Action Misconception

By Tom Kirkman

Here's a question from Volume 4, Issue #4 Issue of RodMaker magazine:

"I am reading on these message boards about "slowing down the action" of a rod. They say there are all sorts of ways to do this but I am not sure which is the correct way. What do you say on this." Richard . . . Austin, TX.

RodMaker Magazine

Most of the time when you see someone refer to "slowing down the action" of a rod they are using the wrong term to describe something entirely different. Rod action relates to taper and where the rod exhibits most of its bend when a load is applied. Thus the terms, fast, medium and slow. Fast action rods bend mostly in the upper 1/3rd of their length, medium action rods in the top half, and slow action rods along their total length. Adding extra guides, overlining, etc., will not change this. Only by cutting/trimming the rod can you change where most of the flex is occuring.

However, when someone asks about "slowing down the action" they are not really talking about changing the flex pattern of the blank. What they really mean to say is how do you slow the response/recovery of the rod. This is not at all the same thing as rod action. In this case, adding more and heavier guides will undermine rod efficiency and make it slower to respond to input and longer to recover from imparted energy. It knocks the rod down a bit on the performance scale.

Picture what would happen if you tossed about a thousand pounds worth of sandbags into your car. It would take longer to accelerate, longer to stop and be harder to corner. Same thing when you overload the blank with extra weight.

The next obvious question is why would anyone want to do this? Sometimes in haste to get the latest and greatest new rod they end up with a rod or blank that is, in fact, quite efficient and just plain reacts faster than what they are used to. Some people adjust themselves while others would rather adjust their equipment. To each his own. ~ Tom Kirkman

Publishers note:
If you have any tips or techniques, send them along! Help out your fellow rodmakers! ~ Publisher, FAOL

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