How To Talk Fishing Rods – Action, Power, Speed & What It All Means
“I want a fast action, medium-heavy, 7’3” casting rod”, that’s a guy that knows what he wants! The angler described the power, action, and speed of what he wanted. Often, very skilled anglers interchange that terminology.
Action, Power, and Speed all mean very specific and very different things. Let’s break them down below and hopefully make it easier to find the rod a specific angler is looking for.
Action describes how a rod bends. Is it stiff? Is it soft? Is it moderate? A rod can be fast and soft or medium and stiff. Think about the way the rod flexes, not where it flexes.
I prefer a softer rod on baits with treble hooks, light wire hooks or finesse techniques like drop shotting. The “give” in the blank protects the light wire hook and gives some additional shock for your leader. It also detects the most subtle strike for that deep, clear water drop shot.
I select stiffer rods when I am fishing heavy gauge single hooks like a jig or a Carolina rig. The stiffer action helps the hook set as those techniques often require the hook going through some soft plastics before the hook point even gets to the fish.
Power describes how a rod loads. What amount of weight or energy loads the rod for a cast and what amount of force it can deliver under a specific condition on a fish. Power is most often described as light, medium-light, medium-heavy, and so on.
Power is precisely defined on the blank in the line/lure rating.
Action describes “how” a rod bends, power describes the “force” that bends the rod, speed describes “where” a rod bends. All rods have a natural “stop” point where the rod transitions from tip that casts your bait, to the butt that fights your fish.
Envision a rod at rest. It is 100% straight. If that tip bend “stops” a quarter of a way down the blank the rod is fast, halfway it is medium and further down the blank it is a slow rod. Each have their own benefits and I personally fish all three depending on my intent.
Now that you know how the industry describes rods in development, you can precisely select the rod for you. Think about your intent and spend some time thinking about which attribute combination will be best for you. Outside of speed, power, and action the only remaining consideration is length. Once you decide on those four considerations picking the right rod is easy.