Odds 'n' Sods of Information and Opinion

Rod Action - What’s it all about?

Rod Action - What’s it all about?

Progressive vs. Regressive - sounds more like a political commentary than a description of rod action. Terms get bandied about so much that it’s hard to get them all straight. While there is no firm consensus on what some of these terms mean, I’ll give it a go to hopefully shine a clarifying light on the muddle.

Fast vs. Slow - really a description of recovery speed, not stiffness. After a rod is deflected, how fast does it recover to a resting state? When we talk rod speed, that’s what we’re really discussing. Some rods need fast recovering tips to do their job well; think shooting head casting, while others benefit from being slower. Older graphite rods, fibreglass, and cane rods all tend to be slower, in that order.

Stiffness - simple, how stiff is a rod, but relative to what? The problem here is that there is no defined standard for the degree of stiffness or softness. Hand the same rod to 25 different anglers and the opinions about how stiff it is will be all over the map. Some useful comparisons - cane = soft while saltwater = stiff. Using that scale might help to bring a bit of consensus on the issue.

Progressive - no not a political statement, but rather the degree to which a rod bends progressively deeper, the more heavily it is loaded. Don’t all rods do that? Well only up to a point. A progressive rod will bend right to the cork, even a very stiff one, as the load increases. The degree of bend ‘progresses‘ at the same rate as the increase in load. The opposite to this is ‘not progressive’ but no one uses that term. The muddying problem here concerns how the term Progressive was also used synonymously with soft.

Tip and Tip-to-Middle action are really the other side of the Progressive action. These actions tend to bend the tip of the rod, when loaded up, to a much greater degree compared to a progressive one. Again, no defined standard, but rather an opinion as to which rod is progressive and which is not.

Through Action - basically the same as Progressive. This is more of a UK term.

Regressive - your guess is as good as mine, but I think it refers to making the butt of the rod slightly less stiff so that it bends easily when loaded, while leaving the rest of the rod unchanged. I owned a rod like this once. The female ferrules were massive and the male ones skinny, so the butt section was really thin compared to the next one. When cast the upper three sections would literally pivot on the butt.