How To Understand A Fishing Rod’s Power

Identifying A Rod’s Power

To be a successful fisherman, it is vital that you understand what a fishing rod’s power is. Though many rods may look the same, they are actually quite different. Each rod has its own unique characteristics that apply to an application. One such characteristic is power. Understanding what power means is essential when choosing a fishing rod to buy.

Power is simply the amount of resistance the blank of a rod gives into flexing as you throw a bait. To identify what power a rod is, and other characteristics such as height, and action, look above the rod’s handle. Printed on the rod will be information about the rod’s specifications. Power can be identified in different ways, though typically it will be listed from ultra light (UL) to extra heavy (XH).  

Some rod companies, such as Temple Fork Outfitters, make it easy to identify a rod’s power by having their own simple coding system. TFO provides a scale from 1 to 7, with 1 being ultra light and 7 being extra heavy.


Identify What Power Rod You Need

After identifying a rod’s power and understanding the naming system, you must understand the application to figure out what power rod you need. As mentioned before, power is the amount of resistance a rod gives into flexing.  

A rod that is made with an ultralight or light power, such as the Temple Fork Outfitters Inshore 692, will flex with less weight. This rod is ideal for lighter lures such as a small 1/8 oz bonefish jig.  

The same concept is true for a heavier power rod like the TFO Inshore 795. A heavy lure, such as a large plug, is required to “load up”, or flex, a heavy rod. If you are throwing a light weight jig on a heavy power rod, the rod will not load up to launch that lure and you will find it difficult to cast at all.  

Likewise, if you throw a heavy lure on a light rod, it will feel clunky and slow. This is because the rod is over-flexing from the weight of the lure and lacks the “backbone” or power to get that heavy lure out there efficiently. Potentially doing so could also end up breaking your rod as the heavy lure overburdens the blank.

It is important when you rig your rods that you put the right bait with the right rod with the right application. Doing so means that you keep in mind what type of fish you are targeting. A heavy rod can handle the weight of a tarpon, or large snook bending the rod during a fight, just as it can handle throwing large lures. Whereas a light power rod would snap under the pressure, but allows you to feel more fight, and in turn have more fun, from catching smaller fish. 

Knowing what kind of cover you will be fishing in is equally important. If you are fishing heavy brush or around docks, a heavy rod is vital. A heavy rod’s backbone will help you pull fish out of that cover without straining or breaking the rod.  The same concept works the other way around; if you are throwing that 1/8 oz. jig for bonefish on sandy flats, a light rod would be the best application.

Now that you understand what a fishing rod’s power is and how to pick the right power rod for an application, you are certain to know which rod to buy and to find success on the water.