Powell's Tiboron XL Fly Rods serve up performance and value
Total Score: 7.41 + BEST VALUE AWARD!
While we have
focused on Powell’s bass rods for the last few seasons we decided it was time to
take a look at the roots of what made the company what it is today…fly rods. We
put the aggressively priced Tiboron XL to the test against Eastern Sierra trout
in the first of our fly rod reviews this season.
Tiboron XL 4PC 9'0 Fly Rod Specifications
Maxumfiber and Titanium with cork grip + Ti-Graphite reel seat,
titanium stripping guides, light wire chrome snake guides, rod sock and
cordura rod tube
Though Powell is best
known among bass fishermen for their line of split grip MAX bass rods the
company has a long and storied history in fly rods. This season we brought in a
number of fly rods for comparison including representatives from G.Loomis, Sage,
Scott, and Powell
Powell's Tiboron XL fly rods are
designed for casters of all skill levels
Powell has two lines of
fly rods including the aggressively priced Tiboron XL and the premium Legacy
Bamboo fly rods. Originally designed by legendary rod builder and fly caster E.C
Powell the bamboo cane rods are built with nickel silver ferrules. Powell
continues to build the Legacy bamboo rods as a tribute to the sport and the
company’s own 97 year history. All Legacy rods are hand-inscribed with the line
size, length, weight and serial number and feature Mildrum Tungsten Carbide
stripping guides with nickel silver frames. These two piece rods hand crafted
retail for $2,700. dollars each and comes in a thick cloth bag and a brown
The Tiboron XL breaks down into 4
pieces for easy transport, and comes with a rod sock and cordura travel tube
Powell has updated their
fly rods many times throughout the company’s history, with constant updates
being made to the rods which make use of updated materials and components.
Powell’s new Tiboron XL series is actually the cheapest rod of all the fly rods
that we have in for testing. The Tiboron XL 906-4 is 9 feet in length and breaks
down into 4 pieces for easier transport. This rod is “flight” friendly and comes
in a rod sock and hard cordura tube.
The rod features a Ti-graphite
The Tiboron XL’s cosmetics
like Powell’s other rods is clean and simple, with the only decorative element
really being the graphite insert on the reel seat, and even that is less flashy
than most of the other rods which use a combination of anodized aluminum and
various wood inserts. The black Maxumfiber blank is coated with gloss to protect
the rod from nicks. The rod is then finished with an attractive combination of
titanium and metallic blue trim. The Tiboron handles line with a combination of
titanium stripping and light wire chrome snake guides.
Powell's Tiboron XL features tip
over butt ferrules
Reels are clamped in using
a traditional screw up clamp which held both of our test reels very securely.
The Tiboron makes use of a half wells cork grip and the rod will balance out
quite nicely with both 6 and 7wt. sized fly reels. The Tiboron’s blanks is made
out of Powell’s Maxumfiber which is designed to deliver a combination of power,
sensitivity, and overall light weight.
Casting nymphs under an indicator
at Lake Crowley
Real World Tests:
To test the Powell Tiboron I decided to mix the tests between fishing on land
and from the deck of the boat to gain a better feel for the rod across a wider
range of applications. For tests on land I head for Yosemite and more remote
creeks and rivers in the Eastern Sierras. For the boat fly fishing tests JIP,
Cal, and I towed our Boston Whaler to Lake Crowley, which is famous for a
healthy population of Rainbows and Brown Trout.
The cork grip is comfortable to
grasp, and the rod balances out with a wide range of reels
For the tests I used two
reels, a Galvan Torque and a Scientific Anglers System 2LA. The Galvan Torque
was spooled with Scientific Anglers Mastery Series Line while the Scientific
Anglers 2LA was loaded with SA’s new premium Sharkskin line.
Though not as crisp as some
competitor rods the Powell Tiboron XL laid down plenty of line in cast tests,
and was just as good as competitor offerings costing over 100 dollars more when
it came to casting
Next Section: Time to cast