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Fishing Rod Basics

Fishing Tips / Rods / February 22, 2017

Most people go out and buy a fishing rod based on looks or price. We’ve put together a list of fishing rod basics for new fisherman. There is much more that should go into a fishing rod purchase than looks and price. 

For years, fisherman had a small choice of fishing rods. Today, fisherman have a wide variety of rods to choose from. It is important to understand the basic qualities of fishing rods, especially when you are going to choose a new one. Let this brief article share with you some fishing rod basics.

Fishing Rod Basics

What are fishing rods made of?

There are a few different materials rods are created from such as fiberglass, graphite, boron, or bamboo, just to name a few. Each material brings a different capacity and strength. Fiberglass is simple. Its economical, durable, and an all-around solid pick for a fishing rod.

Today, most rods are made from fiberglass. Graphite is stronger and more sensitive than Fiberglass. Boron is only slightly stronger than graphite and its even more sensitive than the other two. However, Boron is significantly more expensive than Fiberglass or Graphite. Bamboo is a category all its own, mainly used for custom made fly-fishing rods.

Are you interested in how fishing rods are made?

Check out this video from American Legacy Fishing Company as they show how fishing rods are made.

What is fishing Rod Action?

Many anglers get rod action and rod power confused. What is rod action? Rod action refers to where a rod bends.

Rod action is determined by the degree of taper in the rod. Extra fast, Fast, moderate, and slow are the typical actions in a rod. Slow action rods begin their bend about half way up the length of the rod. Slow rods are what you think of when you see that deep U-shape with big fish on the other end. Moderate action rods bend half way up the rod. Fast rods bend a big higher up, the last 1/4th of the rod. Extra fast rods have a light bend in the upper 1/4th of the rod.


Extra fast and fasts rods are often chosen for their hook set. Many crankbait anglers desire fast to extra fast rods to control fish better. These fast rods make it more difficult for fish to shake the hooks.

Slow rods allow for much further casting than fast rods. The overall ability for a slow rod to bend is referred to as “rod loading” and allowed for a greater whip like motion when casting. In fast rods, only the tips are actuated in casting. Medium rods are predictably catch all rods. They cast moderately well and control moderately well. If you’re not too sure, its hard to go wrong here.

When choosing your new fishing rod, be sure you find the appropriate rod action for the fish you are seeking and the lures you are using.

What is Rod Power?

Rod power is the overall stress a rod can handle. Its often referred to as rod weight.

Rod power dictates the overall pressure a rod can withstand combining elements of line rating and lure weight. Predictably, total fishing line lb. ratings increase as rods move from ultra-light to heavy ratings.

Ultra-lights will work best with 2lb test while heavy rods may work great up to 80lb test. The same is true for lure weights. Ultra-light lures may be throwing 1/16th an-ounce weight to a pound worth of bait and sinker.

The type of fish you are seeking will determine the rod power you are looking for. Remember to study up on your knowledge to be better suited to catching your favorite species of fish. Rod power may mean the difference between catching a fish and losing a fish.

Final Thought

With the advancements in fishing rod technology, it might be time to consider a new fishing rod based on the information above. This is just a beginners guide to fishing rods and those looking to check out new rod types who might not be all that familiar with the benefits and drawbacks of each design.

There is a wealth of more information out there for the angler interested in fishing rod physics but that’s not exactly necessary to learn to fish well. Tackle Reports hopes this basic introduction to fishing rod design can give you the info you need to pick the best rod for you.

Happy fishing!


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Matthew Gallagher




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