Rod actions defined




Describes how much of the rod bends when you put pressure on the tip. A fast action rod will bend in only the top third or less of the blank, a medium or moderate action will bend in the top half or so and a slow action will bend starting in the lower third of the rod. Sometimes slow action rods are termed ‘parabolic’, meaning the bend of the rod is similar throughout the length. Most bass rod actions are fast to extra fast because this action generally provides better sensitivity and faster power for hooksetting, which means you don’t have to move the rod as far on the hookset to get into the stiffer part of the blank. Extra fast and fast action rods are great for most applications where a single hook is used, such as worm and jig fishing. Medium and medium-fast rods will usually provide a little more casting distance and still provide adequate hooksetting power, but these actions are best used for applications that involve treble hooks, such as crankbaits and topwater lures. The ‘bite’ of a treble hook is not as deep as a big single worm hook and it is easier to tear the hook out of a strong fish, plus the slower action will not pull the lure out of the fish’s mouth before it fully engulfs it. The type of lure you choose should determine the action of the rod you use.





Describes the strength of the rod or its lifting power. When someone says this rod has a lot of backbone, they mean it has a lot of power. Power ratings are usually described as heavy, medium heavy, medium, medium light, light. Power is closely related to the line strength; 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.



Graphite: This is the most common material used in building bass rods today and was first introduced in the 70’s. These days graphite is produced using extremely high temperatures in a two-part process, one to create tensile strength and one for stiffness. High tensile strength is sometimes called high strain, and the stiffness is known as tensile modulus or just modulus. To reach these extreme temperatures costs a lot of money and the best graphite is very expensive.


IM6, IM7, etc: These are trade names for particular graphite produced by the Hexcel Corporation. These numbers are not industry standards or an indication of quality, especially since other companies use the designations to refer to graphite not made by Hexcel. At best, they allow you to compare the quality of the material used to build different rods by the same manufacturer. You can be confident that the IM7 rod would use better graphite than the IM6 rod if both are made by the same manufacturer. It’s more difficult to say the same about rods from two different companies, since they could be made from material from completely different manufacturers.


Modulus: As stated above, modulus refers to the stiffness of the graphite, not the amount of material used or the number of graphite fibers incorporated into the sheets. Buying a rod based solely on the modulus rating is a mistake because other factors must be considered. For instance, you don’t want the stiffest rod for light line techniques or cranking. In addition, other qualities must be incorporated in the graphite itself and the rod must be designed correctly to ensure the best performance and durability of the rod. The other components that go into a quality rod can also add significantly to the cost.


Fiberglass: This material has been used to produce rods since the 50’s and has come a long way since then. Glass is noted for soft actions and toughness, and is used to build some great rods. Many anglers prefer glass rods for throwing crankbaits or other applications where a medium to slow action is required.


Composite: Some rods are built with a combination of graphite and glass, enabling rod designers to produce some great combination actions.





Buying the right reel starts with three basic considerations: your experience, your preferred way of fishing and the type of fish you are fishing for. You have a choice of several styles of reels you can use, Baitcasting, Spinning, or Spincasting.


Baitcasting reels:

Baitcasting reels work with the weight of the bait; the heavier the lure, the longer the cast. with practice, this style of reel also will allow you to cast more accurately. These are best when using heavier lures and lines designed for bigger fish. Most baitcasting reels now incorporate a drag system designed to adjust the resistance–or drag–on the spool to control how much resistance is needed to pull the right amount of line off the spool, without breaking the line. Thre basic types of drags Centrifugal force drag, friction drags, and magnetic drags.


Spinning reels:

Spinning reels are open-faced and the weight of your lure or bait propels the line forward. Spinning reels used in bass fishing are used primarily for smaller baits. Spinning reels use an anti-reverse, a simple mechanism you set by letting go of the bail wire after casting. This keeps your line from spooling off once you get a strike from a fish. It prevents the reel handle from turning in reverse when you hook a fish but is a great and smoothest drag system when disengaged and a large fish takes a run next to the boat on light line.


Ball bearings:

Ball bearings are used to help reels work more smoothly by supporting the moving parts. As more ball bearings are added to a reel, the quality, performance, smoothness of operation is added, and the cost goes up. Generally speaking, the more ball bearings, the more expensive and the smoother the reel works especially under pressure.


Gear ratio:

Gear ratios tell you how quickly a reel will retrieve line per revolution of your reel’s crank. As a guide, lower ratios provide more power and higher ratios more speed.


Common uses for a low gear ratio reel | 5.1:1 thru 5.4:1
1. Deep diving crankbaits
2. Swimbaits
3. Cold water applications

  1. Slow presentation required

A lower gear ratio reel is ideal for big baits that pull a lot, such as deep diving crankbaits. These reels have the highest amount of torque, allowing you to put less effort into retrieving the bait and more energy towards finding the fish. These reels are also great for slow rolling big, heavy baits such as spinnerbaits and swimbaits. In cold water when bass are especially wary, a slow gear ratio is perfect for these slower, non-threatening presentations. A slow reel also aids in keeping these baits in the strike zone longer, which can prove invaluable when fishing moving baits in deep water.

Uses for a medium gear ratio reel | 6.1:1 thru 6.4:1
1.  Squarebill crankbaits
2.  Shallow- Medium depth crankbaits
3.  Shallow spinnerbaits

  1. Umbrella rigs

These reels are great all around gear ratios for multiple techniques and presentations, making them very popular among bass anglers. Whether you’re plowing through nasty cover with a squarebill during the prespawn or bombing spinnerbaits on shallow flats in the fall, a medium gear ratio reel will do the job.

Uses for a high gear ratio reel | 7.1:1 thru 9.1:1
1.  Jigs and big worms
2.  Shaky heads
3.  Texas rigs
4.   Carolina rigs
5.  Topwaters
6.  Jerkbaits
7.  Lipless crankbaits

  1. Frogs and punching Grass
  2. When making extremely long casts

If you’re fishing any lure that you primarily work with your rod, a high gear ratio reel is the way to go. You’re often pulling the bait with your rod tip, but you need to have the ability to quickly take up your slack when you get a bite. A fast reel also helps when fighting a big bass—you need all the speed you can get in order to quickly pull it away from any line-fraying hazards. Topwaters, jerkbaits, jigs, plastics and even lipless crankbaits warrant the use of a high speed reel. These techniques create a lot of slack in your line, and if you get bit 30 yards away from the boat, a high gear ratio comes in handy for getting a solid hookset. I prefer a 7.1:1 and above reel whenever I’m using anything that triggers a reaction strike in water above 55 degrees. The extra speed lets me fish the bait quickly, forcing the most aggressive fish to react.


Fishing Line:

The four major categories of line available are monofilament, co-polymer, braid and fluorocarbon. All four have advantages and disadvantages. With these different qualities comes a variety of prices from inexpensive to very expensive.


Monofilament lines have been available for several decades. It was one of the first lines made of nylon.  As the name implies, it is a single strand of nylon material extruded into a thin line for fishing applications. Monofilament line is buoyant making it a good choice for topwater applications. The line will float on the water and reduce the downward pull on the lure. This reduction allows topwater lures to ride higher on the surface. Monofilament line has more stretch than most fishing lines available today. Once monofilament line gets wet, it begins absorbing water, further adding to its stretch.


Co-polymer lines are made of two or more strands of nylon monomers combined during the manufacturing process. By adding more than one material, line manufacturers enhance the benefits a line offers to anglers. Co-polymer lines are more abrasion resistant and stretch less than monofilament. They are also less buoyant and generally are smaller in diameter. Co-polymer line is still effective for use with topwater lures but being less buoyant allows crankbaits anglers to reach depths not available to anglers using monofilament line.

One of the greatest benefits of co-polymer line over monofilament is the added abrasion resistance.


Braided lines offer great line strength in a small diameter. Many manufactures have braided lines that are the diameter of 10-pound test monofilament but offer strength equal to 50-pound test or greater.  Braided lines are ideal for fishing lures in heavy cover because of their added strength and abrasion resistance. Braided lines can cut through vegetation instead of it wrapping around the line as it often does on monofilament and co-polymer.  Braided line if very abrasion resistant, almost zero stretch and has little memory. All great characteristics for a line used for flipping and pitching into heavy cover. Due to the abrasion resistance of braided line, many anglers use braid for main line when Carolina Rigging soft plastic lures. Braided line is harder on equipment. Many line guides will wear more rapidly when using braided line.  However, modern line guides are manufactured with braided line in mind and hold up well to its added wear.


Fluorocarbon line began it rises in popularity in the early 21st century. One of the best selling points of fluorocarbon line was its “near invisible” characteristic. In addition, fluorocarbon line exhibits increased abrasion resistance. Fluorocarbon line offers benefits for crankbait anglers. The line sinks allowing crankbaits to reach maximum depths and the line diameter of fluorocarbon is smaller than both monofilament and co-polymer lines. When presenting lures in deep water the lack of stretch and added sensitivity fluorocarbon line offers is unmatched.


When choosing a line it is best to do so with lure offering in mind. Lighter – smaller diameter – lines will allow better lure action while heavier – larger diameter – lines reduce lure action. Limp line will also allow for better lure action. Monofilament floats and is good for topwater application while fluorocarbon line sinks making it ideal for crankbaits and deep-water presentations.

Regardless of the line anglers choose, each is a compromise if used for every situation. If I were going to use just one type of line for every situation, my choice would be a co-polymer line. However, I have different rod/reels equipped with braid, monofilament, and fluorocarbon to be prepared for each lure presentation I might encounter but I use fluorocarbon 80% of the time


Note: When line is stored on a reel or on the manufacturers spool, ultraviolet light (sunlight) and heat breakdown most types of fishing line. It is best to store fishing line in a dark area at a stable room temperature.


My preferred setups:

Squarebill crankbaits – 7-8ft glass, slow action, Med/Hvy 12-20lb fluoro, 7.1: 1 – 9.0:1 baitcaster

Medium crankbaits – 8ft glass, slow action, Med/Hvy 10-15lb fluoro, 7.1: 1 – 9.0:1 baitcaster

Deep crankbaits – 7.5ft graphite, mod action Med/Hvy, 10-15lb fluoro, 5.1: 1-6.4:1 baitcaster
Jerkbaits – 6.5ft graphite mod action medium, 8lb mono 10lb fluoro, 7.1:1 baitcaster
Lipless crankbaits – 7.5ft graphite mod action Med/Hvy, 30-65lb braid, 7.1:1 baitcaster
Swimbaits – 7ft – 8ft graphite mod action Med/Hvy – Hvy, 10-17lb fluoro, 5.1: 1 – 6.4:1 baitcaster
Spinnerbaits – 7ft – 7.5ft graphite fast-mod action Med/Hvy, 10-17lb fluoro,5.1:1–6.4:1baitcaster

Umbrella rigs – 7.3ft graphite fast action, Med/Hvy, 65lb braid, 25lb flouro, 6.4:1 baitcaster

Jigs and Texas rigs -7.5ft graphite fast action Med/Hvy, 15-25lb flouro, 7.1:1 baitcaster

Carolina rigs-7.5ft graphite fast action Med/Hvy, 65lb braid w flouro leader, 7.1:1 baitcaster

Frogs – 7.3ft graphite fast action, Med/Hvy, 65lb braid, 7.1:1 baitcaster

Punching Grass – 8ft graphite very fast action, Hvy, 65lb braid 7.1:1 baitcaster

Buzzbait – 7.5ft graphite fast action Med/Hvy, 30lb braid, 7.1:1 baitcaster

Popper- 7.5ft graphite mod action medium, 10-12lb mono, 6.4:1 baitcaster
Spook – 7.5ft graphite mod action medium, 10-17lb mono, 6.4:1 baitcaster

Grubs/3inch Swimbaits – 7.5ft graphite, mod action med/hvy, 10 braid or 5-8lb flour, spinning

Drop shot – 8ft graphite, mod action med/hvy, 10lb braid or 5-8lb flour, spinning

Shaky heads – 7.5ft graphite, mod action med/hvy, 10lb braid or 5-8lb flour leader, spinning
weightless senko – 7.5ft graphite, mod action med/hvy, 10lb braid with 5-8lb flour ldr, spinning


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