Understanding Fishing Rod Weight: Matching Lure, Line, and Rod Weight

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If you are new to fishing, choosing a rod, reel, and line can be confusing. There are many different rods to choose from. Add to this the various weights and numbers on rods, lines, and lures. It’s easy to become overwhelmed.

Matching a rod with the correct line and lure weights is important. This will allow you to cast better, and your rod or line will not break. A mismatched setup can lead to broken gear and lost fish.

What Do The Numbers On A Rod Mean?

Take a look at the bottom of a rod above the cork. There will be a series of numbers. These numbers give you information about the rod. I have included a number as an example below.


Usually, the first letters indicate the model of the rod. In this case, the rod model is a GS. The second letter, “C,” suggests that the rod is a conventional or a bait caster. Next comes the number 6.9. This number tells us that the rod is six feet and nine inches long. The following number, “1”, tells us that the rod is one piece. The letter M is for a medium-strength rod.

If the rod is an S-7.6-2-L, it is a spinning rod. The rod is seven feet and six inches in length. Lastly, it is a two-piece rod for light fishing. Once these codes are deciphered, understanding the rods become very easy.

What Does The Line Rating Mean?

A fishing rod will also have a line rating displayed. For example, I will use the following 8-17 lbs line weight. You could believe that this is the recommended weight of fish for the rod. That is incorrect. The numbers tell us that the minimum fishing line strength is 8 pounds. The maximum is 17 pounds. The manufacturer tells us to use lines ranging from 8 to 17 pounds. It is necessary to stay within these guidelines.

How Do I Know What Weight Of Lure To Use?

A good fishing rod will also tell you the weight range of lures for your rod. In the North American market, these weights are usually in the imperial system of pounds and ounces. European or Asian countries, for instance, may use the metric system. Here is an example: ⅛ oz- ¾ oz. The rod has informed us that we should only use lures between the weights of ⅛ and ¾ ounces.

Can I Use A Lighter/Heavier Fishing Line?

You can use a lighter line. Many people want to use the finest line, believing fish won’t see it. This can cause problems. Using a light line means the rod will not do its job correctly. Rods and lines are balanced to work in harmony. If using too light of a line, when you hook into a fish, the line can snap before the rod can bend.

If you use a heavier line than recommended, the stress will be on the rod. There is a good chance that the rod will break before the line does. This can be offset by loosening the drag, but this comes with experience. If you loosen the drag too much, it can result in lost fish.

How Important Is Lure Weight On A Rod?

Now we know the range weight of the lure-to-rod ratio. Try an experiment. Choose a lure that is lighter or heavier than recommended on the rod. Will the lure cast? Yes, it will. Is the cast smooth and efficient? No, it will not be. It’s difficult to cast. The distance required is not being met. My lure placement is not where I want it to be. What is the result? Less fish.

If you match the lure with the recommended weights on the rod, the rod will load properly. You will be able to achieve the optimal casting distance. The lure will go where you want to place it. This is how you will catch more fish. Is it important to match the lure and rod? Yes, it is important. 

Can I Match Old Fishing Equipment?

You can match old fishing equipment, providing you get the balance correct. Use the information on the rod to guide you. If the rod has a letter S then do not match it with a bait caster reel. If you are not sure of the breaking strain, change it. Match the line to the rod. If you have multiple rods, keep lures that match the rods separated. This will ensure that everything works smoothly and in unison.  

What are “Power” Ratings On A Rod?

A fishing rod will tell you what its “power” rating is. Here are the main ones.

Ultra-light/Light/Medium-Light/Medium/Medium Heavy/Heavy/Extra Heavy  

These will be abbreviated on your rod, as we have seen.

Ultra-light rods are typically used for trout or panfish such as crappie. They are very flexible and 

are a lot of fun. The downside is if you hook into a larger fish, you will have difficulty moving it.

Light power rods are used for larger trout and bass.

Medium-light is not a popular rating. Many companies do not use this rating. If you have a rod that is ML, it is good for bass, trout, and walleye.

Medium power rods are a good all-rounder. You can target larger fish, such as smaller salmon. This rod will be good for most medium-sized fish.

Medium Heavy. This is a good choice for targeting larger fish such as muskies. They are very common in surf fishing. They can handle larger fish and still retain good action.

Heavy power rods are for moving large fish. They are a good choice for trolling when targeting large muskies or salmon.

Extra Heavy rods are mostly sea rods. They will be able to deal with large fish such as barracuda and mahi-mahi.

How Do I Know What “Power” Rod To Buy

This will depend on where you live and what fish you want to catch. Keen anglers will have different rods for different species of fish. This doesn’t mean you have to buy three rods, reels, etc. If you are starting, a good choice would be a medium rod with fast action. Many fishing companies do not indicate the action on the rod. Speak with your local tackle shop. Tell them where you intend to fish and what fish you hope to catch. If you intend to fish for a variety of different fish, they will probably match you up with the medium rod.

Final Thoughts

Don’t get too hung up on which rod you need. Speak with other anglers and find out what is working for them. Research the internet. Watch YouTube videos. Knowledge is the key to landing more fish. 

I HOPE You’re Not Making This FISHING ROD Mistake

As we have seen, it is very important to balance everything correctly. You must read and adhere to the rod’s recommendation to save your day fishing. Keep your gear balanced and in tune. If you are having difficulty casting, check the weight ratios. If you have been using the wrong weight, change it. You will be surprised at the difference and catch more fish. Happy Fishing!

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