You’ve Been Thinking of Fishing Rods All Wrong (Action v. Power)

You’ve been wrong your whole life about fishing rods.

Well, not totally wrong and admittedly a lot of rod builders and “industry” types are usually at fault.

Over the next few weeks, we will be covering some of the various misinterpretations present in terms of fishing rod design and function.

The first is “Action vs. Power.”

It’s a relatively common problem, an angler or “pro,” will refer to a rod as a “heavy action,” rod, instead of a heavy POWER rod.

There is no such thing, now, you can have a fast action rod, with a heavy power, but not a Heavy action rod. Remember, action refers to where the rod bends, while power refers to how it bends, in response to a certain amount of load.


Here is a rod, placed on a deflection board to compare action.  Photo by



Luckily, the folks at Tacklewarehouse have produced a handy guide to properly determining the difference between action and power.

We’ve trimmed it down to a more digestible format below. For questions on actions and/or rod powers, shoot us an email at, and we’ll do our best to explain the difference.


This describes how much of the rod deflects (bends) when you put pressure on the tip.

A fast action rod will bend in only the top third or less of the blank, a medium or moderate action will bend in the top half or so and a slow action will bend starting in the lower third of the rod. Sometimes slow action rods are termed ‘parabolic’, meaning the bend of the rod is similar throughout its length.

Generally, a “Fast” action rod will flex in the upper 1/3 of the blank, a “Medium” or “Moderate” action will flex in the upper ½ of its length and a “Slow” action all the way to the butt.

Action is simply put, the way a rod or blank bends.


This describes the strength of the rod or its lifting power.

Power is best described as the amount of energy or force that is needed to make a rod blank bend. Power generally refers to a rod’s stiffness or resistance to bending and is usually defined in terms like Ultra-light, light, medium, etc.

When choosing a rod for a specific job, length is easy to determine. Once you have determined the proper action, the next step is the rod’s power. We’ve made identifying a rod’s power easy with our Color ID System. A quick glance at the butt section will ensure you pick up the right rod when you need it.

The TFO rod power ratings have been compiled in a helpful chart, (below).









About templeforkoutfitters
Armed with a lifetime passion for fishing, we set out to establish a new standard of value for fly and conventional rods. We have relied on our own experience and advice of many professionals in creating what we believe is the perfect marriage - price and performance. Sound too good to be true? Cast one and you be the judge.

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