Fishing Rod Action Chart Explained –  Action, Power, And Chart

Fishing rod action chart - fishingonsunday

When it comes to buying a fishing rod, you need to have a basic grasp of several characteristics that contribute to its quality and performance. Not all fishing rods are created equal: they come with different ratings of action, power, stiffness, responsiveness, etc. 

While this seems like a daunting task to choose the proper rod at first, we break down all factors about this fishing piece, so you can consider what suits you best for your fishing type.

Once you have an idea about a fishing rod action chart and other features, you can maximize a rod’s performance and your chance of a successful catch.   

Fishing Rod Action Meaning

Fishing rod action indicates how much of the fishing rod will bend when the pressure is applied at the tip and the speed at which the rod returns to the at-rest position. A fishing rod might have extra fast, fast, moderate, and slow action, with its own characteristics and benefits for different applications. 

Many anglers simply pick up the fastest rod action in the belief that it is the best they can get. Slow, moderate, fast action rods and anything in between have their places in the fishing world. Here’s how to pick up the right one for a successful catch. Here’s the chart:

Fishing rod action chart with picture
Fishing rod action chart

Extra Fast Action Rods

This type of rod deflects the least when you apply the pressure, always at the tip of the rod. The degree of the bend flexes enough to give the blank the sensitivity and quick response to detect a strike and fight the fish. 

Most extra-fast rods have stiff blanks compared to slow-action rods. As a result, you can feel a more powerful vibration as the power is transferred more quickly for a powerful hook set and control over the fish.  Extra fast action rods are favored for single hook applications because of the sensitivity and the quick power to set the hook. The main techniques for extra-fast rods are worm and jig presentations for small and large-mouth bass. 

Fast Action Rod

Fast-actions rods come with a more pronounced deflection at the tip, usually in the upper ⅓ to ¼ section. They are highly versatile, which is why they’re preferred by many anglers for large game fishing and used for heavy cover water spots. 

These blanks offer more flex and sensitivity than their extra-fast counterparts while withstanding better pressure and giving more fish fight ability. Like extra-fast rods, fast-action blanks are suitable for single hooks, such as jigs or worm fishing. You can use this rod style for Pike, Musky, large-mouth bass, and panfish. 

Medium Action Rod

Also known as medium-action, moderate action rods bend in the upper half easily under the load. This degree of bending makes them well suited for both small and large fish. In addition, these rods work well to absorb and soothe the violent, sudden shock that a fish makes on the line when it hits a moving bait.  The main advantage of moderate-action blanks is that they provide more cast distance with enough hook setting power. They are recommended for multi-hook lures like topwater lures, and crankbaits. Anglers also use them for many reaction baits, such as spinnerbaits, jerk baits, and rattle baits. 

Slow Action Rod

Slow action rods are the most flexible of all categories, bending all the way into the handle. As a result, they are more forgiving and a better shock absorber for the lunges and runs of a fish. These rods are specially made to catch small fish, such as panfish, and help the angler fight better. 

Fishing Rod Power

Power is the resistance of a rod to deflection under a certain amount of load. Or simply put, it is the rod’s lifting power. Fishing rods are typically rated as heavy, medium-heavy, medium, light, ultra-light, etc.  Fishing rod power

Rod’s power and the strength of the line are intricately linked together. For example, light-power rods are suitable for light lines, whereas heavy-power rods are for heavy lines. 

Choosing the right fishing rod power depends on the body of water you fish. Clear, open fishing spots call for thin, light lines that are as invisible as possible, which means a light power fishing rod. However, we recommend using a strong, heavy rod to easily lift the fish off the water for heavily-covered areas with many weeds and grass. 

The type of fishing also determines the right rod fishing power. The smaller the target fish, the lighter the rod should be used.  Ultralight works best with small fish, such as crappie, whereas light rods can deal with larger fish like small trout or panfish, and medium-light ones are often used for saltwater and freshwater fish of medium size.

Up in the power scale, medium power rods are suitable for a wide range of fish and ideal for spinnerbaits. Greater power is specifically catered to a more serious fishing experience. 

For example, medium-heavy rods are a favorite among bass anglers, heavy rods can tackle up to 1-ounce lures, and ultra-heavy ones are suitable for the largest game fish you wish to catch.


The responsiveness of a fishing rod refers to its ability to flex under load and gives back the stored energy in the cast. Typically, the thinner and lighter your fishing rod, especially the tip, the higher its responsiveness.  This rod characteristic is closely related to the modulus and the stiffness, which we’ll discuss right below.

Simply put, the higher the modulus, the more rods can restore and release energy faster and more consistently. It translates to better performance, as you can cast more effectively and precisely. 



Most manufacturers sell their fishing rods based on modulus ratings. Modulus describes the stiffness of the graphite used to make the rods.

The higher this rating, the stiffer the material is by weight.  It means less material is used in fishing rods to achieve the same stiffness as lower-modulus rods. So you can get rods with the same stiffness but with less weight and thus thinner walls. 

In general, high-modulus rods bring you the advantages of superior durability, sensitivity, and performance. Sensitivity is crucial, in particular. So you need a rod that can transmit the feelings from underwater when the lures are moving. 

You don’t need a high-modulus piece all the time, however. The stiffest rod is not the best option in situations like cranking or light line techniques. 

The thing is, manufacturing graphite is a 2-phase process: tensile strength and stiffness. As a result, some rod builders simply skip the first step to create tensile strength to reach the high stiffness (modulus) at a lower price. However, these high-modulus blanks are brittle due to the lack of tensile strength.

See also: How much weight can a fishing rod hold?


Torque of fishing rod action

Torque is more about the relationship between the angler and the fishing rod rather than about the rod’s characteristics alone. Torque is how hard force you can apply from the handle, and that’s all the difference between snapping off or landing a fish. 

When you hold the fishing rod with one hand, the amount of torque you can apply on the handle is quite limited. The only thing you can do to control the amount of force is by adjusting the angle of the line to the rod. If you don’t want your tippet to break, it’s best to keep the line angle at 90 degrees. 

The force won’t increase noticeably when the angle moves away from 90 degrees. However, as there is a more dramatic change in the angle, the force applied on the line goes up significantly, leading the rod to snap.

The stiffness of the fishing rod also has a role to play here! At the same rod-to-line angle, you can apply more force since the rod can bend more easily, lowering the chance of snapping off your fish.  On the other hand, Stiffer rods let you less force to apply and thus higher the possibility of losing the fish.

In addition to more force, soft rods bend more to give you better cushioning from abrupt shock, so there is less of a chance you break the nylon.  While the tippet strength can hold you back from applying pressure, there are a few ways you can increase the torque as long as it’s within your tippet limitations. 

  • Use both hands to hold the rod
  • Move your hand further up the rod
  • Use a fighting butt to transform the leverage effect

See also: How does a fishing rod’s length affect casting distance?


Choosing the proper rod depends on many variables, and, understandably, serious anglers have multiple pieces at hand.

Once you understand the fishing rod action chart, power, responsiveness, modulus, and torque, it won’t be that challenging to pick up the right rod.  It also helps you better utilize the gear you already own.

The right rod not only takes the fishing experience to the next level but also prevents snapping and losing your fish. 

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