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Fishing rod Power and Action- How to choose the fishing rod

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If you think that in the selection of the best fishing rod, the only tough part is selecting “Which brand rod?”, then my friend you are in big trouble. The fishing rod’s Power and Action are the two most important functions to look forward to in a rod and what’s the twisting part here? Both terms are confusing and often interchanged. Both these terms influence your cast, so it is better to know them in detail.

When you are properly familiar with the fishing rod’s specifications you can make a better pick. In order to help novice anglers and to make a better understanding of fishing rod’s power and action to informed ones, we have explained both terms in detail. 

What is fishing rod Power?

Basically, the fishing rod power is the lifting ability of the rod under pressure i.e. the force required to bend the rod. This also indicates the strength of the rod and what size fish it can land. You can also get an idea about the rod’s thickness and weight.

Power is categorized further and each sub-category indicates its compatible line and lures ratings. Power is the backbone of the rod and the casting accuracy, hook setting power, and casting ability all are somehow dependent on the rod power.

the fishing rod power

Fishing Rod Power Rating

As we mentioned earlier, rod power is rated further in accordance with target fish weight, line, and lure weight. It starts from ultra-light to extra-heavy. You may find many in-between options but we are going to discuss the basic and common ones. 

Fishing rod power

Ultra-light Power Rods

Starting with the smallest power rating i.e. ultra-light rods. To target panfish with light and small lures of 1/64 to 1/16 ounces. It can handle a line weight of 1-4 lb.

Ultra-light fishing rods are the lightest in weight and bendy in nature, its tip easily bends. They are ideal to catch smaller-sized fish with delicate mouths with very light lures and lines. Small spinner baits and jigs are perfect lures to pick.

Light Power Rods

The line and lure weights also increase gradually with the power scale. Light power rods also bend but are slightly stiffer than ultra-light. Both are sensitive, but these rods can handle lures 1/32 to 1/8 oz.

Using light-power rods you can target trout and smaller bass in addition to perch with smaller spinners and crankbaits. Both light and ultra-light cause no arm fatigue at all and support all-day freshwater fishing.

Medium Power rods

Medium power rods have quick hook settings. They are stiffer than light and ultra-light and can handle lure weight of 3/8-1/2 ounces with a 6-12 lb. line test. These are commonly used rods that handle normal-sized lures and baits.

Medium power rods can be used in a large variety of situations, you can use them either to fish in fresh or saltwater. You can easily target trout, bass, walleye, and pike with crankbaits, some shaky heads, and jerk baits. They are also the best choice when fishing with finesse techniques like drop-shot or Texas rig for bass and surf casting jigging.

In terms of lure weight, medium-power rods use heavy baits like plastic and hard-body baits than medium-light ones

Medium power is also available in further two scales




If you want a stiff rod but still don’t want to lose the bendy nature and sensitivity of light power rods, medium-light rods serve you as the perfect in-between option. 

The main difference between medium-light and medium-power rods is that the latter is better when casting long distances with small-top water baits i.e. 1/8 to 3/8 ounces. Moreover, medium-light rods are more responsive. You can feel more bites at deeper depths.


An upgraded version of medium power rods that can handle lure weight from ½ to 2 ounces. You can use an 8-14 lb. line test with these rods.

Confidently cast heavy-weight plastic baits, other crankbaits, swimbaits, jigs, and spoons for diving deep depths. To target larger-sized bass, catfish, pike, and salmon with fast hook sets.

Heavy Power Rods

As the power rates level up, the more powerful rod the more heavy and stiffer the rod will be. Heavy power rods bend very little from the tip and are optimal picks when trolling.

Due to their stiffness, they aren’t ideally sensitive but with larger lures, you do not need bite detection prominently. These rods are thick and rigid and fight against big and aggressive fish like Tuna, Pike, bass, and other big saltwater catches.

Heavy power rods can handle heavier lures up to 8 ounces with heavy lines of 15- 25 lb. weight. These rods are recommended for beach fishing and fishing with live baits.

Extra-heavy power rods

As the name suggests, these are stronger heavier, thicker, and more rigid than the heavy power. Exceed the limit from the 25 lb. line test and increase the lure weight by more than 8 ounces.

These tough buddies land the giant catches of both fresh and saltwater. Trolling is the ideal scenario for extra-heavy rods as they cause arm fatigue holding for a longer time.

What is fishing rod Action?

When you talk about the rod’s action it is all about the bending of the tip, the position from where the rod bends, and how fast the rod comes to its original position after bending.

It’s quite simple, the power of the rod represents its strength and resistance to bending against specific size fish whereas the fishing rod’s action indicates how much the rod will bend under certain pressure.

Fishing rod action rating

Again varieties are available in fishing rod action they start from slow and end up with fast action. The slower the rod the more its bends.

fishing rod action

Fast Action Rod

These rods bend only from the tip and are the stiffer ones. When these rods are bent under pressure, only the tip area bends and returns to its original state more speedily than other action rods. That’s why they are the fastest of all.

Fast action rods are great with sensitivity, pick the slightest fish nibble are great for jigging and worming, where you make fast hook sets.

These rods are perfect with short-length rods as they offer pinpoint casting accuracy with the slightest bite detection. Many rod brands offer Extra-fast and Moderate-fast action rods.

When I want extremely sensitive fishing rods when setting the hook fast, Extra- fast action rods are the ultimate pick. Whereas Moderate-fast action rods are better suited for beginners as they serve as an in-between option.

In moderate-fast-action rods, there is a greater bend from the tip than in a fast-action rod, but there is no such bend as deep as in a moderate-action rod.

Moderate-fast rods are a bit slower than fast action and often used for regular fishing as they are good with maneuverability.

Overall, fast-action rods are the optimal pick for lure fishing as they allow one to cast longer distances and are the recommended rod action for novice anglers.

Moderate action Rods

These rods bend from the middle position up to the tip. They are more versatile and forgiving rods.

When fishing with chatter baits, and spinner baits with treble hooks and you want to cast them long, moderate action rods are good for this because flexing rods are better with casting distances but they do sacrifice sensitivity.

Slow action rods

The rods that bend throughout the whole of their length are slow-action rods. These rods return to their original position much slower than fast and moderate action rods.

To target smaller-sized fish slow action rods are preferred. These rods are good as shock absorbers, allow more time to set the hook and they will not take the lure out of the fish’s mouth before it engulfs it.

Fly fishing rods are the perfect example of slow-action rods.

How to choose the right rod power and action?

Even after knowing the rod specifications, you may find it difficult that how to choose the right rod. To solve this puzzle following are some recommended power and action combos.

Fishing rod Power and Action Chart

Rod PowerRod ActionLineTest (lb.)Rod Length
Lure Weight
Target SpeciesApplications
Ultra-lightSlow4 lb.7 feet1/64- 1/16 oz.PanfishSpinnerbaits and jigs
Ultra-lightFast 4 lb.6 feet1/64- 1/16 oz.PanfishJerk baits, spoons, jigs, and crankbaits
LightModerate6 lb.6.6 feet1/32- ¼ oz.Trout, perch, small bassJerk baits, spoons, jigs, and crankbaits
MediumFast8-14 lb.6.6 to 8 feet3/8- 1/2 oz.Bass, walleye, pike, perch, troutSoft plastics, jigs, crank baits, spinner baits, and spoons
Medium-heavyFast 8-14 lb.8 feet½ -2 oz.Salmon, Catfish, Pike, bassSoft plastics (worms), jigs, crank baits, spinner baits, spoons, live baits
HeavyModerate15-25 lb.10 feet4- 8 oz.Salmon, Muskie, pike, bass, catfish, surf fishingSwimbaits, hollow-bodied frogs, jerk baits. Live baits

Heavy power and fast action rods are great for casting long distances as heavier rods are perfect for throwing baits and lures further away. For surf fishing and trolling this combo works great.

Heavy Power and moderate action rods when fishing live baits and surf fishing with longer rods up to 10 feet with heavy power and moderate action are recommended to land bigger-sized fish. 

Medium Power and Moderate Action rods are for the situation where in addition to casting distance, you want accuracy with more control over the rod. This combo is recommended for maneuverability. They are great when fishing deep with artificial lures as they load a lot more distance on a cast.

Medium Power and Fast Action Rods if naming the one perfect pick for the fishing rod power and action, this combo is the ideal one. With the fast action rod’s tip sensitivity and in addition to this medium power rod’s hook setting power, this would be a reliable rod for multiple fishing situations and targeting multiple sized species.

Ultra-light Power rods with Fast Action to target skittish fish anglers use finesse techniques to trap them. Ultra-light spinning rods with fast action tips are ideal to target finicky fish. This combo is perfect to fish in shallow water bodies with lighter lures.

Frequently Askes Questions

Final Wrap

The factors that influence your casting ability

  1. Power of the rod
  2. Action of the rod
  3. Length of the rod
  4. Handles and grips of the rod
  5. No. of guides and guides material

Power and action are the base features and understanding these terms and their right usage already resolves 50% of your fishing rod selection puzzle.

When we say that there is a difference between skilled and novice anglers, their main difference is the understanding of these gear specification terms.

So make sure to first introduce yourself with these terms. We have played our part in explaining the fishing rod’s power and action in detail, now it’s your turn to pick the best spinning or the best baitcasting rods following this guide.

Regarding rod and power my favourite fishing gear combo is Ugly Stik GX2 with any lightweight Shimano spinning reels.