Fishing Rod Information

Characteristics of Fishing Rods

  • Power
  • Action
  • Line Weight
  • Type of Rod
  • Number of Pieces
  • Length
  • Sensitivity



Power refers to the strength or “lifting power” of the rod.  A fishing rod with a heavy power is said to have “backbone”.  The power of a rod is in direct correlation of the weight of line to be used.  The classifications of power is: Ultra Light, Light, Medium Light, Medium, Medium Heavy, and Ultra Heavy.



Action describes how much the rod tip bends when under pressure.

Action Classifications

  • Extra fast - Rod bends just at the tip.
  • Fast - Rod bends in the last quarter.
  • Moderate fast - Rod bends over the last third.
  • Moderate - Rod bends over the last half.
  • Slow - Rod bends all the way into the handle.

Fast action means better sensitivity and quicker power for hook sets. 

Moderate action rods will provide greater casting difference and will take longer to “load” hook sets.  This makes them popular with crankbait fishing so baits are not pulled from the mouths of fish with too much pressure being applied at the hook set.

Slow action rods will bend all the way to the tip making them only applicable when fishing for small panfish or trout. 


Line Weight

Each rod should have a suggested line weight on the handle to tell you what to use.  Heavy power rods require heavier line weights because the rod is less forgive when fighting a fish.  If a fish makes a strong run during a fight on a heavy power rod there will be little bend in the rod putting much more pressure on the line itself.  This is why heavier line is required.  On the opposite end, lighter weight line is used with light power rods because of the shock absorption provided by the greater bend in the rod. 


Number of Pieces

Rods typically come in one or two pieces.  Rods that come in two pieces are much easier to transport but there is a loss of sensitivity and power.  One piece rods have the best sensitivity because there is not vibrations lost in the connectors of the rod.



Rods come in a variety of lengths all the way from 4 to 10+ feet long.  Longer rods provide longer casting distances and higher fish fighting power.  It also allows for quicker hook sets on long casts.  Shorter rods cast more accuracy and mobility than larger ones. 



Sensitivity is the amount of vibrations the rod transmits back to your hands.  Sensitivity comes from two things, first the composition of the rod.  Graphite transmits vibrations better than fiberglass.  Second, the action of the rod, a fast action rod allows you to detect bites better because of the stiffness of the tip. 


Composition of Fishing Rods

  • Fiberglass
  • Graphite



Fiberglass is typically less expensive than graphite.  However they are more durable, flexible, have high strength, and are incredibly hard to break.  The down side is they are less sensitive and heavier.  The flexibility of fiber glass makes them a good material to have in a crankbait fishing rod as they are more forgiving on a hookset and will not rip a treble out of a fishes mouth.



Graphite is the most common material used in fishing rods today.  Graphite is formed in two steps using high temperatures.  The hotter the temperatures the more strength and stiffness the material has.  The strength and stiffness is formed in two separate process.  Some companies advertise rods as high modulus graphite (meaning they processed the rod for stiffness) but did not process it for strength, making the rod brittle.  This makes the rod less expensive but at the cost of lower quality.  Graphite is a sensitive, lightweight, and tough (when properly processed).  However, they are less flexible and more prone to break than fiberglass so care must be taken with a graphite rod.