When selecting a fishing rod for a particular application, understanding it's power and action are crucial. When first looking at fishing rods, all the various descriptions and talk about power and action can be kind of confusing. So lets break it down...
In simplest terms, rod power describes how strong the backbone is and how much lifting power the rod has. It is described in terms of weight. The most common weights you'll see are ultra-light (UL), light (L), medium-light (ML), medium (M), medium-heavy (MH) and heavy (H). Some rods do venture into the realm of extra-heavy (XH) and above (I've seen XXXH), but those types of rods are usually only used in special applications - you won't run into them very often. The power of the rod helps determine the size line that will be appropriate to use, and will play a role in determining what size lure you'll be able to effectively use with it as well.
When talking about power, one thing to keep in mind is that it can be subjective and varies based on the taper of the blank and the applications it was designed for. For example a heavy power bass casting rod and a heavy power offshore saltwater rod will not be the same thing.
The action of the rod tells us how the tip section of the rod behaves under load. More specifically it indicates how much of the rod flexes when pressure is applied, and therefore how quickly you engage the backbone of the rod. Because of this, action is referred to in terms of speed - fast, mod-fast, moderate, or slow.
Unlike power, there is less subjectivity when it comes to action. Across pretty much all manufacturers, a fast rod will flex in the top 30% of the rod, moderate in the top 50% and slow will flex into the bottom third of the rod, sometimes even into the handle.
Putting It All Together
So, how do we apply all of this information?
Knowing about power and action will help us select an appropriate rod for the specific application we are planning to utilize the rod. Here are a few common generalized examples:
For bass fishing where we require fast powerful hook sets, we'll select a fast or even extra-fast action rod so we can transfer the energy generated by the set to the hook quicker.
For fishing in heavy cover where we'll need to quickly pull a fish out of weed beds or prevent them from running into structure, we'll want a heavier power rod.
For a trolling application where the rod will be subjected to heavier loads for long sustained periods of time, we'll probably gravitate toward a moderate action rod for it's shock absorption capabilities.
When jigging for Walleye, where tip sensitivity is king for both jig action as well as bite detection, select a rod with a faster action.
When targeting Steelhead, consider one of the slower actions - mod-fast or moderate - to help keep tension on the line when they change directions or jump out of the water.
All of the LDB Custom Rod collections have been designed with optimal powers and actions in mind for the suggested applications. If you don't find a rod listed in our product section with the power and action combination you are looking for, send us an email and we'll do our best to work with you to get exactly what you're looking for.