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Rod Terminology


How confusing is rod terminology to the beginning fisherman? How would you know what rod was suited for the type of fishing you want to pursue? It is not easy until you understand the terminology.

Rods can be classified by three parameters:

  1. Rod Length
  2. Rod Power
  3. Rod Action

Rod Length

This is probably the most self explanatory of the three items, being the actual length of the rod. But wait! This can even be complicated by the two means manufacturers use for this parameter.  One manufacturer may use feet and inches where another may choose to employ inches only.

This would be a Duckett rod who identify the length in feet and inches. Therefore, this rod is 7' 0"

Conversely, this is a J2 Denali rod, who identify the length in inches. This rod is 84" or 7'0" long.

Rod Power

Rod power indicates the stoutness or stiffness of a rod. Or the ability of the rod to resist bending. The heavier the power, is an indication of how resistant (or stiff) the rod is. The following are the typical power ratings for fishing rods:

  • ultra-light               UL
  • light                          L
  • medium-light         ML
  • medium                   M
  • medium-heavy      MH
  • heavy                       H 
  • extra-heavy            XH

Other manufacturers may use some sort of 1-5 power rating in their codes; and can be coupled with:

  • 1 indicates Ultra-Light
  • 2 indicates Light or Medium Light
  • 3 indicates Medium or Medium Heavy
  • 4 indicates Medium Heavy or Heavy
  • 5 indicates Heavy or Extra Heavy

The power rating usually also dictates the lure weight that should be used with the rod. Typically, the power rating is always a number code (1-5), an acronym (MH) or spelled out (Medium Heavy) or a combination of the three.


This would be a Duckett rod who identify the power using acronyms. ML identifies this rod as a Medium Light power. 


Conversely, this is a J2 Denali rod, who identify the power by using numbers. This rod is a "3" power or a Medium Heavy powered rod.

Rod Action

Rod action is by far, the most confusing rod characteristic, and more often than not is left out of the rod model number. If present, they are usually a part of the rod description. .Action is normally defined with the following terms:

  • Parabolic/Slow
  • Moderate
  • Moderate-Fast
  • Fast
  • Extra-Fast

Action describes the type of bend in the rod. Parabolic or Slow indicates the rod will bend all of the way into the handle. See the image below for an example of a parabolic/Slow action rod.


These terms also refer to the taper of the rod. Taper describes how quickly the rod diameter increases from tip to butt. The speed of the taper relates to how far down from the tip of the rod that the rod bends. The faster the action the quicker the angler gets to the power for setting the hook.

Rod manufacturers have also begun to design rods for specific techniques for various reasons. They have tried to imply the action by suggesting the matching technique.  It helps to take the quess work out of matching action and power because it has been done for you. Examples of technique specific rods are:

  • Crankbait
  • Flippin
  • Spinnerbait
  • Topwater
  • Worm/Jig
  • Jerkbait
  • Frog Rods

Typically a faster action rod is more sensitive simply due to the fact less energy (transferred through the line) is being converted into movement. All in all, after using several different "action" rods the angler will settle on a preferred set up that fits his style.



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Telephone: (423) 290-5472

DJ's Marine Electronics
1473 Pine Grove Road
Ringgold, GA 30736