Fishing Rod Power is the amount of energy it can accumulate and give back.
|Also known as "Power Value" or "Rod Weight" usually shows you what types of fishing, species of fish, or size of fish a particular fishing pole may be best used for. Power simply describes the overall stiffness of a blank, and the blanks ability to React. The reason for power rating is because there are big and small fishey's.|
The following list details the types of rod power, and the corresponding line and lure weight they would be best matched up with.
1 to 4lb Test
4 to 8lb Test
4 to 12lb Test
8 to 14lb Test
15 - 25lb Test
25lb Test and Above
1/64 - 1/16oz
1/32 - 1/8oz
1/8 - 3/8oz
3/16 - 1/2 oz
up to 1 1/2 oz
1 1/2 oz and Above
The lure weights and line sizes that a rod can handle determine its power. Ultra-light rods are designed for 2-6 pound line and lures weighing from 1/32-ounce. Rod blank power is simply a rating. Based upon the design characteristics of a particular blank model.
Power catagories are as follows:
Rod power is the rod's strength or ability to lift weight from the tip; it is the amount of force needed to bend the rod. The thickness and type of rod material will determine this. Power ratings are mostly reflective of the rod's application, a heavy power rod would be suited for offshore trolling and a medium power rod might be designed for surf casting. Power describes the strength of the rod or its lifting power. Power is closely related to the line strength Power (to recommended line weight); heavier power rods will handle heavy line weights and lighter powers will be good for light lines. It is fairly important to keep your line test within the limits printed on the rod since a heavy power rod will snap light lines too easily and heavy lines can snap a light rod. Power ratings vary by the type of rod described; a heavy bass rod and a heavy offshore rod will definitely not feel the same. One might be rated for 25lb line and the other for 80lb line.
The type of water you're fishing will help determine the power of the rod you should select. Thick, heavy cover will require a strong rod to get the fish out before it can tie you up. Clear, open water will often require thin, hard seeing lines in order to get bit, meaning you will need a lighter power rod. Power refers to the blank's resistance to flexing under load. The Newton's third law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Resistance to flexing is a natural design characteristic based upon the taper and wall thickness of the blank. The power for blanks may range from Ultra-Light to Heavy to even Extra Heavy. The power of a rod is simply a rating, which describes the overall stiffness of the blank.
Action and Power are not the same and cannot be used interchangeably as some think. A lot of rod manufactures and anglers get this confused with action. Most rods when marked light-action is referring to power not action. The best way to tell the power of a rod is to check the line weight ratings.
Action refers to rod flex and Power refers the rod's resistance to flexing. Using the design criteria and inherent characteristics of a blank will aid in specific techniques and presentations. Using blank characteristics to your advantage will provide you the benefit of making the most out of every opportunity to land fish. The discussion around technique application will center on Action as opposed to Power. Both traits are designed into the blank by the manufacturer, but action will be the most critical characteristic when discussing and evaluating techniques and presentations.
For bluegill, crappie and small trout, a light power, fast action spinning rod is a good choice. A quality ultra-light rod also works for these fish, but many ultra-lights are too short and too wimpy. A 4½-foot ultra-light rod with the backbone of a boiled noodle isn't worth the packaging it came in for any species.
For larger black bass, walleye and channel catfish, a medium power, moderate fast or fast action baitcasting rod works well. Baitcasting reels have an enclosed spool and mount on top of the rod. They are the best choice for lines of 10 pound test or higher. They require much greater practice than spinning gear to use effectively.
Choose the moderate fast action if you plan to fish leeches or minnows for walleye, or chicken livers for channel cats. The slightly softer action usually helps prevent you from throwing off the bait while casting. If you plan to jig and worm fish for largemouth bass and occasionally fish for the other species, choose a fast action, medium power rod. Get a medium heavy or heavy power baitcasting rod with a fast action for striped bass, muskellunge, flathead catfish and blue catfish. This set-up is also good for flipping or pitching jigs for largemouth bass. Choose a moderate or slow action rod with a medium-heavy or heavy power rating if you plan to use live bait. Again, the softer action protects against throwing the bait off the hook on the cast. These rods possess enough strength to land these fish, but they can also handle the heavy lures and strong line needed.
Many people looking to buy a fishing rod simply show up at the local big box store and pull the first rod that catches their eye off the rack. Others search the Internet for reviews on popular upscale brands. Still others ask a friend, or in my case, write to me asking which rod to buy. Here are some basic rod facts that you need to know before you head out or go online to purchase one.
What Kind of Fishing are you Planning?
Inshore FishingInshore fishing means relatively shallow water and relatively small fish – under 20 pounds for the most part. So, you need a rod that can handle a good size fish, but not one that weighs so much you can’t even fish with it.
- Casting – Casting rods are used with conventional reels and can be used with lures or bait for light bottom fishing. They also accommodate floats and are good for free-lining live bait.
- Spinning – Spinning rods can usually do the same things that a casting rods does, they simply use a different reel – a spinning reel. Spinning equipment can cast a lighter lure and is not subject to the backlash problems that an inexperienced angler encounters with a casting reel. This is a good choice for a beginning angler.
- Bottom Fishing – Either casting or spinning rods can be used for inshore bottom fishing. The water depth, current, and amount of weight required to get a bait to the bottom helps dictate which size rod to use.
- Fly Fishing – If you are reading this and you are a beginning fisherman, fly fishing may be the last thing on your mind. But, inshore saltwater fly fishing is extremely popular. If you do plan a first time purchase of a saltwater fly outfit, go with a prepackaged complete outfit in a 6 to 8 weight range. This is a good midrange starting point – heavier weights are for larger fish (Tarpon, big stripers, etc.), lighter weights are usually found in freshwater applications.
- Trolling – The majority of trolling rods are built for conventional reels. While heavy spinning gear is sometimes used trolling for dolphin and king mackerel, conventional tackle is by far the most popular. These rods are usually labeled by line class. The IGFA 30, 50, and 80 class reels match up with the appropriate rod. These rods are usually an investment – they can cost that much. It is not unusual to pay over $1000 for a complete outfit. However, there are some good rods that can be combined with good reels that can come in under $200 for the package.
- Bottom Fishing – These are the “meat” rods that many anglers have used to catch loads of fish. They are heavier and stiffer than a trolling rod, generally longer than a trolling rod, and are able to stand up to the abuses that a big fish can give them.
- Fly Fishing – Fly rods that are used offshore are built for punishment. These are the heavier outfits that have large arbor reels (reels that hold lots of line) and come in weights from 9 to 12. These are very specialized rods for a very specialized type of fishing.
Surf FishingSurf rods are another specialized category. They are made for both spinning and casting reels – the choice is more dependent on angler preference than anything else. These rods are from 9 to 12 or 14 feet in length. They are designed to allow for super long casts that can get a bait out beyond the breakers on the beach. The rod size is also determined by angler preference, and usually means longer, heavier rods when looking for bigger fish.
Pier FishingAlmost any inshore rod, including surf rods, can be and are used from piers. Once again, angler preference, casting distance, and fish size will dictate the rod type and size.
Rod AttributesAll rods have a set of attributes that separate them from each other. They may not be limited to this list, but these are the most important ones you need when choosing a rod.
- Longer rods usually – not always – mean longer casts.
- Longer trolling rods will give to a fish when they strike, and are suited for lighter trolling line.
- Shorter rods generally mean heavier line.
- Long rods make lure casting easier.
- Shorter rods are generally better for bottom fishing.
- Ceramic guides are more expensive but allow smoother operation, less line fray, and longer casts.
- Roller guides are used on heavy trolling and bottom fishing rigs.
- Case hardened stainless steel guides are used for wire line applications.
- Standard metal guides are least expensive and are suited for most bottom fishing applications.
- Butt Length - The butt of the rod is the part between the reel and the back end of the rod. Casting rods will generally have shorter butts. Spinning rods will have slightly longer butts, and bottom fishing or trolling rods will have much longer butts. The length of the butt on a rod is dependent on how the anger plans to use the rod. Angler preference for comfort and ease of use is also in play here.
- Action (Taper) - Taper is an attribute that most
beginning anglers and many experienced anglers overlook. Taper relates
to the amount of bend the rod imparts from the tip to the butt. It is
measured from slow to extra-fast. In general, the slower the taper, the
cheaper the rod blank.
- Slow - A slow taper means the whole rod, from butt to tip will bend in an arc under pressure – sort of like a big bow. This makes casting a heavy bait difficult and setting a hook even more difficult.
- Medium - Moving up the scale, a medium taper tends to have the butt section not bend as easily as the top portion of the rod. Most “store bought” rods will be a medium taper. It fits the majority of fishing situations.
- Fast – A fast taper rod will bend mainly in the upper portion of the rod. It has a lot of strength (backbone) in the lower portion and is more flexible in the upper section of the rod blank.
- Extra-Fast Taper This taper has the upper 12 to 18 inches of the rod bending with an extremely strong butt section. These rods are generally more expensive, and offer precise casting ability on light artificial lures. They have the flexible rod tip to work a small lure but still have the strength to horse a bigger fish if necessary.