Action refers to the way a rod flexes under a load and the manner in which it returns to equilibrium when the load is removed.  Action is influenced by rod material, taper, and length.  The following are the three categories:

  • Fast Action: This style of rod will bend very little, in fact; only the tip section will actually bend at all. A rod of this type is ideal when targeting large gamefish, or when fishing extremely heavy cover or weeds, where the key is to get the fish's head up and away fast. A fast action rod will allow you to set the hook hard and powerfully. (Musky or pike fishing and largemouth bass are suited to this style of rod for most applications.)
  • Medium Action: A medium action rod is the most common choice for a variety of applications. These rods will bend for about half of their length, allowing an angler to fish both for small and large species with good control and hook setting allowances. These rods are the most versatile in the family, and will allow a fisherman to fish in a wide range of conditions and for a varied list of species.
  • Slow Action: A slow action rod will bend throughout nearly the whole length of the rod, providing the most flexible action available. These rods are used almost exclusively for panfish, allowing a better fight for the angler, and a shock absorber so that the hook is not ripped clear through the mouth on hooksets.