What is Fishing Rod Power and Action : (A Quick Guide)

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Unless you have a bit of experience in fishing, understanding the rod’s power and action can be challenging. Anglers choose the power and action depending on their fishing technique and the intended fish species. Power and action are basically the rod’s behavior under pressure. Understanding the magnitude of bend on your rod will help you determine what rod is best for your fishing escapades. The power and action of a rod also determine its ability to handle a fight while fishing. Keep reading and understand how the fishing rod’s power and action affect your fishing and their differences.

What is Fishing Rod Power?

A fishing rod’s power is the rod’s stiffness and resistance to bending under pressure or weight. The rod’s power can be defined in terms of ultra-light, light, medium, heavy and extra-heavy. Every angler has varying preferences when picking a fishing rod. Let’s discuss the different power variations.

Ultra-light Power

Ultra-light rods have the least amount of power. Ultra-light powered rods are perfect when you are dealing with light lines and lures. The lures should weigh between 1/32 to 3/8 ounces. For ultra-light lures, this weight loads quickly and efficiently. So if you are setting out for small game fishing, eyeing species like panfish, crappie, and small trout, this will be the perfect rod.

These rods could break easily under too much pressure due to their delicate nature. Therefore, when using them, you should be careful about the type of fish and the waters from which you are fishing. These rods are usually 5 to 6 feet long.

Light Powered Rod

This rod has more power compared to the ultra-light rod. It works better with lures in the weight range of 1/16 ounces.

This is also meant for smaller fish species like panfish, walleye, bluegill, and small trout. The rod has a soft feel, and it allows for proper hook sets.

These rods do not have stiffness and backbone, so they can’t be used for large game fishing. You will miss several large fish with this rod. However, if you stick to the technique that falls in the weight range of this rod, you will have a successful day.

Medium Light

The medium-light power fishing rod works perfectly with lures, weighting 1/8 ounces to ½ ounces. This rod has more power than the light and ultra-light power rods, and it can be used in saltwater and freshwater. This rod lets you use quicker hook sets with jigs and soft plastics as it stiffens up quickly.

The stiffness and extra power of this fishing rod let it handle lines ranging between 4 and 10lbs. You can use this rod for smallmouth crappie, trout, walleye, perch, and panfish. However, make sure not to use this rod in adverse conditions and with very large fish.

Medium-Heavy Power Rods

Medium power rods offer more power than medium power rods. This rod is common among bass anglers. It offers enough stiffness for jig and has wide gap hooks. It is also very easy to load the tip for fishing soft plastics.

Medium-heavy power rods are perfect when you are throwing lures ranging between 3/8 to 1 ounce. This rod is too stiff for light lures, making it perfect for large species. This rod is perfect for people looking to make shorter casts.

Heavy Power Rods

The heavy rod has impeccable stiffness and has the power to handle lures weighing 1/4 to 1 ounce. This rod also handles heavier line weights compared to medium-heavy rods. This rod is perfect for deep structure, and with it, you can use heavier lures and football jigs. If you are fishing for large species and in heavy cover areas, this rod will work perfectly.

However, if you want to make long casts or use light lures, this rod will fail you greatly. It works better with heavier lures due to the low bending power. This rod allows you to go fishing for larger species like bass.

Extra- Heavy Power Rods

Extra-heavy power rods are the stiffest rod. These are perfect for deep structure fishing and are capable of holding lures in the range of ½ to 2 ounces. These rods are stiffer than heavy rods, and they are capable of loading very quick hook sets.

They are a favorite for experienced anglers looking to fish in high vegetation waters and those looking to catch large species. The rods are also perfect for saltwater applications. They bend three to four inches before transferring power to the blank, which is considered very quick.

What is Fishing Rod Action?

Rod action describes where the rod bends when pressure is exacted on it. The different variations of actions are extra-fast, fast, moderate fast, moderate, and slow. A fast-action will bend only at the tip, while a slow action rod will bend further down.

Source : Fix.com

Extra-fast Action

Extra fast action rods are the stiffest and have the smallest bend. They bend only at the tip, leaving the rest of the backbone stiff. As a result, they are perfect for lure fishing since they give an instant response after every hit. They are great for setting the hook very fast when a fish bites.

 These rods are ideal for bass anglers due to their high sensitivity. You can feel every vibration in your hand as the power comes more from the rod than the angler. Extra-fast action is better suited for shorter and more accurate casts.

Fast Action

Fast Action Rods like the extra-fast action rods are perfect for deep structure fishing. They bend o at the tip but to a greater extent than the extra fast action rod. This makes them ideal for large fish and fishing in windy conditions. These rods Fast action rods make it easy to set the hook fast after the fish bite since the pole’s movement is instant.

The fast action rods are highly sensitive, and they transfer every vibration from the fishing line to the handle. So, you can feel every movement and fish nudging your bait. Fast action rods also offer more flexibility that is important in bass fishing and other large game fishing.

Moderate-Fast Action Rods                                               

Moderate fast action rods work well with crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and topwater lures. These rods are all-round and can be used for different fishing applications. These rods flex more before the backbone of the rod. They are less sensitive than the fast and extra fast rods. However, they have strength for big fighting fish. These rods don’t need hard hook sets, and they help keep a fish buttoned up.

When a large fish tries to shake off the hook, this hook absorbs the force so you can tire out the fish more easily. Its extra bend stores energy in the first part of the cast, allowing you to make longer casts compared to the fast and extra-fast action rods.

Moderate Action

Moderate action rods flex further down into the rod and create an arc when fighting fish and retrieving lures. The bend is slightly more than the moderate-fast action’s rod. These rods are ideal for moving baits like crankbaits and faster moving lures.

Where sensitivity is not paramount, this rod will work perfectly, but they assure longer casting distance. Their sensitivity is low, and if you are not experienced, you might miss some hits and vibrations. These rods also absorb and soften the shock that comes from the fish fights. The most common moderate action rods are surf fishing rods; they are long and ensure long casts but are low on sensitivity.

Slow Action Rods

Slow action rods are ideal when you are dealing with light lures and lines.  These rods are the most flexible and bend the most. Therefore, they are less sensitive, but their flex allows you to absorb the lunges and surges of different types of fish.  They are perfect when fishing for panfish and trout.

With these rods, you will be able to cast very far compared to their stiff rods. Surf fishing anglers also prefer this action since they can maintain very long casts. However, fishing in areas with cover is close to impossible with these action rods.

Choosing the Best Power and Action Rod for you

The table below gives a clear indication of the best power and action for different species and lures.

TypeOptionsPower RatingAction RatingLength
BassSpinning reelMediumFast6’6”
BassBaitcasting reelMedium-heavyModerate7’
TroutLive baitLightFast5’6”
WalleyeLive baitMedium-lightExtra Fast6’
PanfishLive baitUltralightExtra Fast5’
CatfishLive baitMedium-HeavyFast8’
SurfLures and live baitsHeavyModerate10’
In-shoreLures and live baitsMediumFast7’

Fishing Rod Power vs. Action

Most people can not differentiate between the action and power of the rod. This is because the two depict the behavior of a rod bending on pressure. Here are the differences between the two.

Rod action is where the rod bends under pressure, while power describes the power required to make a flex.

Rod power is also known as rod’s weight and is classified as light or heavy. With heavy powered rods requiring more power to bend and light powered rods requiring less weight to bend. On the other hand, action is classified as fast, moderate, or slow action, with fast action rods being the rods with the slightest bend and slow action rods with the greatest bend.

A Guide to Selecting Right Action Fishing Rods

1. Sensitivity

When choosing a rod’s action, you need to consider its sensitivity. If you are fishing species that are startled easily or need high sensitivity, fast and extra fast action is perfect. However, when sensitivity is not a priority, slow action rods are perfect.

2. Lures and Baits

The lures and baits also determine the best action for you. Light lures are better with slow action rods, and heavier lures work better with fast and extra-fast action rods.

3. Casting Distance

When choosing the best action rod, consider the casting distance. An angler who prefers longer casting distance needs a slow action rod, while anglers who prefer shorter casting distance work better with fast action rods.

4. Fish species

The fish you are eyeing will also determine the best action rod for you. Fast action rods are good when you are dealing with large fish species, while slow action rods work best when small game fishing.

5. Fishing conditions

The conditions and fishing area will determine the best action rod. If you are fishing in windy conditions and heavy vegetation areas, a fast action rod works greatly; while fishing in open waters, you can get a slow action rod.

Recommended Power and Action for Beginners

If you are a beginner, getting the wrong action and power rod can be frustrating. The right choice will depend on the target fish. For beginners, smaller fish will do for a start since they do not need too much technique, and they are less tiring than large fish species. You can go for moderate rod actions when choosing the best action since they have moderate sensitivity and casting distance.

While choosing the best power for beginners, you can choose medium power rods or light power rods. Medium power rods handle medium lures, and light power rods handle light lures.

Power and Action for All Round Set Up

Moderate-fast action and medium-heavy power rods are the best rods for all-around set ups. Their power and action match different fishing techniques and can be used for different species. This is because they are built for average-sized fish, and with a good angler, they can be used in conditions that match heavy power and fast action.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a moderate action rod good for?

Moderate action rods provide great castability and sensitivity. It is good for moving baits like crank bits and performs greatly in absorbing and softening the shock that results from a fish hitting the rod. Moderate action rods are also perfect for an all-around fishing setup.

2. What is a slow action rod good for?

Slow action rods are less sensitive and work best where you need to make longer casts. Slow action rods are perfect when you are dealing with light lures and light lines. With these rods, you can catch trout and panfish.

3. What action rod is best for trout?

When dealing with grown trout, medium action rods powered with a complimentary reel are perfect for trout fishing. However, if the trout fish are small, you can do with a light rod.

4. What is the best rod action for bass fishing?

The best action rod for bass fishing. Bass fish offer a good fight. Therefore, you need a rod that puts pressure on the fish. Fast action and extra-fast action rods are perfect for bass fishing since they bend in the upper 25 to 30 percent providing the necessary power and flex. Moderate action rods can also be used for bass fishing if you are an experienced angler.

Final Verdict

Understanding the rod’s power and action is not as complicated as people think. To be a pro angler, you need to focus on the power and action of your rod. A rod with the power and action that does not match your fishing technique will make your fishing cumbersome, and in some cases, your rod could break if it’s exposed to pressure it cannot handle. This article explains the power and action of a rod in detail so you can make a good decision in your purchase.


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