Rod Power: Rod Building Tips with Larry Dahlberg

Check out Larry Dahlberg take on rod power, stiffness, and other important factors you need to understand to choose the proper power for your fishing application.

What Does Rod Power Mean?

When talking about the power of a fishing rod, manufacturers are pointing to how much pressure it will take to flex that given rod.

Sometimes the power isn’t enough to snap lures the right way or it’s too much and overpowers the lure, this is where choosing the proper rod power is paramount to building a better fishing rod for your fishing application.

Don’t forget to watch Larry Dahlberg cover this and more in the video at the bottom!

From ultra-light to extra-heavy, the range of rod powers available allows anglers to choose the power that will best handle specific line sizes and lure ratings to ultimately bring a better overall performance.

Picking Rod Powers by Fishing Application:

To identify the best rod power for your fishing application, you simply need to find the power that is best suited with the line size and lure weight you aim to use.

Ultra-Light Rod Power

Ultra-light rod blanks are classified by (UL), and these rods are great for more subtle presentations while using lighter lures and ultra-light lines. An ultra-light rod throws light lures well because of its ability to load as efficiently as it does quickly.

Ultra-light rods perform really well in panfish, crappie and smaller trout fishing applications.

Light Rod Power

Light rod powers can be identified by (L). These light rods bring in just a little more butt power, but maintain a softer feel for better hooksets with species that tend to have lighter bites.

Light powers are excellent rods for panfish, walleye, and trout fishing applications.

Medium-Light Rod Power

Medium-light rod powers denoted by (ML), are often seen as both freshwater and saltwater rods because these rods can quickly stiffen up for quicker hooksets, especially with soft plastics, jigs, etc.

Medium-light powers are popular in finesse presentations for bass in freshwater and in light inshore applications such as speckled trout, redfish, and flounder.

Medium Rod Power

Medium power rods, use (M) as a designation and work well in choice freshwater and saltwater applications alike. Whether throwing spinnerbaits on the lake or popping corks out in the ocean, these medium rods bring more stiffness for proper hooksets and fighting power in these applications.

Medium powers are commonly found in mid-range freshwater and saltwater fishing applications.

Medium-Heavy Rod Power

Medium-heavy rod powers, sorted as (MH), follow up the medium power and provide the best bridge between medium and heavy powers. A popular power in bass fishing, medium-heavy rods are stiff enough for open hooks and fishing jigs, yet will expertly load the tip for a great boost when throwing soft plastics or skipping docks.

Medium-heavy powers make for awesome bass rods, but will also work well in many freshwater and saltwater applications.

Heavy Rod Power

Heavy rod powers are labeled with (H), and provide a stiffer rod that works well when fishing heavy lures and deeper structures.

Heavy rods are commonly cast in heavy freshwater scenarios like throwing swimbaits for bass or muskie, as well as heavy inshore applications like snook and tarpon.

Extra-Heavy Rod Power

Extra-heavy rods are assorted by (XH) and bring the stiffest rod power. These rods are capable of loading extremely fast hook sets with more efficiency than lighter models.

Extra Heavy rods use larger lures for a performance generally geared towards flippin’ or pitchin’ for bass in freshwater and also in really heavy offshore applications.

How Fishing Application Determines Rod Power

Since rod power has been explained as the amount of pressure or force necessary to bend the rod, let’s take a look at how this is different across fishing applications.

For example, a rod may be heavy for one fishing application, but not even close to working as a heavy rod in another application. Take a heavy bass rod compared to a heavy offshore rig, there is a huge difference there.

Keep in mind that the power you choose should reflect the ratings for your specific fishing application in order to secure the best performance from the rod.

Demands for Rod Power and Line Size by Water

It is also important to consider what water you are fishing and how you are going to fish it. This is important because you want to match the rod power to the line and line is often determined by the water itself.

For instance, if you are fishing in cleaner, clearer water, it will likely require a lighter line that is harder for fish to see and avoid. Likewise, this means the lighter line will call for a lighter rod power to work it effectively.

But, if you need the rod to cast lures into dense cover and pull the lure and line from the vegetation with a fish attached, then a heavy rod will work better with the heavier braid to perform in this type of cover.

Watch Larry Dahlberg Talk Rod Power

Top Takeaways from Rod Talks with Larry Dahlberg

  • Generally, the flatter the taper, the more acceleration it can achieve and the flatter the trajectory will be on the cast.
  • A rod with the highest stiffness to weight ratio, without sacrificing strength, will be the most sensitive.
  • For setting the hook, you must consider linear distance—for example, a faster tip will load more quickly and thus, need less linear distance to properly set the hook.
  • A slower rod must be moved a greater linear distance to achieve a similar hookset.

Building with the Proper Rod Power

Boosting performance is easy when you know what your fishing application will require from the rod blank. With a better understanding of rod power, you can now find a blank that not only fits your fishing preferences, but also fits your demands for performance.