I guess one of the more confusing elements of fly-fishing is the hotchpotch of terms used to describe the “actions” of fly-rods. Hopefully I can dispel some of this confusion and help making a decision on what fly-rod to buy easier.
Pared right down to basics, the term ‘action’ describes the way a rod bends. But don’t all rods bend the same way I hear you mutter? Well no, they don’t. It would all be very easy if rods bent in one constant arc from butt to tip (parabolic), but most don’t.
They don’t bend in a constant arc because a rod is tapered from butt to tip – the thin section of the rod near the tip bends much more than the thicker mid-section of the rod, which bends more than the butt section. Rod makers are able to control the ‘action’ of a rod, the way it bends and flexes, by making adjustments to the way the building material is laid-up.