing part of the business. Woody now works in the industry as a territory manager for one of the finest sales rep groups in the U.S. and today is still a good friend of Keith's. As Keith & Woody began to work together in product development they began to make fly rods together and bass rods behind the scenes just using some of the same fly rod components and thread wraps and color schemes that Woody came up with, which ultimately we use today, that’s pretty cool. Eventually in late 2000 a man by the name of David Myers was hired to consult for Powell. David was brought in to develop high end, high performance fly and bass rods and was instrumental in the early success of the Fenwick Rod Company when Fenwick was without question the market leader. Dave developed the "Tiboron Fly Rod" series for Powell which was an instant winner and he was instrumental in the initial roll out of Powell manufacturing bass rod blanks as well. Towards the end of 2001 David Myers had completed his consulting commitment and Keith was now running the company. Keith began making bass rods that a few fishermen enjoyed using. One fisherman even used a Powell Rod to win a big tournament in 2002. Keith, at that time, really felt like he had something going.
In the winter of 2002 Keith purchased Powell through a management buyout and continues to own and operate it today. Between 2001-2003 Keith developed a full rod line under the name of another company, with some help of Dave Rush, which went by the name of Perforce. Initially, Keith wasn’t going to use the Powell name because of the rich fly rod tradition, but in the end he decide to continue the Powell Rods legacy, and expand the brand into the bass fishing arena. After 113 years of craftsmanship, precision and unmatched value, Powell Rods are still known for performance you can rely on! Today, Powell Rods are proudly used and promoted by Professional Anglers across the United States.