Fishing Rod Power vs. Action (How To Choose The Right Rod For You)

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Picking out a fishing rod can be confusing with the different power ratings and action…

What do those terms even mean?

And to make it more confusing, there’s no real standard to power and action, so one medium power rod might be equivalent to a heavy power rod in another brand.

So how can you pick the right rod for you?

In this video, you’ll learn what the definitions of power and action are when it comes to fishing rods, what you want to look for in a rod, and how to do the “feel test” to see how a rod stacks up against others.

Check it out below.

Power vs. Action Explained [VIDEO]

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Power is the measure of how much force it takes to bend the rod.

When you’re fishing with artificial lures, you’ll want a rod that’s on the stiffer side so that you can get a good hook set and have enough power to bring in the fish.

Usually, you’ll want a medium-heavy rod, but it could be medium or heavy, depending on the brand.

For instance, one of my favorite rods is the Temple Fork Outfitters Professional Series.

I like to get the medium power model.

On the other hand, the G Loomis E6X heavy power rod feels just like the Temple Fork Outfitters Professional Series medium power rod.

Now, let’s talk about action.

Action is where in the rod does the bend happen.

A fast action rod means that only the top part of the rod will bend, whereas a slow or moderate action rod might start bending more towards the middle part of the rod.

A fly fishing rod is the ultimate slow action rod example because the whole rod flexes to propel the line forward.

Now when it comes to inshore fishing with artificial lures, fast action is better because it can help you cast farther, you’ll feel the bite better, and you’ll get better hook sets.

And just like power, there’s no real standard for action ratings among different brands.

But as an example, the only part of my Temple Fork Outfitters Professional Series fast action rod that bends is just the top 25%, so you’ll want to look for a rod that has similar action.

How To Choose The Right Rod For You

To choose the best rod for you, here are two options:

Option 1: Do the feel test

If you’re in a store, put the rod tip down on the floor and bend it.

You’ll be able to feel how much pressure it takes to bend the rod compared to others (to get a good idea of the power of the rod), and you’ll be able to see where in the rod it starts to bend (to get a good idea of the action of the rod).

Option 2: Check out our recommendations

Since this can be a confusing (and expensive) decision, we’ve reviewed a ton of rods to show you which brands and models we like, and which ratings we like for them.

We don’t accept sponsorships from any of these companies (we’re fully supported by our Insider Club) so we’re free to give you unbiased reviews so that you can get the best equipment for your money.

See all of our rod reviews here.

And a final note on picking the right rod: don’t put too much stock in the rating, but do make sure that the line you’ll be using fits within the recommendations for the rod.

For example, my Temple Fork Outfitters rod is rated for 6-12 lb. line, and I usually use 10 lb. line with it.

Conclusion

best size rod and reel for inshore saltwater fishing

When it comes to fishing rods, power means how much force it takes to bend the rod, and action means where in the rod it starts to bend.

You’ll typically want a medium-heavy rod with a fast action tip, but these ratings vary from brand to brand (and even within different models of a brand), so do the feel test or check out our rod reviews to help decide which rod is best for you.

Have any questions about choosing a fishing rod?

Let us know in the comments below!

And if you know someone who’s looking for a new rod, please TAG or SHARE this with them!

P.S. Want access to our best fishing spots and tips, plus discounts to our online tackle store? Click here to join us in the Insider Club!

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Anonymous
Anonymous
22 days ago

A lot of good information especially for those who fish ARTIFICIAL bait. I do not use them.Who is the resident expert on real bait on your team that is?

Anonymous
Anonymous
22 days ago

GETTING TO KNOW YOUR FISHING ROD GUIDES.
Something that is seldom talked about that Salt Strong members find useful.
1)Insert Ring/Loop Sizing
The first measurement in a Tip-Top is the OD of the ring (eyelet) in millimeters. Generally, the inside diameter (ID) of the ring will match the smallest guide on the rod. Standard sizes are 6, 8, and 10mm for conventional rods, while heavier saltwater rods may go as high as a 16mm ring.
2)https://blog.mudhole.com/getting-know-fishing-rod-guides/#.X0mUTshKjIV
3)Cone of Flight
The cone of flight layout has long been used for spinning rods and uses increasingly smaller rod guides to gradually narrow the “cone of flight” as the line nears the tip. This system generally uses fewer total guides than other layouts, but the problem with this system is that large, heavy guides usually are used. Many builders, when they test-cast rods, find that the cone of flight system doesn’t improve casting distance when compared to the “new guide concept” layout.
4)The “concept” layout, popularized by guide manufacturer Fuji, uses significantly smaller guides than the cone of flight layout, but also requires more rod guides. This system is thought to increase casting distance with braided lines on spinning reels. Because braided lines come off the spool with less memory than monofilament, there is no need for a “cone of flight” layout to gradually restrict the line until it leaves the tip.
5)Other benefits of the concept layout include a lighter, more sensitive rod and a smaller “footprint” on the rod blank, which allows the rod the bend more naturally. The downside is that there are more small guides that could potentially be damaged or broken. Also, the small guides don’t pass knots or splices through them quite as well, and they ice up more easily in freezing-cold weather.
6)For baitcasting and conventional rods, spiral wraps, also known as “acid wraps,” have become increasingly popular. The idea of a spiral wrap is to move the line from the top of the rod to the bottom of the rod, reducing the torque on the rod. This keeps the rod from wanting to turn over when you are fighting a fish.
7)Single Foot vs. Double Foot
Many rodbuilders like single-foot guides because they have less of an impact on the rod’s action, and wrapping them on the rod requires half the work of double-foot guides. For rods intended for heavy-duty use with large species, double-foot guides are a better choice as they will stay securely anchored and resist twisting, even under heavy loads
8)K-Frame
Touted as “tangle free,” these guides are useful on spinning and surf rods that will be used with braided line. Anglers who do frequent casting and retrieving will appreciate the reduced frequency of tangles.
Micro guide
Micro Guides
Guides with a ring size of 7 or smaller are considered micro guides. Popular with freshwater bass fishermen, these guides are extremely light and add minimal weight to the rod. Rods built with micro guides often require 10 or more guides to achieve the proper action.
roller guide
Roller Guides
Anglers trolling or bait fishing for big gamefish turn to roller guides to minimize the friction between the line and guides when large tuna or billfish take screaming runs against tight drag settings.
https://www.onthewater.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-rod-guides

Chris Padgett
Chris Padgett
1 month ago

Hey Luke. Off topic, I’m trying to understand the life cycle of the Greenback bait fish used around here. Earlier in the year you could pretty much find them anywhere ranging from any size. Larger were schooling hard off the beaches and nice bait size were more around structure like markers or piers. Now in August all my usual spots are full of fry. Anglers I’ve talked to say to chum the flats but those things are super small. Where do the larger baits go after spawn? I got lucky and ran up on some schooling down current under a light by the bridge bumpers at John’s Pass, but to consistently find them…the struggle is real. I know, I know, all you need is a good lure, but live bait fishing is awesome. There’s nothing like when that bait fish starts to run for its life and you know it’s about to go down. The water here is so clear so a lot of times you get to see it happen. Not to mention if you have the gear to catch them and keep them alive, they’re free. I was fishing the flats out by the Skyway bridge and I must have gone through 3 packs of ZMAN soft plastics. Grouper destroy those things. A shark or puffer will hit it and it’ll come back chomped in half or with no tail. It gets expensive. People on Amazon are selling 1 pack of Diezel Minnowz for like $10 right now. That’s double for what they normally sell for. Angler to angler, I need some insight. I’ve been furloughed from work for the next couple of weeks so this is my chance to step my game up. If you get a moment please share a little knowledge with me. Stay safe. Deuces. 

Rick
Member
Rick
1 month ago

What do you think abou a long surf rod? Wouldnt a slow action cast further in the surf?

Jose Rodriguez
Member
Jose Rodriguez
2 months ago

Luke, thank you for the video. I changed my pop and cork rod from a medium to fast heavy and in my opinion my hook sets has increased. So now i have a medium rod and I’m thinking i should rig it up with my top water snook jr lure to help with motion and so I don’t set the hook (which it typically instinct) when I see the splash verse when I feel the fish on the lure. Thoughts?

Lee Chaney
Member
Lee Chaney
2 months ago

are line rating on rods for strength or diameter?

Rick
Member
Rick
1 month ago
Reply to  Lee Chaney

Strength. On some 3000 reels I’ll use 20lb braid because it’s only the diameter of 6lb mono. It casts a lot better BUT it can break a rod rated for 6/15lb test. I know this and know that if I have big fish and I want to gold the drag to put pressure on th e fish…I CANNOT pull on the rod like you normally do using all the action of the rod. I know I have to point my rod down more towards the fish and NOT tear back on the rod. It would break. When your rod is pointed to the fish it could b 100lb test because you’re not pulling up on the rod bending it until it breaks.
That’s why you see a lot of broken rods everywhere you go. Heavy braid on a lighter rod and the person didnt compensate for it in the way they “bend the rod”.

Michael Danek
Member
Michael Danek
2 months ago

I disagree with your conclusions that a fast action rod will cast farther than a mod action rod. There is so much more that goes into it to generalize like that. Also, are you familiar with the CCS rod measurement system which yields real, objective, numbers that allow accurate comparisons between rods. For both power and action. .This would allow you to measure a favorite rod, then find a similar rod with your feel test. BUT, you could take the rod home and measure it, and if the numbers are close, it’s about the same rod (there still is the recovery speed to be considered-that can be measured too, but it’s not as easy. But the lighter of two rods of similar CCS numbers will most likely recover faster). If the numbers are not close enough, take it back. You have not hurt it or done anything that would prevent it from going back on the shelf. CCS is applicable for ALL rods, fly, spin, cast, and even very powerful salt rods. When you have a “library” of rod data you’ll find you can match rods quite easily. Works on blanks just as well as rods.

https://www.common-cents.info/

Martin Engel
Martin Engel
2 months ago

Hey Luke, nice video. I’m looking for a baitcasting rod for inshore fishing. My last rod snapped when I set the hook… Fo you have any recommendations?

Sam Craparo
Member
Sam Craparo
2 months ago

Very informative. You did not mention lure weight rating You usually use 1/8 weighted hooks but the rod you showed has a minimum rating of 1/4. Do you take this into consideration when purchasing a rod. Thanks for all you do.

Mike Garner
Mike Garner
2 months ago

I was looking at Walmart , Amazon,,, etc., for Chum and fish attractants. I ran across fish oil in a container to put on your lures. I then ran across fish oil that you take to help with your heart health. Hmmmmmm, what if you could poke a pin hole in one of the capsules and attach it to a lure and just bring in fish all day. Better yet, design a lure that allows you to put the capsule inside the lure!!!!! I would do it and maybe get a patent on the lure but I figure you might better afford the patent than me. If you do it, remember me for the idea. Thanks,

Mark Barry
Mark Barry
2 months ago

Great video and tips. I’m interested in your recommendations but your store is sold out of a lot of the items you recommended. When will your inventory be replenished?

Ken Blanchard
Member
Ken Blanchard
2 months ago

Hi Luke, Nice video and how you explain how to FEEL in the store is correctly done. What I see all of the time is guys grabbing the rod half way up the blank and then cranking the tip down. This is a HUGE NO-NO because you are not in the Power Zone of the blank and you can actually Snap the tip of a graphite blank. then you own it. I had a customer of mine do this on a $200.00 custom bass rod that I gave him not 15 minutes before. He was heartbroken and as the builder so was I, lol. Nice Job explaining power and action.

Michael Danek
Member
Michael Danek
2 months ago
Reply to  Ken Blanchard

I give a copy of this to every person I build for. https://www.rodbuilding.org/library/rodusage.pdf

Charles Dickson
Member
Charles Dickson
2 months ago

Thanks for all the information y’all are awesome. Chuck Dickson

Malcolm Hayward
Member
Malcolm Hayward
2 months ago

Oh what a bag of worms.
Fly rods, I know precious little.
Beach casting blanks should give a casting weight range. Stick to it. Fairly simple.
The tip is your bite guide. (Two rods standing side by side).
Not really part of the main action but still don’t abuse it.
Length, I like 13 to 14ft. Choose you’re line for the conditions and required casting range.
0.40 mm mono is pushed to go over 180 yards.
Too heavy an action will bite back in the cast. Tournament blanks for experts.
Boat blanks, Oh! Dear!
Best boat casters are beach casters with short butts. 8’6″ absolute minimum, up to 11′.
I used a favourite tournament / Winter cod tip (8′) for years, with a 3′ semi carbon short butt instead of the normal 5′ Hi Carbon power point butt plus reducer. Deadly.
In the UK we used to rate on the lead needed to hold bottom at the venue.
10ozs, 20lb. 1 1/2lbs, 30lbs. Over that 50lbs.
Worked using mono or wire in the ’80s.
Introduction of PowerPro changed all that.
US marketing, really hasn’t helped.
A Califorian (West Coast) rated 50 lbs. will be a Florida (East Coast) rated 30lbs.
An East Coast blank would be expected to pull up to 50% of it’s rating.
Basically, a trolling blank rated system but something to work with.
I recommend avoiding any blank where the blank creator doesn’t give a drag range or at least a line rating as above.
Heavy or light, meaningless and doesn’t deserve you’re custom nor my time to build it.
Just as pointless is the Japanese line system. Based on the material content in the line.
Again, walk away.
By far the best system is used by American Tackle for their Bushido range.
Length of course. Lure weight (crucial for jigging and popping). Line rating with a working drag minimum.
I have built x three, just for me.
Similarly, with Black Hole Cape Cod slow jiggers, even though the rod is pointed at the fish with the modern reel doing the job.
Tips for slow jiggers.
A throughish action is dedicated just to working the jig.
The length is dictated by placing the butt end in the presumeably left armpit, and pointing the tip to the water. Needs to clear. So boat and physique are variables but anticipate 5’6″ to 6’6″.
Be confused, be very confused and insist on proper numbers.
Be aware, if you desire to use a specific tip top, can it match the blank tip.
Blanks are getting lighter and slighter.
Seriously consider “acid” ringing to avoid rod twist yet still facillitate using a proper reel.
Will then, only need the plate for the big stuff.
Live bait, big hits, med to med / slow action.
Most skippers here ban trebles.
Rgds.
Malcolm Hayward.

Anonymous
Anonymous
2 months ago

If a rod says its rated to say 12 lbs does that apply to braid. Because braid casts differently than mono or fluro.

Mike bowden
Member
Mike bowden
2 months ago

What rod do you recommend for fishing for Spanish mackerel off end of pier…..with the object to cast out as far as possible using 10 pound braid line and plastic bauble filled with water followed with treble hook …..using small penn reel …..many, many tiring casts so rod that gets longest cast distance yet not so tiring ….I need a specific rod recommendation that I can purchase without any any ligations

Tom Marks
Member
Tom Marks
2 months ago

I am a custom rod builder, and I see the variation in power and action even within the same rod blank series. I wish companies would use the same “measure method”. I use a deflection chart. By putting the rod blank under load against the chart I can see how the rod bends against a grid. I can easily select blanks that with the same power and action. If a customer has a favorite rod and wants a custom rod built to the same power and action, I can put the rod on the chart and “measure” a blank against it to find an exact match. Rods like golf clubs each has a purpose. I select the power for the fish I will be going after and action for the, casting, lures and sensitivity. Most situations for inshore fast action on a medium heavy (from my chart) is what I use. I used a medium moderate action if I am using a lure with treble hooks. Treble hooks are more difficult to get as good penetration as a single point. The moderate action helps keep the fish “hooked up”, the softer tip always keeps the hooks under tension. I find rod technology very interesting, designing the perfect rod for specific purposes. I have built hundreds of rods for bass and walleye, and now I am adding inshore rods to my resume.

Anthony Bishop
Member
Anthony Bishop
2 months ago

I really like and rely on your reviews due to the fact in our area there’s just not a lot of choice. Online is a crapshoot where a person has only the description to go by.

Anonymous
Anonymous
2 months ago

I was watching your video on fishing rods, Power vs action. All my rods are custom built. I have always had my rods built for the fishing conditions. Since I generally fish light tackle for large fish, I want a rod that has enough backbone to provide the lifting power needed. I am generally fishing 6lb to 10lb on my spinning reels and 15lb on my bait casting. . My sweet spot is a rod that has a flexible tip and a fairly strong mid range for lifting. As a consequence I have been able to catch fish up to 65lb on10lb mono. These rods also afford me the anility to cast a long distance.

Enjoyed your video

Fred Noble

Duncan Smith
Member
Duncan Smith
2 months ago

At one time you were going to do a spinning reel comparison involving a lot of different reels. Is that coming anytime soon?

Steve S
Steve S
2 months ago

Is the temple fork professional still your favorite Inshore rod

Sean
Member
Sean
2 months ago

I prefer a medium light rod for inshore fishing. I use 1/8 – 1/4 ounce jig heads and weighted hooks with zman paddlerz and minnowz as well as slimz. Medium rods seem too stiff for these setups and lack feel.

Sean

Love all your content. Glad I joined the club. 👍

Last edited 2 months ago by Sean Maysonet
Tripp Watters
Member
Tripp Watters
2 months ago

Hey Luke can you post a list of rod strengths from lightest to heaviest? Gets a little confusion when you go from say MH to a Mag lite or Mag med or just Heavy. Also what actions do you like for certain baits. Mark told me the Medium action rods are better for Treble hooks. Where as you probably want more tip strength for setting a hook with live bait.

Thanks

Caden Kaufman
Member
Caden Kaufman
2 months ago

Where is the pic. At the top of the screen taken? Beautiful.

Caden Kaufman
Member
Caden Kaufman
2 months ago
Reply to  Luke Simonds

Very pretty pic. Never new that about rods!

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