Why Are Fishing Rods So Flexible? 6 Answers You Should Know

Imagine this: You are about to go on your first fishing trip, and you are in serious need of some supplies. The store has aisles of equipment, from hooks to bait to arguably the most important—fishing rods.

But how do you know which one to use? They come in all shapes and sizes, but unless you are a seasoned angler you cannot properly differentiate.

However, what you may notice is that they all have some degree of flexibility. This is because it provides tension on the line and hook that hinders a fish from escaping.

By the time you finish this article, you will be able to select the perfect fishing rod with ease and get to the water in no time!

Is a Flexible Rod Better for Fishing?

Fishing rods are more or less flexible depending on what they are used for. You should choose your rod’s flexibility based on how large your bait and targeted fish are.

Action is the term that defines where, how much, and how easily the rod will bend. Some types are as follows:

  • Slow (bends in the lower third)
  • Medium/moderate (bends in the top half)
  • Fast (bends in the top third or fourth)

The speed-based terminology refers to how quickly the rod reverts back to its original form. Flexible slow action rods are better when fishing for small species, because they have greater sensitivity (ability to feel tugs on the line) and can bend in such a way that it prevents the fish from jerking the line.

Another important factor when choosing a rod is the power level. This refers to the amount of pressure the angler must apply in order for the rod to bend. Rod power is categorized as such:

  • Light
  • Medium
  • Heavy

As you can imagine, you would need a stronger power level rod for larger fish and a lower power level rod for smaller ones. Flexible rods offer a variety of action and power levels to cater to your specific needs.

Which is Better: A Flexible Rod or a Stiff One?

Flexible rods and stiff rods are comparable in terms of superiority because they are used for different things—in other words, flexible rods are better for one method and stiff for the other.

Stiff rods:

  • Ideal for heavier bait and fish (Because they can sustain and balance the weight so that you are able to reel them in without struggling)
  • Less sensitive (Thus, you would not be able to feel subtle tugging nuances that could aid in the capture)

Flexible rods:

Rods of the flexible variety, however, was designed for lightweight prey.

  • Have increased sensitivity because they sit lightly in your hand (This is also helpful for beginners)
  • Allow you to feel even the smallest of tugs on the line (Perfect for small marine life)

If your fishing expedition will include various sizes of fish, a medium/moderate action rod would be better because it allows for more variability in resistance. However, if you only plan on catching small fish, a fast action rod would be best.

What Type of Rod Works Best for Salt Water?

Chances are, if you are planning on fishing in saltwater, your aim is to catch big prey. That narrows down your rod selection to the stiff variety because they can sustain the weight.

You would also want to take into consideration how far you intend on throwing your fishing line—for the most part, in the ocean, you want your bait a significant distance away. This means that you would need a much longer rod than you would a short distance.

Because of these factors, for a saltwater expedition you would want to find a rod with:

  • The thickest and heaviest base
  • A pole that is shorter or longer depending on casting distance

For example, if you were fishing for sharks, you would want a long pole with maximum casting capabilities and the most durable material that you can afford.

You should also make sure that the material is resistant to corrosion, which can occur with prolonged exposure to the elements within saltwater. Fiberglass is a common material used, as it is hyper-durable and lasts a long time.

What Type of Rod Works Best for Fresh Water?

Conversely, fish of the freshwater variety tend to vary from light to medium weight—I doubt you will find any great whites in your typical freshwater lake! Because of this, you would not need as heavy of a rod as you would in saltwater.

Because you do not have to sustain bulky prey, you can also opt for a thinner rod, which is easier to handle than a thick one. Since typical bodies of freshwater are not as vast as the open ocean, you will not necessarily need to get a long fishing rod unless you are trying not to spook nearby aquatic life.

Now, if you are visiting the Great Lakes or an Amazonian-scale freshwater river, that is another story—but you still will not need a hulking rod.

  • Just make sure that it is not a saltwater lake because then you will need to take special considerations towards the rod’s material.

Because there is no risk of corrosion from saltwater, you can basically pick whatever material you choose. Most are made of graphite or a graphite blend, which is light and provides additional sensitivity.

Is a Flexible Rod Stronger Than Other Types?

Generally, flexible rods are not as strong as stiff rods. Flexible rods are more lightweight, which is good for their intended purposes, but that also means they are more breakable.

You can buy flexible rods made of materials with extra durability, but the fact of the matter is that slimmer objects are easier to break no matter how you spin it—and a fishing rod is an expense you will not want to waste.

Imagine now that you are out on the water and you are after fish that are upwards of 30 pounds. Would you want a slim rod that you have to fight against in order to reel the fish in, or would you rather have a sturdier base foundation that does most of the work for you?

Unless you want a serious arm workout and the potential to snap your fishing rod in half, a stiff rod is far stronger than a flexible rod

  • Again, the risk posed is greatened or lessened depending on how you intend to use it

This is not to say that you can break your flexible rod by breathing on it the wrong way—they are designed to withstand a certain amount of wear and tear, but just not nearly as much as the near industrial-strength of other rods.

How to Choose the Perfect Fishing Rod

Now that you have all the basic information, it is time to select your perfect fishing rod! Along with the action, power, and length, you need to consider your own size.

If you are petite, even if you plan on casting long-distance, you will want to avoid getting a rod that is too big because it could be cumbersome to handle. This means that you have an increased chance of losing your grip on the base, and you could end up with a rod lost at sea.

Conversely, if you are tall and/or bulky, you would want a rod that more closely matches your physique. This is not to say that you cannot use a dainty-looking fishing rod, but maybe consider one with a thicker base that would be more ergonomically friendly.

Next, consider how often and where you will use it. Do you spend more time fishing in the ocean or in nearby rivers? Is this a fishing rod that will get a lot of usages, or are your fishing trips less frequent?

Depending on your answers to these questions, you can determine how much you want to spend—as they can get pretty pricey—and what rod material and size work best for your specific needs.

If you plan on doing most of your fishing in freshwater rivers and lakes, do not spend the extra money on a heavy-duty corrosion-resistant rod that you probably will not need, and vice versa with thick saltwater-proof rods.


Picking the correct fishing rod can seem like an insurmountable task when presented with so many options. Since stores do not exactly provide pamphlets to help you choose the best rod for you, having your own guide is the best way to make an informed decision.

Hopefully, this article has taught you a sufficient amount about selecting the right rod for you. If you take into consideration the action, power, length, location of usage, and your own physicality, narrowing down your choices will become much easier.

When in doubt, you can always consult a seasoned angler or hunt down a knowledgeable sales associate (good luck with that) to help you further along and answer any additional inquiries that might arise.



Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *