Possibly Powell IM6 - Possibly not! What Have I Got?

Lewis Chessman

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I've just taken a punt on an ebayUK rod advertised as a ''Custom Powell IM6, 9' #6, 3 pc.'' - because I don't think that's what it is! :p

I had asked the seller about it and he said he'd imported it for a recently-deceased friend back in the mid-2000s. While he couldn't confirm its Powell origins he did state, "I do remember that it is an IM6 carbon blank''.

So, why do I doubt that it is a Powell at all? Well (and please correct me if I'm wrong):

1) Pre-'98-buy-out Powell/Loomis IM6s were 2 pc Light Touch (LT) or 4 pc Travel rods (LTT), not 3 pc.
2) Post-buy-out, new Powell re-released the IM6 Light Touch as a 3 pc 'Traditional' (also an LTT!) but this was not a Loomis IM6 blank.
3) These 3 pc LTTs were dark green, like 'mine', but had tip-over-butt sleeve ferules - this rod has spigots.

So, presuming in good faith that this is an IM6, and acknowledging that IM6 was not trademarked, what might it be?
I can think of one company making dark green, 3 pc, 9' #6, spigoted IM6 rods at the turn of the Milennia, and suppling them as blanks, too, but I won't say who just yet. I'd like to hear others' thoughts first as there may well be more contenders/pretenders. Sadly, the professional builder who made up the blank is no longer with us, so I can't ask him.

Don't be worried about dashing any hopes. I'm a grown up and can take it. At the worst I've another old rod to practice building on. :)
 

planettrout

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Lewis,

Please go here to review the Classic Powell Rods:

Home Page

This article in the Sacramento Business Journal, July 6, 2000, will provide an overview of what happened to that once great fly rod company:

https://www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/stories/2000/07/03/daily14.html

The rods made under the Powell name that came out of the Rancho Cordova facility are nowhere near the quality of the rods that came out of the original facility in Chico. Pictured below is me with a Walton Powell 8 1/2' 5-6wt. on the Frying Pan River near Aspen, CO in 1980...



At one time, a company called Raptor Rod World in Chico, CA still had some of the original Powell blanks. It appears that they are no longer in business. The only way to find any of the original Powell rods is to keep checking antique fly rod sellers here in the U.S. They have listings from time to time... They are great rods. I hope you have success in finding what you are looking for...


PT/TB
 

Lewis Chessman

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Hi, PT, thanks. Much of my initial research was based around the ClassicPowell website's information and it was largely by that and studying Google Images of Powell IM6 (and others) that I've come to the conclusion this is not a Powell rod - it's either the wrong material (accepting that it is IM6), has the wrong ferule design or has the incorrect number of sections to match anything they made pre or post buy-out. However, I know of two other rod models by another maker which could fit the bill perfectly and there could well be others I've not considered.

I just thought I'd post it up in the hope others might enjoy some armchair detective fun working out what it could be. :)

Thank you for the second link to the lawsuit. I'd tried following something similar before but was excluded as non-US - no problems with yours, though, cheers. I ought to do a search and find out how the case was resolved!

That's a great photo, by the way. You didn't used to advertise Winston cigarettes, did you? ;)
 

mike_r

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Could it be a G Loomis “Trilogy” blank from that era? I can’t remember if the Trilogies had spigot ferrules or tip over butt. I do know they were 3 piece. I think Kerry Burkeheimer worked for Loomis composites for a while and may have sourced blanks from the same butt fitted them with spigots? Those would be my guesses. Winston of course sourced their im6 blanks from Loomis but they would have had that unmistakable Green tint. Redington DFR blanks were 3 pc and colored a very similar green as the Loomis Trilogies. Again, can not remember the ferrule type. The green colors were all similar to the tint used by Sage on their SP series rods.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Lewis Chessman

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Thanks, mike_r, I've enjoyed a wee education chasing up your suggestions with my morning coffee! :)

I think I can discount both the Loomis Trilogy and the DFR as not IM6 & both are tip-over-butt sleeved. I'm undecided on the Winston possibility as the ferules are spigots on the IM6/WT/LT series. The true colour is hard to discern from the eBay pics but, again, I can't yet discount the dark green of those '90s Winstons. My jury is still out. :)

I hadn't heard of Loomis's Trilogy before, so thanks again for the headsup. One forum post suggested that each section is of a different modulus graphite cloth which was an interesting approach if not unique. Another site reported that with the Reddington DFRs ''The three-piece rods first two sections are a 57 million modulus, with the tip section being 43-million modulus graphite'', so they, too, were mixed modulus/moduli.
 

planettrout

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Lewis,

Nope...I always smoked Marlboros in those days and finally quit after my two youngest kids said they would like to continue going fly fishing with me into the foreseeable future...


PT/TB
 

Lewis Chessman

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The rod has arrived and I'm none the wiser! It needed a good clean and shows signs of use but it is quite tidily made. The seller informed me that it was built by Veals of Bristol, a decent shop, and I've no reason to doubt that from the quality - and that kind of increases to the likelihood it's a decent blank, whatever it is. One might add the cost of custom-making to shipping + tax on a good blank, but it's unlikely on a cheap stick, after all.

So, here are a few photos in which I've tried to keep the green as true to the rod as I can:

1-P1030207.JPG

1-P1030213.JPG

1-P1030222.JPG

Does the white plug in the centre of the spigot ring bells with anyone? I'm clutching at straws here! :p

I did give it a brief cast on the frosted grass this morning and really can't say I was struck by anything in particular. It's neither fast nor flabby, carried the head well enough and required a moderate tempo to allow it to flex fully. I don't think it'll manage great distance in my hands but may be better at accuracy and presentation and could prove pretty responsive when a fish is on. I rarely need long range so that's fine by me and, whatever it is, at the price paid it's a bargain, really. It'd just be great to put a name to it, still.

My suspicion was that this might be a Winston WT or LT blank from the late '90s - early '00s but I have nothing to compare the action with. I've little invested in this, folks, so don't be afraid to dash my hopes if you think otherwise from the varnish. I won't be too upset. ;)
 

Lewis Chessman

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I weighed the rod yesterday at 90 g (3 1/8 oz) but can't find the weight of an equivalent factory Winston WT 3 piece 9 ft #6.
A 9 ft #5 WT 3 pc is stated as 2 7/8 oz on line, which isn't far off. Could a kind soul with a Millennial catalogue maybe take a look for me?
 

jofer

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I weighed the rod yesterday at 90 g (3 1/8 oz) but can't find the weight of an equivalent factory Winston WT 3 piece 9 ft #6.
A 9 ft #5 WT 3 pc is stated as 2 7/8 oz on line, which isn't far off. Could a kind soul with a Millennial catalogue maybe take a look for me?


3 1/4 oz



Regards

Jofer
 

Lewis Chessman

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Thanks for taking the time to dig that nugget out for me, jofer, very kind of you.
Given that this is a custom rod .... a 1/8 of an ounce is remarkably little, on a 9/6 3 pc.

''Curiouser and curiouser'' said Alice, as I disappeared down my very own rabbit hole. I wonder if Winston would send me the blank specs? Might be worth a try.
 

Lewis Chessman

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I've made a little progress with this rod since I last posted 10 months ago.
Back in April I met a professional rod designer who immediately declared 'Winston' on inspecting the rod, but not what model.
At present, I'm visiting friends in Bristol, S.W. England and I brought the rod with me from Scotland to take to Veals shop where it was built. The guys on the UK forum gave me the name of the man to see, Steve Wedlake (good name for a fisherman :) ) and even told me his work days!

As advised, I popped in to Veals in the hope of meeting Steve Wedlake on Wednesday. The shop had a few customers but no one queuing so I approached the till where one chap was working while another gent stood on the customer side of the counter. I introduced myself as the owner of an old Veals rod wanting to meet Mr. Wedlake in the hope he might identify it. At that point, realising I wasn't trouble, the gentleman next to me introduced himself as the Steve I sought and took a look at the rod I'm curious about.

To recap the op, I bought the rod in question last January via eBay. It was sold as a Powell IM6 from c.2002, imported blank built by Veals, but I noticed the the ferules were different from Powell rods and akin to Winston's WT and LT series, both built from Winston's version of Loomis's original 'Winston IM6' blanks. The colour looked 'Winston Green' so I took a gamble and bid. The seller verified that he had imported the blank for a friend along with some Sages but wasn't sure of its maker after so many years, and that friend and the maker were now deceased. I asked for thoughts on this thread on the NAFFF, too. But I didn't say any of this to Steve. I just passed him the three pieces.

So, Steve examined the rod. Definitely Joss's work, he said, recognising the built style. Nice, forgiving action reminiscent of ...... Winston ..... colour is certainly right .....

Now, that's the second professional who has held this rod and deemed it a Winston. I may never know if it is an LT or a WT but I'm happy with that.

Steve and I chatted on about old rods and makers for a good thirty minutes, a really enjoyable exchange where we filled in a few gaps in our understanding of early carbon rod development. From Fenwick HMGs and Orvis Graphites we moved to Dermot Wilson who imported the former into the UK, started a mail order tackle company and sold his company to the latter c.1983.

"My wife worked for Dermot," Steve said.
"Oh!" I said,"I bought a 1st Gen Fenwick HMG this summer which I'm sure was built by Dermot Wilson's company. It's in his tube but not marked on the rod. It's called 'The Ishbel Shepherd' ...."
"I knew Ishbel," said Steve, "She was Jack Shepherd's wife. Jack worked for Dermot."
:cool:
So, that was terrific. Not only did we have a damned good chat but I learned a bit of history about two of my older rods. The 'Wilson' is a 12' 6'' #7/8/9 but my one outing with a #8 short Spey wasn't very auspicious and I'll go heavier next season on its 'annual outing', see if I can't put a bend in it for old times sake.

The 'Probable Winston' will rejoin the queue for 'Dances With Trout' in Caithness next season. :)
 

sweetandsalt

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LC, When I get home next week I'll look at my wife's 3-pc. WT to see if the spigots are plugged as in your image. Have you noted I managed to insert an image of a late model IMX in your Vintage inquiry?
 

frickerdog

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"My wife worked for Dermot," Steve said.
"Oh!" I said,"I bought a 1st Gen Fenwick HMG this summer which I'm sure was built by Dermot Wilson's company. It's in his tube but not marked on the rod. It's called 'The Ishbel Shepherd' ...."
"I knew Ishbel," said Steve, "She was Jack Shepherd's wife. Jack worked for Dermot."
:cool:
I had a colleague offer to trade a "custom" fly rod earlier today for a bike that I own. There are no markings on the rod, but he showed me a photo of the PVC tube that it came in, which says "Jack Shepherd Fly Rods". But it does not appear to be anything special from the photographs, and he said that it was made from "Rodgeeks" blanks. I wonder if it's the same Jack Shepherd. It is a 3 wt. 8.6 foot rod.
 

Lewis Chessman

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Hi, frickerdog. Curious!
Any chance you could post pics?
I'd ask the trader about the approximate date of the rod. Dermot sold the Nether Wallop shop to Orvis c. '83 so I would guess that that was when Jack would have been looking for a new source of employment. It's possible that he and Ishbel bought some of Dermot's old stock and built rods - but that's just conjecture on my part. If we can see the rod, the ferules especially, it might be possible to identify the blank.

I'd also look at whether any script on the rod is similar to that on other Dermot Wilson rods. Not necessarily proof but if the ink and hand are similar it is suggestive of a link.

'Rodgeeks' I don't know of. The 'geeks' part implies to me it's an American company and not as old as the '90s. If so, the probability of our J.S,'s being one and the same lessens. Although it's feasible 'Wilson's Jack' moved to the States I think it more probable that there have been two Jacks at the winding bench.
Enjoy the detective work!
 

original cormorant

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James, fascinating stuff. Here's a left field suggestion, could Rodgeeks be a slightly disparaging name for Robjents, the other tackle shop in Stockbridge 5 miles fron Nether Wallop.
 
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frickerdog

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I got him to send me a close-up of the signature. I'm not a handwriting expert, but that looks more like a computer generated decal than it does a hand signature. And looking at the cork, it looks unused, and does not look like a particularly old rod. The top photo is the one he sent me this morning. The bottom one is the one I had previously. I also looked up RodGeeks trev's post, and they have only been around since 2014. My guess is that there are, in fact, two Jack Shepherds, and this rod is not anything special. I may make the trade regardless since I was going to sell the bike anyhow. Jimsflyrod.jpgJimsflyrod2.jpg
 

Lewis Chessman

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Excellent, guys. Yes, that looks like a computer-printed decal to me and the finish far too modern to link to the UK gentleman, I suspect.
Trev's 'St. Croix connection' is the one I'd follow. :)
 
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