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Why More Guides, for Phil
Posted by: Lance Schreckenbach (---.lightspeed.hstntx.sbcglobal.net)
Date: June 26, 2018 11:17PM

I believe you almost exclusively build and fish fly rods from reading your posts. Although I do build more conventional baitcaster and spinning rods now my very first rod I ever built was a fly rod (1989) with many after that. My understanding of the rod dynamics come from casting the line and not the lure. I would break a tip on a 2 piece fly rod and not want to put all wraps on all 9 or 10 double foot snake guides so I would get the single foot snake guides. There was a noticeable difference in the length of the cast and a dead feeling in the rod compared to the double foot snakes on the same blank. How can this be? Did they send me a messed up replacement tip. There was less weight toward the tip but a drop in performance.

At that time I got back more into 1 piece baitcaster rods and quit building fly rods. At some point life caught up to me and components seemed to stagnate and I quit building altogether. A few years later I read an article on micro guides and newer type materials being used for blanks. They were even making an IMX (G. Loomis) fly rod blank. I am not sure why they never did that at the same time they first started producing the casting and spinning blanks. I always wanted an IMX fly rod blank to build on since it was my favorite conventional blank. The strength to weight ratio and the action of those blanks at that time were ahead of the pack. I started building again this time with different blanks using micro guides and the Fuji's rapid reduction set up. I also started trying spiral wraps and really enjoyed fishing them. I built one for a friend of mine that I fish with and he nearly was casting all of his line off his baitcaster on every cast. By using more guides that were smaller, the line would go farther and give the caster greater control. Something popped in my mind and I finally figured out why there was a dead feeling with single foot fly rod guides.

Inertia of the line is interrupted by the rod being cast forward with the force pushing the line perpendicular to the line's movement through the guides. Basically the line is sagging between the guides on the forward cast and not moving in a straight line. Not as noticeable on the back cast because the line contacts the blank. Snake guides came out of Germany sometime around 1870. I think they were invented by an alien because they were way ahead of their time. The only reason I could come up with why less snake guides work better was by looking at the anatomy of the guide itself. It is a wire circle with one piece of the wire forming half a circle on one side and another half circle on the other with both ends of the wire being pulled apart to form an elongated circle. There are two sides to the guide and a top and bottom (it’s a circle), the two sides however have a small space between them. This is almost like two guides spaced close together that can continue the inertia of the line as it passes through them without as much effect from the forward cast (less sag). The line just needs to bump up against sides in different places in order to keep it moving straight.

By using more single foot guides the line will travel just as straight as less snake guides. More is better to a certain point until you kill the action of the blank and then even excessive guides will cast even better. Doesn't make sense but you can try it and you will see what I mean. Smaller ring size helps but is not necessary and may even slow the line down due to friction. More contact is made to the line as it passes through the guides and no performance is gained at a certain point. I want to make sure the only knot that matters will pass through the guides when needed and that is the backing to fly line knot. A FG knot in my case.
I am just about to finish my new NFC 9' 4 piece 8 wt. I used Fuji Torzite KW 16, KW 10 strippers and Ti framed SIC L Frame 3-7 mm and 7-6 mm running guides (12 total) and a Torzite Arowana 6mm Tip Top. It has a 7.25" all natural cork grip with a natural cork and composite cork fighting butt and an Alps HERA7WL2 reel seat. I would of used all 6 mm running guides but I would have had to order them online with a lot places being out of stock, so I figured God was wanting me to make it like this.

Sorry for the essay but I wanted you see where I was coming from and did not want to hijack American Tackle's post.

Tight Lines,

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Re: Why More Guides, for Phil
Posted by: ben belote (---.zoominternet.net)
Date: June 27, 2018 10:54AM

Lance..once you use ceramic you,ll never use wire again..

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Re: Why More Guides, for Phil
Posted by: Lance Schreckenbach (---.hfc.comcastbusiness.net)
Date: June 27, 2018 11:19AM

I know Ben, I've already been bitten. It just has a really smooth feeling that can be felt with a fly line.

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Re: Why More Guides, for Phil
Posted by: ben belote (---.zoominternet.net)
Date: June 27, 2018 11:44AM

in your essay(lol) you pointed out the problem with line sag between guides because flyline has weight but since wire guides are not nearly as slick as ceramic the line will slow down faster on the cast which allows for gravity to do it,s thing sooner, creating more sag and slowing line speed even more, etc, etc..this is also a good reason to use one or more guides than standard to reduce the space between guides and severity of line sag..

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Re: Why More Guides, for Phil
Posted by: Joe Vanfossen (---.nc.res.rr.com)
Date: June 27, 2018 11:45AM


I will state that I am yet to build my first fly rod, but from my understanding of the differences between casting a weight vs. line, I have some ideas. Take them with a grain of salt if you must.

I would be more inclined to think that the weight reduction and change in the moment of inertia from the single foot guides altered the natural frequency of the blank enough to change the way it performed with the line you were using at the time. The idea is that the same way building say a glass crank bait rod or a ML powered rod will significantly alter how 'whippy' a rod feels in hand as you move from a conventional guide train to a micro guide train. It's enough of a change that it may seem as though the builds are on a different blank. I don't remember whether it was on the forum or one of my exchanges with Bill Stevens in the early days of micro guides, but one of his anecdotes was that when he handed an elite touring pro his first rod with micro guides the pro's response was "Why did you change the blank?" Doing the same thing to a fly rod, where the natural frequency of the rod drives much of what you do, may result in a completely different feeling rod.

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Re: Why More Guides, for Phil
Posted by: ben belote (---.zoominternet.net)
Date: June 27, 2018 12:10PM

Joe, what you say makes perfect ccents to me..lol.

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Re: Why More Guides, for Phil
Posted by: Lance Schreckenbach (---.hfc.comcastbusiness.net)
Date: June 27, 2018 05:04PM

Wire framed double foot snake guides weight less than single foot ceramic guides. The only thing that starts to make them closer to equal weight is the two wraps vs one wrap but 1 to 1 the snake guide is still lighter even with the added weight of the wraps. The traditional fly rod wire tip top however does weight more than the Arowana ceramic ring tip top so there is a modest amount of weight taken off the point of the rod that is farthest away from the fulcrum. Anytime you alter the guide configuration of a given blank you are going to change the frequency. It will alter the performance of the rod. Is it in a the range where the rod will perform best? I guess that is for the user to decide. I believe that fly rod blanks have some of the latest technology for blanks produced and that in the last 10 years or so they have gotten faster. I think what we are calling 8 wt now was 9 wt 10 years ago. To me the blanks are really getting better for ceramic guides because of this. Try more single foot guides and it will improve the performance. Try it then tell me whether it is good bad or no difference. I have and it works for me.

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Re: Why More Guides, for Phil
Posted by: Phil Erickson (---.dsl.pltn13.sbcglobal.net)
Date: June 27, 2018 05:33PM

Very little of this reasoning makes sense to me. That is because, in most instances when fly casting (80-90% of the time) the line within the rod is static. The only time it is moving through the guides is when one is shooting line, and then it is not pushing through the guides, it is being pulled by the line outside the tip top which keeps it straight not sagging!

The dynamics of fly casting is not at all similar to other types, and the solutions for those type rods mostly do not apply to fly rods.

I have been fly fishing for over 60 years and building fly rods for 50. In my experience and observations, the only reason I see for double foot guides today is appearance and tradition..

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Re: Why More Guides, for Phil
Posted by: Lance Schreckenbach (---.hfc.comcastbusiness.net)
Date: June 27, 2018 08:00PM

I started saltwater fly fishing first and never even fished rivers until about 10 years after I started so "shooting" line at fish was my goal. Load haul and get distance and let it go to target. With river fishing I don't have to as much, I guess thats why I like streamers so much in creeks and rivers; it's more like what I am used to. I totally agree with you about snake guides but there is a performance boost using more single foot guides than what is normally done. What I wrote about is the only explanation I can think of why more guides seem to work better.

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Re: Why More Guides, for Phil
Posted by: Spencer Phipps (---.hsd1.or.comcast.net)
Date: June 27, 2018 09:35PM

G Loomis did in fact make fly rods and fly rod blanks in IMX for a long time, you just never saw them. My first fly rod build was a 9 1/2 ft., 3 piece, 7 wt. They were a stiff tipped blanks/rods that preferred a type A personality and agressive stroke. They worked very well with dense sink tip lines and shooting heads for steelhead.

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Re: Why More Guides, for Phil
Posted by: Lance Schreckenbach (---.hfc.comcastbusiness.net)
Date: June 28, 2018 01:49PM

Yea I was looking into that and started building on the IMX casting / spinning blanks around 1995. Heck I wish I had known they were making a fly rod blank at the time, I guess the place I was getting my blanks from just didn't carry the IMX fly rod blanks till around 2000. Just finished my NFC 9' 8 WT and it cast really nice. I am very pleased with the way it came out, now I have to go catch some fish with it and slime up the grip.

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