Sales Tip: Fishing Rod Power vs. Action

Anglers who walk into your store often misuse the terms “power” and “action.” Make sure you and your sales team are on the same page so you don’t add to their confusion.

Sales Tip: Fishing Rod Power vs. Action

It’s important for you and your sales staff to speak the same language when it comes to fishing rod power and action. If you don’t, then customers will be confused, especially if they don’t have a firm grasp on the differences when they enter your store.

Important point: There is no standard within the fishing industry for rod power and action. In other words, one company’s heavy-power baitcasting rod might be another company’s medium-heavy. Of course, this only adds to consumer confusion when trying to purchase the right fishing rod for the job.

Fishing Rod Power

Sometimes called “strength,” fishing rod power is a way of gauging how much weight a rod can lift. A heavy-power rod can lift a lot of weight — say a bowling ball — off the floor, while a light-power rod wouldn’t have a prayer of lifting it. Companies make fishing rods in a wide variety of powers: ultralight, light, medium-light, medium, medium-heavy, heavy, etc.

Anglers need to consider rod power when it comes to casting lures effectively as well as fighting fish, especially if you need to haul fish from thick cover.

Fishing Rod Action

Companies use terms such as slow, medium (or moderate), moderate-fast, fast and extra-fast when defining a fishing rod’s action. An extra-fast rod bends only near the tip; a slow-action rod bends from tip to handle.

From my experience selling fishing rods to customers, the confusion between action and power isn’t a problem when the terms “extra-fast,” “fast” or “slow” are spoken, but it’s the word “medium” that gets everyone’s head spinning because it’s used for both power and action. To avoid this confusion, many fishing rod companies use the word “moderate” instead of “medium” when describing action.

Action refers to where a fishing rod bends. Illustration courtesy of St. Croix Rods.
Action refers to where a fishing rod bends. Illustration courtesy of St. Croix Rods.

In general, anglers who need to detect subtle strikes while jigging will want a fast-action rod. And once a strike is detected, a quick snap of the rod causes the rod to load quickly (remember, only the tip will flex), which provides a strong hookset.

Before the busy spring buying season, talk to your sales staff to ensure you’re using the terms “power” and “action” correctly when dealing with customers.

Most spincast rods are medium power and have a slow action. As demonstrated here by the author’s son many years ago, the rod’s slow action, meaning it bends from tip to handle, makes it easier for beginning anglers to keep the line tight while fighting fish.
Most spincast rods are medium power and have a slow action. As demonstrated here by the author’s son many years ago, the rod’s slow action, meaning it bends from tip to handle, makes it easier for beginning anglers to keep the line tight while fighting fish.


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