Many of the rods I get requests for info on turn out to be Ready to Wrap Kits. Powell sold these for many years. The kit consisted of a blank (with simple "Powell" decal only) with cork grip and often reel seat already mounted. It came with a full set of guides, tip top, and hook keeper as well as single color thread and epoxy to wrap and finish the rod. The finish work was then done buy the buyer or the professional builder of his/her choice. These rods usually have no serial number and no labeling as to length and line wt. Occasionally in cases where a professional builder or ambitious amateur builder was involved a decal or hand script label will be present. By in large these rods are easily identified as non-factory builds by the highly variable quality of the workmanship, single color wraps, and lack of length/line wt labeling.
or Cosmetic Seconds Sometimes labeled as such and sometimes not, C2 rods were blanks built or sold in kits that did not meet first quality standards. Sometimes they are not quite straight or had minor finish or color variances. They are all quite fishable and oft times I have a hard time determining what the issue is with a given C2 rod. The QC standards at the Powell Rod Co factory were quite high and it shows in many of the C2 rods I've seen over the years. Most of the C2 kit blanks I've seen were labeled as "Yuba River" kit rods.
The Woman Angler In the 1997 catalog, the final catalog produced before the sale and subsequent move of the company was completed, the Powell Rod Co produced a rod aimed at the growing female interest in the sport. They teamed up with well know female fly fisher Annette Lilly-Russ to produce the Woman Angler Rod. The rod was a factory standard Legacy 2 piece 1 tip 8'3" 5-6wt with special custom design slim coke bottle grip and special labeling. The rod retailed for $387. I don't know how many were built or sold. I've only seen one in my years of collecting and fishing Powell rods.
After the takeover and move of the company, the Powell family were no longer involved in the business. Gone too was their right to the "Powell" name on fly rods. The Powell Fly Shop was re-named The Chico Fly Shop. But both Walt and Press continued producing rods on a very limited scale. This period produced some of the more rare and unusual rods to come out of the shop. As mentioned on the Walton Powell page of this site, Walt was producing "The Dianne Powell" rods. These were built mostly on Walt's dual helix blanks which were produced by Jim Kantnor of Performance Composites in San Diego. I have seen a couple of Dianne Powell rods on gray Signature Series blanks as well. These rods were finished in red tipped gold wraps and were labeled "The Dianne Powell rod" by Walton Powell and were scripted with length and line wt. Most were 2 piece 1 tip rods. I do not know how many of these rods were produced and again, they are quite rare.
Press also continued low level production out of the Chico Fly Shop. He built a few rods on some existing Powell blank stock but labeled them by hand and without the Powell name. I believe most of these builds to be one off rods for long time friends and customers who asked for and received particular models from Press. This is an example...it is built on a Signature Series blank but named with the Light Touch model naming convention...by that time long out of use. Also conspicuously absent is the Powell name...
Press also began producing a line of rods called Performance Ply. These rods were built on blanks also produced by Jim Kantnor of Performance Composites. They were triple scrim graphite and were heavier than, but similar in action to, the Powell Legacy rods. They were also very durable rods. Press was very clever with the naming of these rods. The logo was a reverse P backed by a forward P for Performance Ply but also ostensibly for Press Powell. According to my archives there were 18 two piece models available - from an 8' 2-3wt up to a 9'6" 9-10wt - and 8 four piece models as well. I've actually seen very few of these rods and I have no idea how many were made.
I hope this info is helpful. If you are aware of or own any models of the Woman Angler, Dianne Powell, or Perfromance Ply (or any other unusual Powell rod for that matter) rods please do get in touch with me. I am always searching for more and better info on these rods. Again please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org