Saturday, 7 April 2012

Rod Ratings!

I have just read a piece on Henry Gilbey's Blog with reference to comparing lure rods, well below for what it is worth is my view on rod actions, power ratings, casting weights & line classes.

ROD ACTIONS. This can be determined by the taper that the manufacturer builds into the blank by the type of material used or wall thickness of said blank.
This is the rate that a rod/blank is classed by in it's return to 'straight' after being compressed from casting etc.
One of the easiest ways to think of classing the rods action is to divide it into quarters, this will be explained & become clear below, I hope!
1 - XF / XFAST. This is where only the uppermost part of the tip will have any action/flex unless under extreme pressure. This rod if used for other than its built purpose can feel like a 'broomstick' if used for another type of fishing. Good for Surface work on hard lures, but can cost casting distance by not compressing through the main/whole of blank.
2 - F / FAST. The rod will flex in the upper quarter of the tip section. More casting distance available and this action is preferred by a lot of anglers for most of there lure fishing work. Works well with surface lures, minnows etc. Can add some casting distance.
3 - MODERATE. The rod will flex in the top half/section. These types of rods can give extra casting distance, work well with live baits and can work better for some on lighter/smaller lures.
4 - SLOW. This rod will flex from butt to tip. This type of rod can absorb lunges from running fish, but harder to set hooks at distance due to the rod absorbing any movement from the angler. This means any movement you make with the rod will take longer to pass to the terminal tackle end. Not all bad though! Close in work, this rod can be forgiving and save those line breakages if you have your clutch set tight.

Between the above ratings you can have fast to xfast, moderate to fast & slow to moderate. Just place these between the above ratings.

"The 'action' of a rod is determined by where a rod flexes along the blank. Faster action rods flex mostly near the tip. Moderate action rods flex more near the middle of the blank. Slower action rods flex down into the butt section." St Croix. 

Now just to clear things up a little more......

You can have a fast action rod that will flex or bend through from the tip to middle! This can be produced by the materials used by different manufacturers. On average most anglers may think of the rod action as how quickly it returns to straight from being compressed from the cast.
Personally, I like a fast action that will bend, and I can enjoy playing a fighting fish. The two main blank manufacturers I use for this type of rod are the St Croix (USA), link below:
- St Croix Description
- St Croix Blanks
T-Russell, (Japan), both companies have the fast action that will flex through to the middle. 
Every company is different!

POWER RATINGS. Quite often a heavy power rated rod will be matched with a heavier line class. You wouldn't want to use a heavy line on a light power rated rod, something will give & undoubtedly it will be the rod to break! This can also apply if you use heavier lures/weights than what is rated on the rod!  
"The 'power' of a rod refers to how much pressure it takes to flex the rod. Different rod powers are engineered to efficiently handle a certain range of lure weights and line sizes. To select a rod power that will perform best for you, simply narrow your choices to rods designed to cast the weight of lures - and sizes of lines - you'll fish with most often." - St Croix 

CASTING WEIGHTS. This is for the performance of the rod in terms of the maximum/minimum casting weights to use. If a rod is designed to cast lures between 8-28grams then don't cast over 28g! This is the point where the rod has been tested to give you the best performance without failure! Down to 8g being the starting weight, this doesn't mean it won't cast weights below, but the rod may not compress as well to cast lighter lures. Below 8g, you will be better off having another rod which will have lighter casting weights, lighter power rating & lighter line class, hopefully then, no failure and you get the best from your tackle and fishing. The same can be said for going to the heavier classes if you want to cast heavier weights. Just remember, at some point something has to give, if rated to a maximum weight don't use heavier than rated. 

(For the purposes of having a weight rating to write about I have used 8-28g as my example). 

LINE CLASS. This is the recommended line weight/breaking strain to use with a particular rod/blank. Examples to this would be 12-25lb, meaning the lower recommended breaking strain is 12lbs & the higher rating being 25lbs. In terms of the mentioned class, if you used over the rating something may fail, More than likely it will be your rod!
The line class will be paired to the power rating and the best performance will be to use the ones the rod has been designed for. If you used below 12lbs, the line may fail and break, most probably due to the power rating being higher than the lighter line. 

IMPORTANT - Please just remember, a certain rod will have been designed to do a certain job. If a rating is marked on the rod then use it for those mentioned, it has been designed for that!
Casting heavier lures or weights above that of the rating or using heavier lines than recommended may cause failure to the equipment.
To get the best performance from your tackle, use it within its designed performance criteria, this will give you the best possible enjoyment from your angling.  


  1. clear as mud,,
    serious great blog mate the rod thing has gone beyond me like a golfer with his clubs thats why i feel using rod builders to build specific lure rods is one of the ways forward for our bass fishing,
    things can get confused with the hard sell of the best £400 lure rods,,


  2. Great article Rich - sure this will be referred to a lot by yours truly!



About Me

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My name is Richard and I have been fishing for over thiry years. Some might say I was born with a fishing rod in my hand. I have fished my way through chalk stream trout to beach fishing for cod, and of course living so close to Weymouth, one of the largest charter boat fleets in England I have to fish a few charter boat trips a year. I have had the pleasure of bass fishing in France to fishing the Atlantic surf of Co. Clare, Eire. My fascination continues with the sea and the casting of plastic trying to fool the fish to attack my plastic lures.