Of course, this applies to other areas of life... but, for me, I have noticed a stiffer action rod often performs better.
When checking out the rod, I always do the side-to-side whip test to see where and how far down the rod it bends. I look for the rod to bend some at about 2/3rds of the way down from the tip. But not too much -there's nothing worse than jacknifing and snaping your pole trying to land some unexpected heavy game.
A second test I do is hold the base of the rod on my finger waist high, and let the tip rest on the floor. I look for the rod to bend slightly at the tip 1/3 up. If it bends halfway up I consider it too soft. If it bends only at the tip, the rod may be too stiff to handle comfortably.
Ultimately though, I feel if the action is too soft, no matter how good your line, your just not going to be as successful in your final presentation.
Anyone else have thoughts on this?