Fly fishing is one of the most relaxing ways to spend an afternoon. There is little which can compare to being surrounded by the sounds of nature while you attempt to outwit a hungry fish, tricking it into taking your fly.
But fly fishing is also full of terminologies and equipment which can be confusing, especially for a beginner. Having the proper equipment is vital to experiencing an enjoyable angling adventure, so let me help you by explaining one of those terms – rod action.
The fly rod may look like a fancy stick used to hold the line, but it is much more than that. It allows you to cast the line (an attached fly) with precision by controlling its direction and distance.
Once a fish is hooked, it provides the muscle necessary to land the fish without breaking the delicate line.
Of course, this only works if you select the proper rod, and a significant aspect of choosing the correct rod revolves around a rod’s action. A fly rod’s “action” refers to its stiffness, the portion of the rod which flexes and how quickly it recovers or stops flexing at the end of a cast. The action is expressed as “fast,” “medium” or “slow” and categorized based upon where on the blank the rod will bend during a cast.
Types of Rod Actions
Alternate Classification Terms
Although these are the three traditional classifications, you will find that many manufacturers are now using combined or hybrid classifications as well, such as “fast-medium” or “medium-slow.” These hybrid actions will incorporate features of each action depending on the particular model or maker.
Some manufacturers have also moved towards describing the action regarding stiffness: using stiff to replace fast and soft to replace slow.
If you encounter these variations, remember the terms are still describing the rod’s flexibility, and a stiff action will react the same as a fast action rod, a soft action the same as a slow rod, etc.
Regardless of the manufacturer, the specific term used by the action described will still provide similar pros and cons, suitable for the same situations described above.
An Introduction to Fly Rod Actions - Conclusion
So there you have it, rod action in a nutshell. Of course only reading about it will not truly teach you which is the best action for you and your particular fishing style or scenario. Before making a final selection, I suggest visiting your local fly fishing shop, speaking to the pro staff, obtain few suggestions and then trying each of those in the casting pond.
Another excellent option is to visit a fishing expo, where you can often see and demonstrate a wide variety of rods in a single setting. Only then will you find the particular action which not only meets your specific fishing needs but also feel best in your hand.
The bad news is that fly fishing is addictive and regardless of how good your first rod may be, it is rarely ever your only rod. Before long you will find it is no longer a matter of which rod you should buy, but which rod you should use today.