Fishing Rod Power and Action – Explained

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If you have done any research into new fishing rods, you will certainly have seen ‘Power’ and ‘Action’ mentioned in the design specifics for each rod you look at.

It is important to understand these two factors as the performance of a rod will vary significantly depending on the power and action a rod has.

To help demystify these two design characteristics, I have provided a detailed overview of what each one means so you can make a more informed decision when you buy your next fishing rod.

Fishing Rod Power

The ‘power’ ratings used for fishing rods are a reference to the lifting ability of each rod and should be taken into consideration if you are wanting to cast weights for beach fishing and throwing lures if you are after a spinning rod.

fishing rod power

Below is the range of power used for fishing rods:

UL – Ultra-light

L – Light

ML – Medium Light


MH – Medium-Heavy

H – Heavy

XH – Extra Heavy

Fishing Rod Action

Now you have an understanding of what the ‘Power’ of a fishing rod is, I’ll cover what the ‘Action’ of a fishing rod means, so you have all the pieces of the puzzle.

The range of action used in fishing rods goes from ‘Extra Fast’ at one end of the scale, to ‘Slow’ at the other end.

fishing rod action

Below is the full range of rod action you will find, and basically what a rod action refers to is how much of the tip of the rod bends under pressure.

On an Extra Fast action rod, the bend comes at the very tip of the rod so the response time when setting the hook is much faster as less of the rod bends.

On a Slow rod, the bend will go a lot further down the rod, so you can imagine that setting hooks is generally slower, but these types of rods are ideal for things like fly fishing, where the extra bend is required.

XF – Extra Fast

F – Fast

MF – Moderate Fast

M – Moderate

S – Slow

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