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zimmy

A guide choice discussion for Saltheart, Big Dave and Al G. et. al.

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I have been pondering over guide selection for a rod I plan to wrap. I have used the BHNLG guides per Al's recommendation on all the conventionals I have built. #20 stripper and 8 or nine total guides. I have also talked to a few different builders that agreed with that method and a couple others that prefer the larger/fewer guide method. I have asked related questions here and received a few varied opinions. I would be interested in hearing from experienced builders specifically why you would choose a particular stripper size and # of guides. The next rod I plan to build is an All Star 1209 to use with a Abu 7000cl. I really would like to have a better understanding of the pro's and con's of smaller/more guides and larger/less guides method when I make my decision.

Thanks,

Owen

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Zimmy,

 

In building a casting rod there are compromises between casting performance and fish fighting ability.

 

The type, size and placement of the stripper guide is critical for optimum casting. If you are using a wide spool conventional reel with mono line you probably would get better casting performance using a larger stripper guide like a #25. A norrow spool reel fishing braid line probably would work optimally with a #20 stripper.

 

The number of guides with also have both positive and negative effects on casting performance. The more guides used the better fish sighting ability the rod will have. The added guides spread the line stress over the entire effective length of the blank.

 

Using fewer guides in larger sizes could work, however, you would need to do a full stress distribution test to insure the guides are place properly.

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I consider the size of the reel , the line type , the action of the rod , length and leader set up in choosing guides and spacing. A very stiff , long rod will benefit from the higher guides pushed way out. Al has already discussed line type and reel size. One "concept" says to use many smaller guides near the tip to decrease the mass on the tip and thus increasing the recovery rate of the flexed rod. This is all sound thinking but for a rod like the 1209 where heavier line and leaders will be used , the clearing of the leader to running line knot is very important. In my opinion the benefits of the "concept" with small guides falls apart if a knot in the 60 LB leader slams into each small guide on the way out and when retrieving. It sounds trivial but for heavy fishing like jigging in the Ditch its a big issue.

 

The number of guides is determined by the rod length , flex and height of the guides. I don't think there is any rule but regardless of length , I tend to try to minimize the number on a stiff rod like the 1209 but tend to add more if the rod has a lot of flex.

 

I believe a lot of builders use too small a tip ring in heavy casting rods. I like a big SiC Fuji tip.

 

You mention BHNLG guides and in some cases , an even higher BSVLG can be used as the gathering guide on conventional rods. The high frame on the spinner guides enables you to push the first guide way out on long rods like around 11.5 feet and longer. This gives better casting distance and also enables you to minimize the total number of guides. I've seen the gathering guide pushed way out to 42 inches when a BSVLG 30 is used on a conventional.

 

The real trick is to combine all the seperate factors. If you push the gathering guide way out by using a high guide , you decrease the total number of guides. Do you then drop down fast to minimize the size of the guides at the tip or do you run them down gradually so you transition nicely to a big tip guide? As Al says , how you do it depends a lot on the primary concern of casting the lures out or fighting the fish in. Each rod is different and even the same rod is different from one person to the next.

 

Anyway , as you can see , there's a lot to it and making many rods and trying different set ups is the way to find out what works best for your rods.

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Zimmy

Al to a certain point, is right about the more guides on a rod are better to fight fish, But on the other hand, rather than crowding 9 guides onto a rod, when 7 will do the job is in my opinion a better choice. It's doubtful that you'll notice the difference during a fight. Adding too many guides also changes the action of the rod as well as adding weight. As for having 8 or 9 guides that are all the same size. Is something I have never understood why builders did that back then. I started building sticks 20 years ago and even then I used the tapered down concept. As for guide selection on conventional sticks I like the BNLG style frames on rods out to 11'.Anything over 12 I will start off with BSVLG guides from a 30 down to a 20 and then finish off the stick with BNLG guides. Just keep in mind that you want the line to follow that bank under compression as best as possible, while keeping the line off the blank.

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I have my own theories, one being - you have a stripper guide, which gathers the line. Every other guide after that, the line shoots staight through. Why step down to get to the smallest guide, why not just use the smaller guide out to the tip? Moreso when using braid than Mono.

 

Example - you start with a size 25 stripper, and you're plan is to use a size 12 tip. Why not go from a 25 right to a 12? If that's too severe, than a 25 to a 16 to all 12's. I dont' see the reason to use a 25, 20, 2 16's and 5 12's. Is the knot the problem here?

 

The HN guides I cannot figure out why they are on surf rods myself - heck, on Inshore rods, I can't see why they are used. Too damn heavy, and they offer no benefit except if someone bangs their rods around a lot. And the Concept MN's will handle that abuse, and are half the weight - use those rather than the clunky HN's.

 

This goes quadruple for boat rods, btw, most start with a size 20, 16, 2 or 3 12's and 5 10's, which imo is silly. Get rid of the 16,possibly the 12, and make the rod lighter. Is it because it looks funny (I sure hope not, because I've seen a lot of normal guided rods which look funny in many other departments - lol!)

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