Light Touch Rods 
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Light Touch Series

In my opinion this series are easily Powell's finest work in graphite rods and generally speaking the Light Touch rods are among the most enjoyable to fish graphite rods ever built. 

In 1987 Press Powell introduced this series of two piece rods on lovely dark green blanks.  These were, for a time, Powell's top of the line rod series and their most expensive for a few years.  Built on moderately fast IM6 blanks with Powell tapers on Powell mandrels they were (and still are) the Chico era Powell's most popular graphite rod series.  Standard configuration was a dark green blank wrapped in green tipped on either gray or gold - depending on the reel seat.  Gold wraps for the anodized gold color seats and gray wraps for rods with the anodized silver seats.  They came with wood spacer reel seats as standard as well.  They were sold in the black with brass hardware powder coated aluminum rod cases. 

An aside on the Loomis/Powell realtionship...

Gary Loomis and Walton Powell were always good friends and fellow innovators.  They shared shop space for years in Oregon just north of Portland.  As both grew their business they outgrew the Oregon facility.  Gary built a big new facility across the river in Woodland, Washington.  On a hand shake, Walt moved all his rod rolling equipment, much of which they had been sharing and was needed by Gary, into the new shop.  For the rest of the Powell Rod Co's production their graphite blanks came out of this facility with Loomis and Powell alternating blank production runs.

For the first few years of production the Light Touch rods were only offered in two piece models.  Then in about 1990 Powell began offering these rods in four piece "Travel Rod" models.  From 1990 through 1993 these four piece blanks were not the dark green of the two piece rods but were built on an essentially uncolored gray blank.  Usually built with a black anodized with wood insert seat and wrapped in burgundy or burgundy tipped with black, these 4 piece rods were considered more utilitarian 'pack' rods and as such were not given the same cosmetic treatment as their lovely
green two piece counter parts.  They were still lovely fishing tools.  All these rods were labeled simply as "TR" rods with a number indicating length and then a dash (-) followed by a letter desginating line weight.  Depending on the length of the rod, the dash/letter designator meant different things.  On a 9 foot rod a -M, medium weight, meant a 7-8wt rod.  On an 8 foot rod a -M meant a 5-6wt rod.  A somewhat confusing system, but these rods usually also had the line wt specs written out on them as well. 

Another charming aspect of these early Light Touch rods was that all the two piece models had names based on the length/wt combination.  Here is a fairly comprehensive list of what these were as of 1992...

Stillwater - 7' 11" 2wt
Cedar Creek -  7' 3" 3-4wt
Featherlight - 7' 9" 4wt
Silver Creek - 8' 3" 4-5wt
Ultralight - 9' 3wt
Ultra - 9' 4-5wt
Traditional - 9' 4-5-6wt
Western Sierra - 8' 6" 5-6wt
Ultra 6 - 9' 5-6wt
Freestone - 9' 6-7wt
Shasta - 9' 6-7wt
Long Reach - 9' 6" 5-6wt
Long Reach 6 - 9' 6" 6-7wt
Bigwater - 9' 7-8wt
Summer Run - 9' 6" 7-8wt
North Umpqua - 10' 7-8wt
Largemouth - 8' 9" 8-9wt
Coho - 9' 8-9wt
Trophy - 9' 6" 9-10wt
Tarpon XL - 9' 12-13wt
Troutmaster - 9' 5-6-7wt - This was a rather unique two piece two tip rod with two different weight tips.  One tip to fish a 5-6wt and the other heavier tip to fish a 6-7wt

In addition these four piece Travel Rod models were available...

TR80 - 8' 4-5wt
TR80-M - 8' 5-6wt
TR90-UL - 9' 4-5wt
TR90-L - 9' 5-6wt
TR90 - 9' 6-7wt
TR90-M - 9' 7-8wt
TR90-MH - 9' 8-9wt
TR90-H - 9' 9-10wt

In 1994 there were some changes made to the Light Touch line up.  Gone were the remarkable and unique model names.  All the rods in the line became known and labeled as 'LT" rods.  Each was labeled with the letters LT followed by numbers indicating length and line weight.  For instance the Cedar Creek became the LT7334 and so on.  The other change was that the 4 piece travel rods were also built on the same dark green blanks the two piece rods always had been. They also had a labeling change...they became known as Light Touch Travel rods or LTT*.  So what had been a TR90-L was now the LTT9056.  Production of these fine rods continued, with minor tweaking of the length and line wt of the models offered, until the company was bought out in 1998.   

*The later LTT 3 piece rods that show up from time to time are a product of the post sale Powell company.  After discontinuing the popular series of rods they later brought them back (with blanks sourced from somewhere other than Loomis) as three piece rods called the Light Touch Traditional or LTT.  These rods are not products of the original Powell family period of the company
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