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John E Powell

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Niagara Falls, NY
  • Interests
    I started fishing for trout and salmon with my dad in the late 70s. When I hooked my first three year old salmon it broke my brand new Berkley downrigger rod like a twig. I was hooked for life. That very day, I decided I could build a better rod than what you could buy, so I became a student of rodbuilding. In 1980 I opened my rodbuilding business, Custom Rod Designs by John, and have been crafting task-specific Great Lakes trolling rods ever since.
  • Home Port
    Wilson, NY
  • Boat Name
    Coho Queen

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  1. There are no spiral direction rules, just recommended guidelines based on how the rod is used. Generally, spiraling towards the reel’s handle will provide more line clearance for the hand holding the front grip. However, with divers, if your habit is to have the reel oriented upwards then you’re loading the rod sideways hour after hour, and the line path of least resistance would be a rearward oriented spiral (port side away from reel handle, starboard side towards reel handle). Again this is a guideline, not a must. I’ve wrapped port side rods both ways for different people. If you keep your diver reels oriented to directly oppose the pull, then it makes more sense to wrap on the handle side. Bass guys, and anyone who lays their rods on a boat deck should also wrap handle side to keep the guides upwards through the spiral and off the boat deck as the reel’s handle will orient the other side of the rod down to the deck. Heavier rods using conventional reels (without levelwind mechanisms) should be built considering the preference of how the angler prefers to manually manage line lay on the reel. Without a levelwind, line will naturally stack on the side the line spirals to. This has to be controlled. Some people find it easier to reach up with their thumb and push the line than to hook and pull the line, other anglers have the opposite preference. The guideline here is to spiral towards whichever the angler finds more difficult to do so the natural stacking to one side effect will help them with the direction they find more difficult. Lastly, some of the cheaper levelwind reels have a tendency to stack line to one side of the reel. If you have a reel that does this it’s probably best to spiral away from that so as to not exacerbate the stacking problem. This is more of an unusual situation, but as trollers we might hook a huge fish and have it strip the reel down to the spool and then rewind it all back on and find that our neatly hand filled reel is now stacking line at or above the reel spool lip. If you find this happens after you build a rod, you can reposition the butt guide angle a few degrees to center the line above the blank’s central axis and it will compensate for the problem caused by the poor levelwind function. John E Powell John’s Custom Rods Winner, 2016 International Custom Rod Building Challenge.
  2. The rod’s action and power will remain unchanged. I’ve converted more than 50 factory downrigger, diver, and copper/core rods to spiral wrapped rods for people over the years. Most everyone likes the improved fish fighting experience once they get past the unconventional appearance, especially with the diver and weighted line rods where the pull the angler experiences is more than with rigger rods. If you spiral a diver rod and tend to orient the reel’s position up so you can read the line counters, it’s best to make a port and starboard rod where the guide spiral direction is rearward towards the transom when trolled in the side mounted rod holders. All other freshwater trolling rods should spiral to the handle side of the rod no matter where fished on the boat. A down side is that some people may need to adjust their rigging habits - basically, if it’s your habit to set the rod butt on the deck and allow the weight of the reel to turn the rod upside down so you can run your hand up the blank and over the tip to grab the line, the guides along the tip section will be in the way. If you’d like to see what your rods would look like when loaded, just assemble them with the tip upside down and pull on the line, you won’t hurt the rod with the line switching from above to under the rod between just two guides. If you would like to see one of my spiral rod’s loaded, message me and I’ll send you a short video. John E Powell John’s Custom Rods Winner, 2016 International Custom Rod Building Challenge.
  3. The op asked about upgrading his rods. I suggested something most people wouldn’t consider, improving what they already have instead of buying new. If you don’t like my suggestion, fine, but don’t be snarky about it. John E Powell John’s Custom Rods Winner, 2016 International Custom Rod Building Challenge.
  4. You could always try upgrading your existing 2-piece rods by turning them into spiral wrapped rods. I’ve outlined the steps: 1) Remove the second and third guide up from the rod’s butt. 2) Reinstall the second guide rotated approximately 60 degrees away from its original orientation toward the reel handle side of the rod. 3) Reinstall the third guide rotated approximately 120 degrees away from its original orientation toward the reel handle side of the rod. 4) Apply epoxy rod finish to seal and protect thread wraps. 5) Assemble the rod with the tip section’s guides facing downward. Spiral wrapped rods are more stable in the hand than conventional guide layouts because the fishing line is taking a more natural path along the underside of the rod blank. As the line passes through each guide along the underside of the rod, the guide acts as a lever arm to counteract the force the angler needs to apply to the rod’s grips to hold the reel in an upright position. The bigger the fish and the harder it pulls, the greater the lever arm effect and the more stable the rod becomes. Here’s a product video I found online that explains the concepts: If you don’t know how to remove and reinstall rod guides, YouTube has lots of videos on the subject. All you need is a hair drier, single-edge razor blade, masking tape, nylon rodbuilding thread in the color(s) to match your rod, a book and something of medium to heavy weight (placed on book to apply tension to thread, run through pages of book, while you wrap your guides on), epoxy rod finish, aluminum foil, and a small disposable craft brush. You can buy rodbuilding thread and epoxy rod finish from online rodbuilding sources like Mudhole, Get Bit Outdoors, or Jann’s Netcraft. John E Powell John’s Custom Rods Winner, 2016 International Custom Rod Building Challenge.
  5. All wires will curl near the end even with a Twili tip unless you run a short heavy leader that gets the splice near or onto the reel. If you store your rods with wire in the guides it’s going to curl. 7 strand is more popular than 19 strand for a couple reasons (it’s cheaper and 19 strand was failure prone when it was first introduced), but I think the 19 strand that is being sold today has improved to the point that it is better than 7, here’s why... Rod guides: 19 strand is clearly easier on rod guides and a Twili tip than 7 strand. Tangle and kink resistance: 19 strand is far more kink resistant than 7 strand. In fact you can tie a terminal knot in 19 strand wire. Pre-failure warning: When 19 strand is damaged a few of the fine strands will break and form a tiny “rats nest” at the point of its pending failure that is easy to see when you’re retrieving and deploying the wire. This warning allows you to cut it back and re-terminate the wire. 7 strand wire doesn’t really give you any warning, so when it breaks you lose your diver, attractor, lure/fly/meat rig, and swivels at a cost of $25-50. Cost: 19 strand has a higher initial cost, it’s about $10 more per spool than 7 strand. However, when you find and repair your first 19 strand pre-failure warning you just saved far more than it’s added cost in all the gear you haven’t lost. In my opinion, the Torpedo brand 19 strand wire is the best wire for Great Lakes diver fishing.
  6. The Hewescraft 19’ SeaRunner with the full height transom looks like a real nice lake trolling boat. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  7. Your statement is incorrect. Both the single axis and dual axis use pins as the pivot point for the ratchet. https://www.fishermanswarehouse.com/cache/images/product_full_16x9/mfiles/product/image/1907001.5e17ce642aefd.jpg The pin is clearly visible on the single axis rod holder in the picture. It’s the black spot about 1/3 up from the base. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  8. Here are problems with 3 of my 6 Cannon dual axis rod holders used for divers and magnum divers. In the first photo you can see how the pressed in place pin has shifted to one side. If this is not noticed and corrected by pressing it back into place it will eventually shift completely out of position and fail. In the second photo the forces on the pin have caused the aluminum to stretch and elongate the pin’s hole and the aluminum has split. This rod holder will soon fail if continued to be used. In the third photo you can see that the base to tube assembly on the lower rod holder has been stretched. It’s supposed to look like the upper rod holder in the picture. I’m unable to dismantle the assembly to repair the problem. The hex drive bolts under the base appear to have been assembled with thread locker and/or have seized due to electrolysis and both hex head have stripped out trying to remove them. In my opinion the Cannon dual axis rod holders are fine for casual use, but inadequate for serious long-term diver use. I have seen these problems on a number of boats. You be the judge.
  9. It sounds like you might like a “Kokanee downrigger rod”. They’re very popular on the west coast for light line and smaller to mid size fish. If you do a search for them I’m sure you can find some in your preferred length and at every price point. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  10. I think you answered your own question here. Use the higher retrieve rate reels for your spoon rods, and the lower retrieve rate for your attractor setups. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  11. Here’s what looks to be a great deal on one of the best post classic Boston Whaler models. It’s listed on the Fisherman’s Garage Sale page. https://www.facebook.com/groups/799771550061605?view=permalink&id=3421352654570135 Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  12. Bags have been sold. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  13. A pair of new unused Amish Outfitter 28” Buggy Bags. Unused because my plans changed and I downsized my boat. $80 PayPal plus shipping, or cash at time of local pick up in Niagara Falls area. I’ll be at the expo this weekend if you’re coming in from out of town. I’ll hold with a deposit. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  14. Something to watch on a cold snowy day... Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
  15. Dell Rowles had one of those for many years. It was a great boat to fish from. Best of luck with the sale. Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United
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