Rapsody Power and Action

The blank is the most critical design element of the fishing rod, and the key properties of the blank ultimately determine the performance of the rod. The terms "Power" and "Action" are MastroLineUp_edit240x210.pngused on fishing rods to describe the design intent of the blank that is used in each rod. These terms are important because having a good understanding of them will help you choose the Rapsody rod that is best for your intended use. Quite simply, when you have the right rod for a given technique, it lets you work the bait properly, lets the bait work properly, provides you with the right hook set for that bait, and gives you the power to land the fish. We give you that power in choice with Rapsody Fishing Rods.

The "power" of the blank describes how much force it takes to bend the rod. From the fisherman's perspective, you could think of this as the pulling or lifting ability of sparcGraphicinset240.pngthe rod. You have probably heard the term "backbone" used to when someone describes a fishing rod. This refers to the strongest and stiffest part of the blank, and this is where the fishing rod gets its power. But this is far from where the story ends with Rapsody Technology. From butt to tip, we've gone great lengths to make sure every rod we wrap lives up to our name. With Rapsody Fishing Rods, you fish with No Regrets.

 

The Technology Story Continues

 

design-icon.pngWe take great satisfaction in knowing that we can provide you, an enthusiastic fisherman, high performance fishing rods at unbeatable prices. We know what goes into every rod because we manufacture them. Click the links below to discover more about the technology behind the catch.

_ Rapsody Power ranges
_ Rod Blank Construction
_ Prepreg Properties
_ The Modulus Myth
_ Power and Action for Different Techniques
_ Tech Talk 101 - Things you should know

 

 

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Rapsody Power Ranges

Rapsody rods range in power from Medium-Light, identified as "ML" on the rod, to Extra-Heavy, which is identified as "XH" on the rod. As you would guess, a Medium-Light rod takes very little force to bend it, while bending an Extra-Heavy power rod takes a lot of force. There are noticeable increments of power between each of the categories we manufacture. Every Rapsody rod fits into one of these power categories:

ML Medium-Light

M Medium

MH Medium-Heavy

H Heavy

XH Extra-Heavy

When you are ready to select your Rapsody rod, you can select the right power by considering the line weight and lure weight that you intend to use. A range of the optimal weights for every rod we offer is listed in our product section. You may be surprised by how light your Rapsody rod feels when you first pick it up, but you will love the power it packs the first time you set the hook.

The "Action" of the rod describes how and where the blank flexes when a force is applied to it. Most Rapsody fishing rods have a "Fast" action, which means that about 1/3 of the blank nearest the tip flexes when the rod is under load. Rapsody rods are available in the following actions:

XF Extra Fast

F Fast

MF Moderately Fast

M Moderate

An XF (Extra Fast) action rod will have a higher percentage of its deflection occur closer to the tip. An M (Moderate) action rod will distribute much more of its deflection further back into the blank toward the handle.

The action of a rod will strongly influence how it casts, how sensitive the tip is, and how quickly it transfers the fisherman's hook set to the bait at the end of the line. A more moderate action will also let the bait work more freely, while a Fast or Extra Fast action rod will give the fisherman total control of the bait.

In general, slower action rods can cast a bait farther (assuming the correct lure weight is used) because more of the blank can be loaded, or bent backwards, in the back cast, and then unloaded to create more throwing force in the forward cast. While the skill of the fisherman and the length of the rod affect the distance of a cast, most people can cast very well with a rod that is a "Fast" action or any increment slower in action.

Before you start wondering why you don't have more slow action rods in your garage, you need to consider what happens in the rod blank when you get a bite. A rod with a Fast or Extra Fast action will have a more sensitive tip than one with a moderate or slow action. The reason for this is that a smaller and lighter part of the rod will bend when a fish takes your bait.

The increased sensitivity that comes with a faster action rod probably seems obvious, but now you have to consider how power and action interact. Think about what happens when you get a bite. You set the hook with the powerful move you've perfected by copying the pros you watch on TV. (We know, we do it too.) With a faster action rod, the backbone of the blank is engaged very quickly during the hook set and the power of the rod is transferred to your bait in a very short time. Your success rate in hooking fish increases substantially with a faster action rod for most techniques you will fish.

Moderate action rods are great for certain techniques. This is especially evident in crankbait fishing where a moderate action rod lets an aggressive bait move more freely, and gives the fish a little more time to take the bait before the fisherman feels the bite and sets the hook. You will see that we recommend certain of our Maestro® rods and Hot Rods for specific techniques. The length, power, action, and reel type of each rod is considered in making these recommendations.

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Rod Blank Construction

Carbon fiber is a wonderful material for fishing rod construction because it bends when a load is applied to it and it quickly straightens when the load is removed. Think about how difficult it would be to cast a lure or fight a fish with a rod that was completely inflexible. Now consider a rod that bends but does not quickly recover to its straight orientation. Not good. Throw in the fact that carbon fiber is extremely light – especially given its strength – and you know why it is used to make high performance fishing rods.

 

A modern fishing rod blank is made from a carbon fiber based material that is referred to as prepreg. This material consists of carbon fibers that are impregnated with resin and backed by a woven scrim mat. This "previously impregnated" carbon fiber material – prepreg – is a flexible fabric.

To make a rod blank, prepreg is precisely cut to a predetermined pattern, sometimes in multiple pieces. The patterns are then rolled under pressure onto a long tapered steel rod called a mandrel. After rolling, the prepreg is wrapped tightly with cellophane tape to keep it compacted on the mandrel. This entire assembly is then cured in an oven. During the cure process, the resin in the prepreg turns to a liquid and flows, surrounding all of the carbon fiber layers that are wrapped onto the mandrel. The assembly cools in the final stage of curing, and the resin hardens causing the prepreg to permanently take on the long tapered conical shape we recognize as a fishing rod blank.

We stringently control the specification of the prepreg, the pattern geometry, the mandrel taper, the compaction, and the cure process to ensure that every Rapsody blank performs to its specification and has exceptional durability.

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Prepreg Properties

The amount and type of carbon fiber, resin, and scrim can be varied to achieve different properties or objectives in a given prepreg. The stiffness, or modulus, of the carbon fiber is important, but so is the density, or spacing of the fibers. Lower cost and poorer performing prepreg is made with a low density of carbon fiber, high resin content, and inexpensive, heavy scrim material.

The way in which a fishing rod bends and recovers is heavily influenced by the properties of the prepreg. All Rapsody rods are made with proprietary prepregs that contain high performance carbon fiber, lightweight scrim, and the lowest feasible resin content. Why? Because we want to create the lightest, strongest, most sensitive blanks, so we crank up the fiber density, reduce the weight of the scrim, and eliminate any excess resin.

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The Modulus Myth

For years fishermen have been led to believe that higher modulus carbon fibers create lighter weight, more sensitive, and more powerful rods. This is true, but only to a point. The interaction of the carbon fiber with the resin and the scrim, coupled with the overall lay-up of the blank contribute a lot more to the performance of the rod than does the use of a high modulus fiber.

Furthermore, extremely high modulus fibers are very stiff and brittle, and as such are likely only used in the butt section of rods that contain them. Most marketers of fishing rods will lead you to believe that the entire blank is made of this exotic material.

Another topic that can be misleading is the use of terms like IM7 or IM8. Recognize that there are no industry standards to define or govern the use of these terms. Fishing rods labeled as such but produced or marketed by different companies are likely not made from the same carbon fiber or prepreg.

Did you ever notice that those touting zillion-modulus carbon fiber rarely publish the weight of their blanks or their rods? Conversely, fishing rod companies that design and manufacture their own blanks seldom refer to the modulus of their fibers. Interesting.

These factors make up the Modulus Myth. Make sure you carefully consider them before spending big money on a mega-modulus rod.

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Power and Action for
Different Techniques

Most good quality fishing rods can be used for a wide range of techniques, but choosing the right type of rod for any given technique will substantially improve your chances of attracting and landing more fish. This is true because the right rod for a given technique lets you work the bait properly, lets the bait work properly, provides you with the right hook set for that bait, and gives you the power to land the fish.

In general, casting rods are used for power techniques and spinning rods are used for finesse techniques. Both types of rods are designed with ample power and great sensitivity, and there are several techniques that can be fished successfully with a casting or a spinning rod. As discussed in our "Power and Action" section, the faster actions provide more control of the bait and quicker hook sets. Moderate and slow actions let the bait move more freely and delay the hook set to allow the fish more time to take the bait.

Here are a few examples from our Maestro® Bass line that will help to illustrate these points:

RMBS6101MXF – This spinning rod is recommended for dropshotting because the Extra Fast action tip and Medium power backbone provide the perfect bland of sensitivity and strength. You will every movement of your bait, and you'll quickly stick a fish with just a firm pop to engage the dynamic backbone in this blank. This rod is also a favorite for wacky rig fishing because it is very castable and provides excellent feel and leverage.

RMBC701MHM – This is a high-performance casting rod designed for use with crankbaits. It has Medium-Heavy Power so it can be used with medium to heavy weight line and baits, and it is strong enough to turn big bass. The Moderate action provides long casts and allows the crankbait to run freely. This action also increases catches by delaying the hook set to allow the fish to have a strong hold of the bait before it "feels the steel". The RMBC761HM-FG has all of the same design characteristics but is a bigger, heavier fiberglass rod intended for throwing the biggest, deepest diving crankbaits.

RMBC701HF – This casting rod is great for fishing heavy cover with baits that are best fished with a lot of control. The Heavy power gets the bait and the fish through the slop, while the Fast tip is perfect for casting and controlling frogs and rats. This rod is also well suited for medium size swimbaits – long casts, precise control, and massive power.

RMBC801HMF – This casting rod is a classic flipping stick. At 8' in length it has great reach. The power in this rod is optimal for heavy line and big baits, and the Moderately Fast tip provides sure hook sets and a lot of lifting power to get the fish out of the cover and into the boat.

Using the right rod for a certain technique can greatly enhance your fishing experience and success. That is why tournament fishermen will keep different rods rigged with different baits nearby at all times. However, modern rod technology has advanced so far that a casual fisherman can be content with just a few versatile rods that work in almost any situation. We have provided guidelines on the Maestro® page to help you choose the right rod for the type of fishing you do.

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You should know...

... that many fishing rod models can be used for several different techniques, but some techniques are much more effectively fished with a rod designed for that technique.

... that there is no industry standard for describing fishing rod blank material. One company's high modulus may be another company's intermediate modulus, and naming and numbering these materials is primarily a marketing exercise.

... that many fishing rod companies buy their blanks from third party suppliers. It takes specialized, expensive equipment and a lot of expertise to manufacture quality fishing rod blanks and there are very few companies who do this.

... that most high performance fishing rods sold at retail in the US are priced at about 4 times their manufactured cost. Retail stores provide convenience and the ability to compare products side by side, but the consumer pays for this service. This is why we strongly believe in our factory direct sales approach.

... that we describe our power - lifting ability - and action - how the rod bends - separately so you can better determine which rod is best for your intended use.

... that while carbon fiber is very light, strong, and stiff, it is also a great conductor of vibration. Add sensitivity to the list of reasons why it is used in high performance fishing rods.

... that crankbait rods are a very moderate action so that you can cast the bait a long distance, the bait can run freely, and you can keep constant pressure on a hooked fish. Also, the slower action also keeps you from pulling the bait away from a striking fish by delaying the hook set.

... that many pros advise amateurs to back off of their huge hook sets when fishing exposed hook baits. It is common for overly enthusiastic fishermen to lose fish because they make this mistake.

... that an Extra-Fast action gives a rod great sensitivity because only a short, light section of the blank has to react to transmit any vibration coming from the bait. This action also gives you "point and shoot" casting accuracy.

... that while the diameter of a fishing rod blank gets smaller from the handle to the tip, the wall thickness is also reduced. The carbon fiber wall thickness in the tip of a Medium power Fast action rod is less than half the thickness of the handle section.

... that the term graphite is commonly used in the fishing industry to describe carbon fiber rods. This technically inaccurate reference has become widely accepted by fishermen, so if you hear someone talking about graphite or carbon fiber rods, they are referring to the same type of material.

... that rod covers may seem inconvenient, but the really do reduce the wear and tear a fishing rod experiences in the rod locker of an avid fisherman. Consider protecting your fishing rod investment with a relatively inexpensive good quality cover.

... that carbon fiber used to manufacture fishing rod blanks enters the process as a flexible sheet of fabric wrapped around a big spool.

... that modulus (stiffness) of carbon fiber is important, but equally important are the other materials and parameters that are specified in the impregnated composite sheeting that is used to make a fishing rod blank.

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