Ideal Freshwater Spinning Rod Weight And Action – How To Choose The Best Option

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Freshwater spin fishing requires all sorts of different gear depending on what fish you’re targeting and where you’re targeting them. Fishing companies haven’t made it easy for anglers to make decisions on what gear is necessary and what type of gear should be used. 

Whether you’re targeting bass, trout or muskie, you’re going to want to use different gear that fits your style.

Take your time and make sure you’re making the right decision! We rarely buy or change rods every year, they are not cheap! So in order to purchase the proper gear do some solid research. 

In this article, Let’s learn more on:

  • What is Rod Action?
  • What is Rod Size?
  • What is Rod Power?
  • What Rod is Right for me?
    • Panfish and Trout Rod
    • Bass Rod
    • Musky and Pike Rod

Choosing The Right Spinning Rod Action 

Rod Action explanation

The next step in purchasing your spinning rod is deciding on what action works best for you. With fly rods, you really only have four options! Some spinning rod companies provide their customers with more, but in fly rods, you don’t have as much variety. 

Slow Action Rod

A slow action rod is definitely the rarest action that anglers use. It’s a more traditional action than many of the original fly rods normally have. If you spend the majority of your time on small mountain streams chasing wild trout, a slow action rod isn’t a bad idea. You’ll find that these rods are extremely flexible and will slow everything down for you. 

If you’re a beginner, the slower the action, the easier it’s going to be for you to learn. However, the obvious downside with a slow action rod is that you’re limited in how far you’re able to cast. Also, any sort of inclement weather will make using a slow action rod a challenge. If it’s windy at all, you’ll find yourself fairly frustrated. 

You can throw dries and nymphs, but streamers won’t be easy. You’ll have to put quite a bit of effort into casting them. 

Moderate Action Rod

A moderate action rod is extremely versatile! It has more backbone than a slow action rod but is not as unforgiving as a moderate fast or fast action rod. This rod is only going to bend for half of its length. You can fish a variety of types of flies and water conditions with a moderate action rod. A moderate action rod is ideal for a beginner! 

Moderate-Fast Action Rod 

Moderate-fast action rods are a step up from moderate action in a variety of ways. Moderate action rods can be more versatile, but moderate-fast action rods combine versatility with performance. You’ll find that it still has a nice amount of flex, but is able to perform well depending on the type of fishing you’re doing. 

Streamers, dries and nymphs are all fair game with a moderate-fast action rod! Even if the weather isn’t ideal, you won’t have much trouble with a moderate-fast action rig. 

Fast Action Rod 

Fast action rods are powerful and a favorite of more advanced anglers. If you’re able to nail the timing, fast action rods are going to provide the longest casts and has the most power when fighting a fish. However, you’ll find that it’s not an ideal action for beginners! 

What is Rod Size?

The next decision you have to make is the length of the rod that is going to work best for you. Most rods are going to be anywhere from 5 to 8.5 feet long. Those shorter rods around 5 or 6 feet are great for creek or stream fishing. Whether you’re going after trout or smaller panfish, choose a shorter rod so you can make more finesse casts and still have enough power to fight them. 

As the fish you target get larger in size, you’ll start to increase the length of the rod you’re using. You’ll likely need to make longer casts and need that extra leverage for fighting something that might be a bit larger. Fishing longer rods takes a bit of time to get used to, but once you do, you’ll enjoy the extra power that comes with it. 

What is Rod Power?

Cadence full power range of spinning rods

The most important detail for many anglers when it comes to rod choice is the power that the rod has. You have seven options when it comes to choosing the power of your rod. 

Your first “category” of power is light. You have ultralight, light and medium light. An ultralight rod is great for panfish, crappie and trout. A light rod can work for panfish, walleye and trout! A medium-light option can actually work for medium size freshwater and saltwater fish. 

The next “category” is a medium power rod. This rod size is really versatile and can handle lures from 1/4 to 3/4 ounces. Whether you’re throwing spinnerbaits or popping corks, a medium rod can do the trick. 

Your final category is the “heavy” rods. A medium-heavy rod is what most bass anglers find themselves using. You can fish jigs or soft plastics and the medium heavy will do the trick. A heavy rod is good for deep structure! If you’re fishing deep, then go with a heavy. 

The extra-heavy rods work for fishing with 1/2 to 2-ounce lures! It’s really stiff and gives you the opportunity for extremely quick hook sets. 

If you are looking for a 6ft to 7ft top quality spinning rod, then take a look at the Cadence Spinning Rod, CR5-30. The range covers all the power categories listed above and I highly recommend and use this rod personally.

What Rod is Right for Me? 

When choosing the right rod for you, make sure you understand where you’re fishing and what fish you’re targeting! This is going to give you the best and most accurate information in helping you make your decision. 

Panfish and Trout Rod 

Some anglers are going to disagree on the ideal measurements for an all-around panfish and trout rod. However, you can’t go wrong with an ultralight or light rod that is 6 to 6.5 feet. You’ll also want to make sure the action of the rod is medium-fast! 

These rods have enough sensitivity that you aren’t going to miss out on any strikes you get, but still, have enough power that you can land a bigger fish without too much trouble. 

Bass Rod 

If you’re new to the world of bass fishing, you likely won’t have a preference for the type and style of rod you’re wanting to use. The first thing to know is that you’re going to want a rod that’s around 7 feet long. Some anglers choose 6’8” and others will choose 7’6”, but you don’t want to go very far past those lengths! 

The next thing you’ll want to make sure of is that it has medium or medium-heavy power. Bass are strong and you need to have quick hook sets otherwise you’ll lose your fair share of them.

The final detail you want to have is to make sure it’s a fast action! You won’t get as much bend in the rod and this assists in making sure you have a quick hook set. 

Pike and Musky Rod

For your pike and musky rigs, you’ll want to use a 7’6” or 8” rod. Again, these help you make longer casts and give you more leverage when fighting them. You’ll need to use a medium-heavy or a heavy model with fast action. This will give you all the necessary leverage and power to target these fish! 

Final Thoughts

Choosing the proper size rod for you doesn’t have to be as complicated as it may seem.

Make sure that you do your research and have a full understanding of how and where you’re going to fish! This will allow you to make the proper decision and not have to worry about wasting time or money. 

If this article was helpful, please read my other article on Ideal Fly Rod Weight and Action – How To Choose The Best Option.

Daniel Mooers