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Rod action and power explained

Picking the right action and power for your fishing rod sounds straight forward. But even subtle differences in configuration can and will affect your fishing for better or worse, so knowing the basics and having the right rod action and power for your fishing will not only put more fish in your net, but also be more fun to fish with. Usually a rod is described with “length”, “casting weight”, “action” and “power” and in this article we’ll look in to the two latter ones that are more open to interpretation - Action & Power.



First up here is power, and that is exactly what it means - how much power it takes to fully load the blank. The heavier the power rating, the more weight or force can be put on the rod without stressing the blank too much or even breaking it. Power ratings are usually set in Ultra-Light to Heavy or Extra Heavy.


Heavy powered rods

If you are fishing big weights, heavy lures, heavy wire hooks and/or around heavy cover such as wood, lily pads or thick submerged vegetation you’ll be better suited with a heavier power rod to be able to set the bigger hook and force the fish out and away from the cover before it has the opportunity to snag your line or bait on it.

On the other hand lighter power allows you to cast light lures, fight fish on super light hooks and thin line and present your tactics precisely in times where finesse is the key.


Medium powered rods

A medium powered rod is usually the most versatile (as the name proclaims) of the bunch. It handles a large spectrum of baits and techniques for the angler that wants to have options no matter what he will be facing without carrying multiple setups at any given time. And for mid-size baits in open water or around moderate cover it’s a perfect match. A medium power rod may not always be the best choice - but it will likely get the job done!

Power ratings are not universal and usually they issue the target species for the specific rod or series. A pike rod in medium heavy power will most likely be significantly more powerful than a medium heavy bass/perch rod and vice versa. With that said an extra heavy bass rod might make a perfect downsize pike rod!



Action on the other hand is where and how the blank bends under load and is usually labeled from slow or moderate to fast or extra fast. The slower rods behave way more parabolic under pressure and the rod will bend deep into the blank before you access the backbone. 


Fast action rods

A fast rod will mainly bend in the top section before the backbone sets in giving power” fast” when loading up the blank while a slower rod needs to load way further down giving it a” slow” feeling.


Fast rods excel in techniques where you might get slack line such as bottom contact-oriented jig fishing where control over the line and bait is essential. Many of these techniques heavily favors from a quick hookset and a fast rod will give you that. Also, a fast rod will almost always feel more sensitive and way more connected to the lure since most of the rod consists of backbone that will transmit vibrations excellent due to its stiffer nature.


Almost any techniques where your lure is equipped with a single hook works very well with faster rods and if you are dragging a bait around cover with weedless presentations such as any Texas rigged bait you will most likely want a fast rod to be able to set the hook and put enough pressure on the fish to get it out of the cover as fast as possible.


In techniques where bait control in general is important  (i.e. jerkbait fishing) a faster rod will give you great lure control but on the other hand it might not handle treble hook baits while fighting the fish as good as a slower option. By stepping down in power but maintaining a fast rod you might get some more bend in the blank and find the sweet spot where you can give the right action to your lure and still not rip the hooks out of the fish with too much pressure.


Moderate-fast rods

Slower rods, are usually labeled from moderate or regular to moderate-fast or regular-fast. The action” Slow” is rarely seen on lure fishing casting or spinning rods these days and that’s for good reason, as of today’s standards almost all techniques a slightly faster rod such as a regular or moderate action favors the fisherman in both sensitivity and casting without sacrificing a lot in landing ratio. The downside of a slower rod is that it will feel less sensitive than its faster counterpart, though more premium rods might still be extremely sensitive even labeled as regular or moderate but usually that comes with a more significant price tag serves with ultra refined blanks and rod components.

Slower rods excel on techniques where the lure is retrieved on a straight, tight line. Due to more forgiveness in the rod you will more likely give the fish the chance to fully engulf the bait without pulling it away by setting the hook. In addition, they absorb the thrashing and head shakes of the fish perfectly throughout the whole blank. It prevents losing line pressure on the lure at any point and therefore cuts out many opportunities for the fish to spit out the lure in a moment of slack line during the fight. If you can get away with fishing a slower rod it will increase your landing ratio almost with any lure due to this fact – but you should always take in both fishing the lure correct, and hook setting into consideration and see what option that suits you better.



So both faster and slower rods in any power really come into play in today’s modern fishing almost no matter what species you are tossing your lures after. Finding your personal preference matching your own style of fishing - and considering other external options such as fishing line and/ or leaders is also key in mastering the ability to find the perfect rod action and power for your fishing. And when you do – your fishing will reach new heights!


Fast action rod techniques                 Moderate fast action rod techniques

- Jigging                                                   - Crankbaits            

- Twitchbait                                            - Spinnerbaits

- Topwater                                              - Swimbaits