fishfinder401

Wire vs Ceramic on slatwater fly rods

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All designs are compromises. Up to the end user what concessions and where they want to make them.

 

Snakes twisted bits of wire  various materials . Std is stainless steel hard chrome plated. Absolutely cheap as chips. Even very expensive high end rods have them. Anglers have been convinced for many years that these are the defacto guides for fly rods.

Down side. They corrode. The hard chrome will flake. They do not have a long life compared to quality ceramic. If you dont check tip top and running guides regularly  and they wear  and become thin they can trash expensive fly lines.

Snakes require two thread wraps so any perceived weight reduction over ceramic is lost in extra thread and epoxy.

Snake guides are not a closed design unless you consider the rod blank serves that purpose. I don’t know any guides which have glass or carbon centers.

If you keep the rod then it will require that the guides be replaced. This is a very time consuming job. Best done by a skilled rod builder and it will not be cheap.

Nearly every pro Rod Builder I know and many very good amateur rod builders would not have a snake guide anywhere near their rods.

 

A big issue with snake guides is their feet. They are rarely close to being flat. Not easy to adjust so both feet sit onto the blank properly. On fine diameter fly rods especially the tips if they are not prepped properly the toe of the foot can dig into the blank wall. Bad news. They are absolute pigs to prep toe of the guide as the hard  chrome makes filing impossible. You have to remove the hard chrome with wet and dry first before a hand file will touch it. Grinders no chance. Too crude produce heat and not safe for amateur builders. Not good for pros either. Often they come factory prepped and have sharp feet and very sharp pointed toes. No thank you.
Snakes are robust. 

 

Single leg wire guides often have no stand off so fly line is too close to rod blank. Their  best attribute is lowest weight of all the guides.

 

Single leg ceramic. The early models many years ago had stainless steel frames which could corrode but still better than snakes. The main issues was the ceramic centers. For me the only ceramic centers that feel right when a fly line passes over them is Sic or the new Torzite. Early rods made the mistake of having centers that were too small and they grabbed at the fly line. Horrible.

Small sizes were used as they looked sexy and small sizes are cheaper.

Then came Fuji Titanium framed single leg guides with Sic centers.

Game changers. Very light and corrosion proof. Only one foot to prep.

 Closed design. Have stand off from the blank so better fly line clearance. Sic is very smooth and very hard. It is unlikely that you will ever need to have to replace a guide due to wear. The stand off part of the leg of the guide is flexible so it can take knocks and can be bent back to shape. Very good guide.

Recently Fuji introduces their Torzite guide. Again titanium frames and a new ceramic material which is thinner than Sic. The advantage is for the same size guide as a Sic the Center has a bigger ID. Now some builders use this to try and reduce the size of the guide to save wight. I do not. I prefer to take the advantage of having more clearance for the fly line.

The  disadvantage over snakes is the high cost initially but this is offset as your rod should never need re ringing.

The other potential disadvantage is that the centre is more fragile than wire. In practice in twenty plus years of building rods with sic centers  and fishing my own rods in a rather brutal fashion I have never cracked a sic centre.

The new Torzite frames are stiffer so do not have the flex of earlier designs.

 

You like any guide need to size them properly. Don’t be tempted to go too small.

 

On salt water single hand rods from 8 wts to 12 wts apart from one size 10 all the running guides will be a size 8. This for sic or Torzite centres. The tip top will be a sIze 8. Not 8 64ths  which is the American way of sizing top tops but Fuji’s size 8.

 

on Fresh water rods I will have size 7 on top two sections then some 8’s and also one size  10. I usually fit two double foot guides in a size 16 and 12. Again in sic with titanium frames or Torzite. This for 7 and 8 wt rods.

Detractors of ceramic guides claim higher weight. It is negligible.

 

Single leg guides in any material can if you make a horrendously bad cast pull out from under the thread wraps. This is more true on a Two Handers due to increased  line mass and very high line speed potential.

Better for a guide to pull out and reduce stress that could be passed into the rod blank. This typically happens when casting Clousers with wind on your casting side. Solution is to cast differently. This is user error 100%.

 

You do not gain any difference in casting performance over snakes. Neither guide if sized correctly for the rod will stop you casting 100 feet if you have the skill to do that.

 

I just don’t like snakes. All this high tech carbon pre preg and then the rod is fitted with old hat snakes. Easy for the major  rod makers to get away with fitting snakes as soo many Fishers think snakes are best. Helps their bottom line massively too.

 

 

 

Mike

 

 

 

 

Edited by Mike Oliver

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hey Mike, in your British valuation system, what is worth more "chips" or "buttons"? 

 

Above you say snake guides are as cheap as "chips". Yet, several years back (2015) in a similar discussion you said they were as cheap as "buttons". Are you suggesting some inflation of the value given one can eat chips anytime but you don't really need buttons unless you lose one? 

 

Actually, it looks like you've used "buttons" as a cost comparator at least 40 times over the years. 

 

https://www.stripersonline.com/surftalk/search/?&q="buttons"&author=Mike Oliver&sortby=relevancy

 

:howdy:

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14 mins ago, Mike Oliver said:

All designs are compromises. Up to the end user what concessions and where they want to make them.

 

Snakes twisted bits of wire  various materials . Std is stainless steel hard chrome plated. Absolutely cheap as chips. Even very expensive high end rods have them. Anglers have been convinced for many years that these are the defacto guides for fly rods.

Down side. They corrode. The hard chrome will flake. They do not have a long life compared to quality ceramic. If you dont check tip top and running guides regularly  and they wear  and become thin they can trash expensive fly lines.

Snakes require two thread wraps so any perceived weight reduction over ceramic is lost in extra thread and epoxy.

Snake guides are not a closed design unless you consider the rod blank serves that purpose. I don’t know any guides which have glass or carbon centers.

If you keep the rod then it will require that the guides be replaced. This is a very time consuming job. Best done by a skilled rod builder and it will not be cheap.

Nearly every pro Rod Builder I know and many very good amateur rod builders would not have a snake guide anywhere near their rods.

 

A big issue with snake guides is their feet. They are rarely close to being flat. Not easy to adjust so both feet sit into the blank properly. On fine diameter fly rods especially the tips if they are not prepped properly the toe of the foot can dig into the blank wall. Bad news. They are absolute pigs to prep toe of the guide as the hard  chrome makes filing impossible. You have to remove the hard chrome with wet and dry first before a hand file will touch it. Grinders no chance. Too crude produce heat and not safe for amateur builders. Not good for pros either. Often they come factory prepped and have sharp feet and very sharp pointed toes. No thank you.
Snakes are robust. 

 

Single leg wire guides often have no stand off so fly line is too close to rod blank. Their  best attribute is lowest weight of all the guides.

 

Single leg ceramic. The early models many years ago had stainless steel frames which could corrode but still better than snakes. The main issues was the ceramic centers. For me the only ceramic centers that feel right when a fly line passes over them is Sic or the new Torzite. Early rods made the mistake of having centers that were too small and they grabbed at the fly line. Horrible.

Small sizes were used as they looked sexy and small sizes are cheaper.

Then came Fuji Titanium framed single leg guides with Six centers.

Game changers. Very light and corrosion proof. Only one foot to prep.

 Closed design. Have stand off from the blank so better fly line clearance. Sic is very smooth and very hard. It is unlikely that you will ever need to have to replace a guide due to wear. The stand off part of the leg of the guide is flexible so it can take knocks and can be bent back to shape. Very good guide.

Recently Fuji introduces their Torzite guide. Again titanium frames and a new ceramic material which is thinner than Sic. The advantage is for the same size guide as a Sic the Center has a bigger ID. Now some builders use this to try and reduce the size of the guide to save wight. I do not. I prefer to take the advantage of having more clearance for the fly line.

The  disadvantage over snakes is the high cost initially but this is offset as your rod should never need re ringing.

The other potential disadvantage is that the centre is more fragile than wire. In practice in twenty plus years of building rods with sic centers  and fishing my own rods in a rather brutal fashion I have never cracked a six centre.

The new Torzite frames are stiffer so do not have the flex of earlier designs.

 

You like any guide need to size them properly. Don’t be tempted to go too small.

 

On salt water single hand rods from 8 wts to 12 wts apart from one size 10 all the running guides will be a size 8. This for sic or Torzite centres. The top top will be a sIze 8. Not 8 64ths  which is the American way of sizing top tops but Fuji’s size 8.

 

on Fresh water rods I will have size 7 on top two sections then some 8’s and also one size  10. I usually fit two double foot guides in a size 16 and 12. Again in sic with titanium frames or Torzite. This for 7 and 8 wt rods.

Detractors of ceramic guides claim higher weight. It is negligible.

 

Single leg guides in any material can if you make a horrendously bad cast pull out from under the thread wraps. This is more true on a Two Handers due to increased  line mass and very high line speed potential.

Better for a guide to pull out and reduce stress that could be passed into the rod blank. This typically happens when casting Clousers with wind on your casting side. Solution is to cast differently. This is user error 100%.

 

You do not gain any difference in casting performance over snakes. Neither guide if sized correctly for the rod will stop you casting 100 feet if you have the skill to do that.

 

I just don’t like snakes. All this high tech carbon pre preg and then the rod is fitted with old hat snakes. Easy for the major  rod makers to get away with fitting snakes as soo many Fishers think snakes are best. Helps their bottom line massively too.

 

 

 

Mike

 

 

 

 

wow, now that was informative!

so for a 9ft 8wt you would recomend fuji size 8 running guides? I was looking at the model L guides  in titanium with sic but open to other options, which double foots do you recomend for the strippers? 

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OK, just to make this more confusing for fishfinder, what about REC Recoil guides? Specifically, both the new two-foot ceramic CERecoil and their SF Recoil wire guides. Both come in a titanium alloy (shiny or black) and are said by REC to be impervious to rust or crushing. 

 

REC CERecoil Double Foot Casting Guides | MudHole.com

 

R2485 REC RSFXB Recoil Black Pearl Titanium Single Foot Snake ...

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Posted (edited) · Report post

11 mins ago, fishfinder401 said:

wow, now that was informative!

so for a 9ft 8wt you would recomend fuji size 8 running guides? I was looking at the model L guides  in titanium with sic but open to other options, which double foots do you recomend for the strippers? 

Price the Fujis. Then price the REC using 1 X CERecoil #16, 1 X CERecoil #12, 1 X REC single-foot recoil #6,  and as many REC Recoil #5 you need to complete the rod (maybe 6?). When you find the price difference, consider that as part of the decision matrix. 

 

Don't let the difference in ring size confuse you, they above are right for a big rod. 

Edited by tomkaz

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Fishfinder401,

 

Regarding the argument of weight, the weight of wraps and epoxy outweighs the weight difference between snakes and titanium ceramic guides. I argued the snake guide side for a long time before trying it myself and finding no real difference in weight, but substantially smoother and easier

casting and more sensitivity to what was happening with my fly.

 

I've seen a lot of rods, and I've not seen one yet that can equal the builds Mike does. Totally performance oriented, every facet of the build completely perfect, every time. He knows his stuff better than pretty much anyone who builds fly rods. I don't mean to do anything but lend some idea of where he's coming from with his advice. He taught me to build rods. Everything he has said I have found to be true in my own observations and endeavors. Just so you know where he's coming from has a lot of credibility.

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Just to make my point clear, I am questioning no one's opinion here, neither Chris nor Mike, the latter who has forgotten more about rod building than I can ever know. 

 

My point is that the price difference, unlike weight differences, is not inconsequential, particularly if you price out torzite ringed guides. Maybe it is because I have been pricing a 13' rod with nine runners which in Ti-Torzite are expensive. 

 

Just my underinformed $0.02

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Hi all,

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Mike and I and others have gone around the block many times with these discussions.

 

Regarding guide "stand-off" from the blank.

I have made many rods - recently - with guides that hold the line well off the blank.

I've used the new Fuji reverse stripper R-VH as my stripper (terrible stripper for a fly rod - gone) - then REC single foot spin guides RSPG in #'s 16, 12, 10. Can't get any farther from the blank than that.  Then finish off with REC s/f or snakes - IMO makes no difference with the "stand-off" guides or conventional guide train of REC's.  BTW - I like the conventional graduated guide train vs ALL runners same size.  

 

Snakes - Re line hitting the blank between the snake legs - doesn't happen. 

But what does happen on S/F guides that no one has mentioned - especially using the Forhan lock - and with an especially strong double hauler - over time the line abrades the thread and the guide falls out or gets loose.

I have re-built rods for these casters and had to replace all the wraps on the s/f guides - and some lost guides.

 

Re all ceramic guides vs ceramic stripper and wire runners. For the purpose of this argument lets say Fuji Ti SiC or Torzite vs Ceramic stripper and REC Recoil runners.

 

IMO - the blank is a dumb object - it does not know if you are weighing it down with components or grains of line.

Added weight from ceramic runners and - especially - in a ceramic tip-top with its ring and structured frame - will have a negative effect on the performance of the rod. The more grains you add in components - the less grains you can carry in line.  You are slowing the blank's recovery and therefore slowing line speed.

 

Herb

 

 

 

Edited by HL

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Here's something I haven't thought of. If you're using the rod on the beach, the line at some point is going to pick up some sand or grit, and quickly go to town on the guides. In which case insert guides might be best?

 

I would like to hear from  someone who has measured rod power on identical blanks, one with single foots, one with double foots.

 

I have measured power before and after building on many rods, and am always surprised how much the guide wraps add to the power.

 

When I measure power, it's how much weight to deflect 1/3 of the rod's length. Not really an indicator of anything except how one rod compares to another.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Fuji single foot titanium frames with SiC inserts have served me very well for years now. I've never had one let me down and there is no noticeable performance penalty in how a rod casts with them on.

 

I've used them on all my rods from an Epic 476 to my 10wt CF rods (maybe 20 rod builds now?). When I've gone back to wire guides (only twice) I've immediately regretted it when fishing.

 

Cheers,

Graeme

Edited by Hirdy

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Za the REC in the pictures came off spinning rods using braid, no...I have 10yr old fly rods I built with REC titanium snakes and tips that show absolutely no signs of wear. I don't care for single foot runners in either wire or ceramic for single hand rods, too easy to damage or pull a wire guide from the wrap, and the Fuji's for me too heavy, drastically change the feel of the blank, particularly in popular 8 thru 10wt applications. REC titanium snakes my personal choice, strippers the cheapest stainless frame Fuji with alconite inserts will outlive any rod blank made.

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Ceramic Stripping Guides ... Fuji please. REC recoil guides snake or single foot. That's all I'll use now on a custom rod build.

 

Cheers!

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The debate like RHW verses LHW will go on for ever. I have weighed Titanium sic guides and mass is not an issue. A great deal of subjectiveness is involved.

The very fact that the same rod blank built with either snakes or single leg ceramics will cast the same difference is very telling. With modern fly lines being all over the place these  weight wise these  will have the biggest effect on performance changes on any rod.

 

Snakes are open design. On the back cast they can and do touch the rod shaft. 
This is the reason you will see compitition Casters turn the rod through 90 degrees so the line rests on the metal of the snake on the back cast.

Most Anglers who have  no interest in this kind of detail will probably be unaware of what can happen. They don’t care as they don’t know the issues.

It does not matter to them.

 

The REC guides shown by ZA have a line pinch point where the wire comes to the blank. On the back cast the line is going to enter this pinch point and wear can be seen. I have these guides on a rod Herb made me some years ago and to be fair they have not yet shown signs of wear but I only fish this rod a max of 14 times a year now. 
 

No doubt Fuji Torzite is expensive. But you only have to fit them once.

If you look to buy in Europe you might find they are around half the price you pay in the USA.  The single legs are not very expensive. It is the Titanium Torzite K frames which cost  high dollars.

Fuji are the global leaders so I expect to pay more for them. I know the UK distributors very well and they informed me that Fuji never expected the huge volume of sales for their Torzite guides globally because of the high cost.

They got that wrong. Sales have been huge and supply has been an issue.
Strange how high end makers of spin and surf rods have adopted them massively but never any of the major fly rod companies. You might see stripper guides in Sic but rarely with titanium frames.

 

If you don’t build your own rods or have them built for you you are going to get wire guides be they snakes or single leg.

 

You will not find wire  guides on even mid price spin and surf rods very often.

 

There is a choice and hopefully this thread will assist anyone considering making their own rod or having one built to make a better informed choice.

 

I still fish wire but only as a consequence of buying the odd factory rod that impressed me enough to do so. I recently purchased a a Daiwa Lexus Still Water 7 wt and it has single leg wire and is my preferred rod over high end rods I have and it cost a third of the price. When the wire is worn and it will wear as I fish  this rod a great deal I have the laborious job of removing the guides and wraps and having to take great care not to damage the blank when doing so.

I suspect that many of us change out our rods before wire line wear becomes an issue. Secondary market guys get the problem to deal with.

 

Wire lines suit some guys whilst others like myself prefer sic. We are fortunate to have a choice. At the days end it is your rod. Let’s drink to that.

 

Mike

 

 

 

 

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