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Fishing Rods - What Type Do I Need?

By Trevor Kugler


Choosing the correct fishing rod for your favorite fishing situations can be a fairly difficult task.  There are all kinds of things written on the fishing rod itself, and all of them have a different "feel".   I'm going to attempt to clear up some of the confusion for you.  I've seen many anglers that have one fishing rod that they use for all of their fishing.  This is a mistake and a sure fire sign that said angler doesn't catch many fish.  I'm not suggesting that you should have a locker full of 50 different rods, but you should have two or three available for different situations.  The type of fishing rod that you need really has to do with the kind and size of fish that you're fishing for.  If you're fishing for Crappie, you need a different rod than when you fish for Steelhead.


Fishing rods come is the basic actions listed below.  This information is printed (in very small lettering) on the rod itself, directly above the handle, along with suggestions as to lure and line sizes.  The bottom line is that you must have different fishing rods for different fishing situations.  In most cases the same fishing rod should not be used in all fishing situations.


Ultra light Action - these rods are used for fishing very small lures.  Ultra light rods are perfect for small stream and river fishing, such as when you're wading.  The heavier the current, the longer rod you will want.  Ultra light rods are a great choice for trout and pan fish.


Light Action - Light action rods are used for the same situations as ultra light action rods.  If you're just starting out, start with a light action rod and work your way to ultra light.  Again, these rods are perfect for trout and pan fish fishing.


Medium Action - Medium action rods are right in the middle of the scale (imagine that).  Medium action rods are to be used when fishing larger rivers for larger fish.  I personally use medium action rods for my walleye and smallmouth bass fishing in Canada.  Medium action is also a good size for trolling smaller lures.


Medium Heavy Action - This size rod is great for trolling most lures.  Medium heavy rods are also great for most salmon and steelhead fishing.  As the name suggests, these rods are to be used in situations where you're after bigger fish (10 to 20 pounds as a general example), although it's also a favorite size for large mouth bass anglers.


Heavy Action - Obviously, these are your big boys.  Largemouth bass fishermen will use rods this size to fish heavy cover and the like.  Also, when you're fishing for big pike and catfish, heavy action rods are a must.  These rods are used for really big fish (over 20 pounds as a general example).  This action rod is also used for heavy trolling, such as that done with downriggers.


As mentioned earlier, the bottom line is that the same fishing rod shouldn't be used for all of your fishing.  That is of course supposing that you don't fish the same body of water for the same type of fish all the time.  If you do only fish one body of water for a single type of fish, then 1 fishing rod will probably work just fine for you.  An example would be myself.  I'm primarily fish for trout in the same river and prefer to use ultra light gear.  One rod doesn't cut it for me.  I have to have two, because I've found that when the water is high, I need a longer rod.  So I simply switch to my six foot six inch rod when the water is high (such as in the spring).  The point being that in my case although I primarily fish the same body of water for the same type of fish, I still need a choice of fishing rods.


Trevor Kugler


Co-founder of 


Trevor has more than 20 years of fishing experience and currently raises his 3-year old daughter in the heart of trout fishing country......Montana.  -  Great Deals On Waders! - Here's some great rod and reel choices - Sign Up For Our FREE Ezine and Get  $10!


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