Modern, high-tech frogging traces its roots to veteran Alfred Williams, then to the California Delta with names like Bobby Barrack, then to the tours with names like Dean Rojas.


But BassFan has noted several times this year that the frog-fishing explosion wouldn't have been possible without a comparable advancement in tackle. Braided line played a critical role (what else would you throw a frog on?), as did specially designed rods that resembled a flipping stick for hook-setting oopmh, but with an extra-fast tip to accurately chuck the relatively light amphibians.

Nowadays, every rod company has a frog stick – some have several. So when you go looking for that one frog rod you'll want to use for the next 5 or 10 years, you've got a lot of options. But don't believe for a second that you need to spend a ton of dough to get the right frog rod.

From the weed-peak in August, through the dieoff in September and early October, I tested Powell's 735 Max medium-heavy frog rod, and man does it perform. It's got all the extras that you'd expect on a premium rod, but with Powell's new pricing structure, the 7'3" stick costs just $169.

I expect a few groans out there when I say "just $169." But remember that when you get into high-performance, technique-specific rods, the general price tag is $220-plus. So essentially with the Powell frog rod, you get everything other high-performance shops offer for at least $50 less. That's real money where I come from.

And under Powell's warranty program, if you break the rod and it's your fault, Powell will replace it for $40. Plus, when you call the company, you'll speak to a person – often, company president Keith Bryan himself. That means a lot to me, and probably to you too.

Centurian Experience

Powell has been building rods for nearly 100 years, which puts them alongside just a few other companies in terms of longevity. Their roots are in fly rods, and it wasn't until recently that the company charged into the bass market.

When you consider how long fiberglass and graphite have been around, it's staggering to think of the experience Powell has in designing, rolling and finishing rods. Although the manufacturing methods and locations have changed, I know from speaking with Bryan about his operation that a ton of care and oversight goes into the whole line.

Powell's current lineup of bass rods includes 49 different technique-specific models for everything from dropshotting and Texas-rigging to jerkbaiting and (of course) frogging.

Powell rods come packed with high-end accessories like the latest in Fuji reel seats and guides, a split rear grip, and no forward grip. The finish is matte black with green color accents, and the rods are build with Maxumfiber graphite and are extremely light. When you hold the frog rod, for instance, you'll immediately note how light it is, but you'll also get that rare feeling like you've got a true weapon in your hands. This frog rod definitely packs a lot of power despite its feather-like weight.

My Tests

I fished the Powell frog rod extensively for probably 8 total days of fishing over a 2 1/2-month period. I threw a combination of Spro and Snag Proof products, and worked a Swamp Donkey into the routine too.

A couple observations:

  • The tip on the rod seems just right. You can load it up to really zing a frog, or snap it to make highly accurate, softer casts to targets. You don't get that broom-handle feeling at all, which is a problem with some other frog rods I've fished, and the tip recovers quickly after the cast, so you can fish your reels more open. If the tip was stiffer or whippier, you'd need to be more attentive with your thumb, which would hurt casting distance and accuracy.

  • Hooking power is awesome. The tip quickly peters out and once you're into the meat of the rod, you've got tons of power to sink hooks, then keep the fish moving toward you. But the tip comes back into play when the fish is hooked, because it's got the correct amount of slop to help offset the no-stretch braid – especially when a fish gets boatside.

  • I liked the feel of the butt cap, which is comfortable and just the right distance from the main grip for two-handed casts.

  • Because the rod is so light, I had less fatigue problems on the 2 days I fished a frog for 8 hours straight.

  • Overall I had no problems with the construction or durability.

    Conclusions

    A lot of times, I take the everyman's route when it comes to tackle. I like things that are affordable, durable and can pull double-duty (like one rod for multiple techniques). There are exceptions however, and a frog rod's one of them. To truly be effective with a frog, you need a frog rod. That's because it's such a unique bait and presentation.

    I highly recommend the Powell frog rod to anyone looking to purchase an amphibian stick, or upgrade from their current model. It offers excellent value for the money, and is backed by a solid warranty from a personable company that prides itself on customer service.

    Notable

    > Powell sells two frog rods. I tested the 735. The other option is the 725, which is an inch shorter with a slightly slower tip.

    > If you're looking to buy a suite of rods, Powell's definitely worth a look. All rods 7 feet and shorter cost $139.99. Rods longer than 7 feet cost $169.99.

    > For more information on Powell, or to see if there's a dealer near you, visit PowellCo.com. If you have any questions about the rods, you can call the company and speak to someone there: (888) 635-9763.

    > The BassFan Store carries Powell rods and some are on sale right now. Click here for the details.

    > Earlier this year, BassFan Radio featured an interview with Powell president Bryan. To listen to that interview, click here.