Rod buying guide: power vs action, length vs strength and rod extras

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Today, SAM AND MARY comes up with some information that I guarantee will make you a better angler because its going to give you the knowledge necessary to ensure you make a better-informed decision the next time you go out to buy a new rod.

And Ill give you the necessary knowledge to ensure youre choosing the right rod for the right application the next time you hit the water with my article: Rod buying guide: power vs action, length vs strength and rod extras

To aid in todays discussion, I have four of my casting rods tied up. Ive got two of the Royal legends and two of the assassins set up to help explain what Im talking about. Now they all have the same amount of line out, and theyre all anchored to the same point.

Why do they have different bins? To understand that we have to take a better look. When I am picking out a new rod to purchase or pick a rod for a particular application, I break it down into three quadrants: the power and action of the rod, the length and composition of the rod, and all the extras on it. 

Power and Action

To start with power and action, the power of the rod is merely referring to how much energy does it take to put a flex in the rod to bend that rod. Now I have an extra massive rod, and you can see it doesnt have nearly as much flex as my medium rod: the same amount of line, same anchor point, but it takes more power to flex that rod compared to this one. 

When it comes to fishing, that means three important things. 

  • A heavier lure is going to require a more substantial power rod. If I try throwing a two-ounce bait on this medium power rod, thats only rated for three-quarters of an ounce. Im going to break that tip on casting. 
  • If Im using a lighter line such as eight or ten pounds, if I try to set a hook on a 10-pound line with an extra massive rod and I try to horse that fish, theres a perfect chance Im going to break it on a rod-like that. So if you use a lighter line, you want to drop down to a lighter power rod that can absorb that shock. 
  • The last thing I look at is the cover that Im fishing around. More massive denser cover is going to require a more powerful rod. You flip into a bunch of grass; you set the hook on a Texas rig. Youre fishing in there, and youre pulling out 30 pounds of weed on a half-pound bass. If I tried doing that with a medium-light or a medium rod, theres a good chance that Im going to break that rod. Thats why you want to move up to something more substantial, extra heavy, or a massive power rod to control that fish and winch it out of that cover.


You are now moving it to the action of the rod. Whats the work mean? The effect is merely referring to how fast or how close to the tip of the rod that your rods are going to bend a faster tip. Or a quicker action is going to been closer to the tip of the rod whereas a slower or a more moderate activity is it going to bend back more toward the middle of your rod. For me, there are three important things when I look out for the action. 

The cast ability: 

If Im using an extra massive extra fast rod, Im not going to be able to get a whole lot of bend in that or to cast a lighter lure very far. Whereas if I drop down to something like a medium or a medium-heavy rod thats got more parabolic bend in it – something with like a fast to a moderate quick tip, Im going to be able to get more of a pin and load up on that and cast a lighter lure farther. 

Ability to fish fight:

Additionally, the fish fighting power is significant with the action of a rod. If Im using something with trebles, I want to have something with more of a moderate activity because it keeps more of a parabolic bend in that rod. And it allows me to keep that fish pin better than something like an extra fast tip, where it just bends right out here close to the tip as soon as that fish starts to headshake gets close to the boat. Im not going to have that rod to dampen that shock. And theres a perfect chance Ill lose that fish. 

Match the lure to correct action:

When it comes to the action of a rod, your lures performance will perform in different ways depending on that action. If Im fishing a topwater and I have just a moderate rod, thats real floppy Im not going to be able to work that high water in real fast twitches. Whereas if I was using something like a quick tip, Im going to be able to twitch and pop that and walk it a little bit easier. 

The Length

Why does the length matter? A lot of people tell you if youre shorter, get a shorter rod, if youre taller, get a taller one. I dont believe that. I think you can break it down more specifically to help you become a better angler. 

When it comes to a longer rod, it allows you to cast farther, and its going to enable you to take up more line on a hook set. Therefore, I tend to go to a longer rod when Im fishing something like a Texas rig or a jig. In case that fish comes at me, Ive got a better chance of getting a hook set into that fish. I also choose a longer rod for something like frogging or topwater when Im making real long casts, and I want to cover a lot of water. 

Now a short rod. Why would a short rod be good? If youre a bank fisherman or a kayak fisherman, you want to get a shorter rod. Youre going to be able to maneuver cover better. Youll be able to keep it around in your kayak better. A short rod is also going to allow you to be more accurate with your casts pitches and skips. If youre somebody that doesnt care about you know pitching it out a long way and youre just really fishing stuff within 10 yards of you, go off the shorter rod. Youll be able to put up a more accurate pitch on that. And to me, accuracy is everything.

The Composition

Next is the composition of the rod. Now for me, I break it down into three categories: graphite rods, fiberglass rods and composites. 

A graphite rod is going to be a lot more sensitive than the other two. However, a graphite rods just a hollow tube. Its going to be a lot more apt to break if youre misusing it. If youre mishandling it, they are a lot easier to cut. 

Now when you jump on the other end. A fiberglass rod is almost indestructible. I remember when I was younger, I had some that I could seemingly bend over and touch the tip to handle there. I mean, theyre built to last, but theyre not as sensitive. Youre not going to be able to feel those little ticks if youre fishing a jig, not the way you want to go. 

A lot of days, what youll see people fishing are composite rods – a mix of the two. Not only the blank, the original graphite or fiberglass of the rod, but the resins and the different materials they wrap on it make it that sort of composite rod – a mix of materials. And with those rods, youll be able to get kind of a happy medium, a good sensitive rod thats also durable—not going to break on the littlest, which so last are all of the extras. 


Rod Extras

When I look at a rod, I start from the bottom and go to the tip on extras, how long do I want my handle to be. If Im fishing something where Im going to be imparting a lot of action: a jerkbait – my top waters, I tend to want a shorter handle on it, whereas something like a frog round or a jig rod. I like to have a more extended handle that I can tuck in here and get a right hook set on it. 

Moving up, I look at the reel seat and how its connected to the rod. I like reel seats that are open on the bottom so I can feel the blank with my fingers. I also like having a reel seat that has a metal tighten cap. I have broken a couple – the ones that are just a little plastic screw-on there. I dont like those beekeepers, I hate those small keepers that are only a U on there. You have actually to undo your soft plastic and hook it in there. I like the ones that are just a little clip, where I can take my hook right out of there, flip it in. Thats important if youre looking to follow up on a frogfish. Im going to get my sink to go out. I dont want to have to take it out, rig it into the plastic, and then throw it out there. I want to pull it off the clip and go 

Im not too fond of the real big line guides that are big and clunky. They get in the way adversely. I wouldnt say I like the little tiny micro line guides. I have used a pretty good couple, but I noticed that they break more manageable, so I want something in the middle. 

I hope these four rods gave you all a better understanding today of rod power and action, rod length, composition, and the extras. You want to look for if youre going up to purchase a new rod or just trying to pick a rod for your next day. Remember, fishing is entirely subjective. The opinions that I have today doesnt mean its the only opinion or the sole right opinion. You all can have your view about it.

avatar I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.

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