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ceramics on fly rods
Posted by: Phil Ewanicki (---)
Date: November 06, 2019 09:31AM

What are the advantages and/or disadvantages of ceramic guides on a fly rod - assuming the fly rod will be casting a fly line?

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Re: ceramics on fly rods
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: November 06, 2019 09:41AM

Advantages are smoother line pay out under load (fish fighting) and perhaps more guide longevity as ceramic rings are not prone to grooving.

Disadvantages are higher cost and depending on the style and size ceramic chosen, possible greater component weight that generally leads to slower rod speed.

.............

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Re: ceramics on fly rods
Posted by: Lance Schreckenbach (---.hfc.comcastbusiness.net)
Date: November 06, 2019 11:10AM

Phil,
I am doing this on all my fly rods builds going forward, as I have for about the last two years.

Advantages:
• Better feel (smoother) and most likely longer fly line life.
• More line control with a slight distance increase.
• Better fish fighting and rod distribution under load.
• Will slightly slow down action. Many modern rod blanks are much faster than the previous 10 years. May or may not be an advantage.
• Less feet to wrap. Helps weight deficit due to differences in lighter snake guides.
• Looks cool.
• Performance enhancement. (Opinion)

Disadvantages:
• Cost more, maybe 2 to 4 x more depending on the brand, type, etc.
• Added weight toward tip. Snake guides weight less than ceramic ring guides, but the traditional fly tip top usually weights more than a ceramic ringed one.
• Need more guides to notice a performance increase. Typically, at least 2 more than you would with snakes. (10 snakes = 12 single foot ceramic guides).
• Will slightly slow down action.
• Line casting tangles will be stopped at first running guide near stripper instead of at the tip top.
• Does not look like a conventional fly rod.

This is about all I can think of right now. Just do it and see what you think. Sea Guide, Batson, Pac Bay and American Tackle are still making L frame guides.

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Re: ceramics on fly rods
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: November 06, 2019 11:14AM

I think you mean speed, not action - action is where the rod initially flexes and guide type doesn't change that. Speed is how quickly a rod reacts and recovers.

.........

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Re: ceramics on fly rods
Posted by: Herb Ladenheim (---.lightspeed.rcsntx.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 06, 2019 01:03PM

Lance Schreckenbach Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Phil,
> I am doing this on all my fly rods builds going
> forward, as I have for about the last two years.
>
> Advantages:
> • Better feel (smoother) and most likely longer
> fly line life.
> • More line control with a slight distance
> increase.
> • Better fish fighting and rod distribution
> under load.
> • Will slightly slow down action. Many modern
> rod blanks are much faster than the previous 10
> years. May or may not be an advantage.
> • Less feet to wrap. Helps weight deficit due to
> differences in lighter snake guides.
> • Looks cool.
> • Performance enhancement. (Opinion)
>
> Disadvantages:
> • Cost more, maybe 2 to 4 x more depending on
> the brand, type, etc.
> • Added weight toward tip. Snake guides weight
> less than ceramic ring guides, but the traditional
> fly tip top usually weights more than a ceramic
> ringed one.
> • Need more guides to notice a performance
> increase. Typically, at least 2 more than you
> would with snakes. (10 snakes = 12 single foot
> ceramic guides).
> • Will slightly slow down action.
> • Line casting tangles will be stopped at first
> running guide near stripper instead of at the tip
> top.
> • Does not look like a conventional fly rod.
>
> This is about all I can think of right now. Just
> do it and see what you think. Sea Guide, Batson,
> Pac Bay and American Tackle are still making L
> frame guides.

Phil,
I have long been opposed to using ceramics on a fly rod. Some do - I know.
The reasons I do not use them - and I have tried a number of times - only to take them off in favor of REC Recoils.

I think the "smoothness quality is over blown. There is certainly no advantage in casting-distance with ceramics.
The claim mostly is that in fighting a fish one can reel in a big fish easier with ceramics because they are smoother and decrease the friction under load. I maintain that one should "pump" the rod and then wind down to re-position the rod for another "pump", etc. That is the proper way to fight a big fish - not just reel it in. Now I am talking of a serious fish - and not a small bass or trout.

The main reason I will not use ceramics is that you are overloading the rod and will decrease the rods speed and recovery rate when loaded.
It also limits you if you want/need to over line the rod to accommodate a more bulky fly.
Remember - the rod is dumb - it doesn't know if it's being loaded by the fly line or the components.
A properly designed fly rod WILL cast its stated line weight AND up one or 2 wts . If you use ceramics you will restrict how much you can increase line weight.
Herb

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Re: ceramics on fly rods
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: November 06, 2019 01:49PM

Ceramics pay out line much more smoothly under load. This has to do with fish fighting - drag is more than just the reel, it is also the guides that play a role.

Ceramics continue to get lighter and lighter. The weight penalty is there, but not nearly to the degree it was 20 years ago.

..........

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Re: ceramics on fly rods
Posted by: Herb Ladenheim (---.lightspeed.rcsntx.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 06, 2019 03:20PM

Tom,
I think we have to be practical here:
If one WERE concerned about drag - they would be fishing for "hot" fish. If one were doing such fishing they would be using #4 runners.
Apples to apples - five (the number of guides on the tip section of a 4pc fly rod) #4 REC S/F guides weigh 0.5 grams. Fuji's weigh 1.1 grams.

Note: the equivalent to the clearance of a #4 REC is the only single foot Tianium Fuij guide - KT's that have a "Y" frame - therefore heavier.

Herb

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Re: ceramics on fly rods
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: November 06, 2019 04:58PM

I am speaking about fishing for "hot" fish - fish that actually strip line from the reel under drag.

And you would be talking about a 0.6 gram difference, and even that minute amount would be spread out along the rod, not all concentrated at the tip. Yes there would be some difference, but it would be very, very slight.

Easiest thing for people to do to if interested in determining what any practical difference exists, would be to rig up a rod both ways (using the same length of tape strips to hold the guides on) and then cast, feel, etc. Or, take CCF measurements.

..........

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Re: ceramics on fly rods
Posted by: Phil Ewanicki (---)
Date: November 06, 2019 06:41PM

Twisted fly line can pass through a snake guide with a smaller opening than a metal-ceramic ring guide and you can use fewer snake guides than ring guides on a rod. How much [leveraged] weight reduction would this result in by using snake guides? Do distance casters use snake guides or ceramic guides? I don't know. I never saw or even heard of a snake guide or even a tip-top grooved by a fly line but I suppose it could happen? Do ring guides prolong fly-line life? At $100 + per fly line it would make a difference for some people who fish a lot.

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Re: ceramics on fly rods
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: November 06, 2019 07:53PM

In my rod repair career, I have replaced thousands of grooved snake and wire tip-tops. I have replaced a handful of damaged ceramic guides (they are more prone to failure from dropping, crushing, etc.) Snakes and wire guides have improved in the past 20 years and the problem may be as acute as it once was.

I have no idea why you would use fewer snakes than ceramics - a guide is a guide in that respect.

A distance caster typically isn't going to use very many guides - they do not intend to fight fish. They just cast for distance.

Any guide that is grooved, worn or damaged, stands to ruin a fly line. This holds true for both ceramics and snakes.

...........

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Re: ceramics on fly rods
Posted by: Drew Pollock (---.201-34-174.ftth.swbr.surewest.net)
Date: November 06, 2019 09:21PM

This is just my opinion.

I've built a bunch of fly rods with ceramic guides. They are GREAT for fighting larger fish. Or fish in current. My experience is with salmon. But I don't think they cast as well as a fly rod with conventional snake guides. And if you are bashing through the bush, snake guides are much less fragile and far more resilient. Ceramic guides bend at the foot. They just do. It seems like every year after an alaska trip, I'm replacing at least 1 ceramic single foot guide. This year I need to replace 2. So not a huge problem but still a problem.

But for a durable fly rod, snake guides (I like the RECs) are the best, though even there, I use a ceramic top.

So for real fly fishing, I believe single foot or double foot wire guides work the best, though with a ceramic top.

For Kenai River fishing where casting and durability are not a priority, but fish fighting is, ceramics are best.

But for your average fly rod, in the average fisherman's hands, snake guides are overall better.

Drew

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Re: ceramics on fly rods
Posted by: herb canter (---.atmc.net)
Date: November 06, 2019 10:10PM

"A distance caster typically isn't going to use very many guides - they do not intend to fight fish. They just cast for distance"

I would think that casting distance is in part getting all the power out of the blank as possible and added guides in the right locations would achieve that .






FUJI says the below :

"Guide rings are far more slippery than rod blanks. The real culprit in robbing distance is line slapping the rod on the cast. More guides hold the line away from the blank and casting distance improves dramatically"



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/06/2019 10:11PM by herb canter.

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Re: ceramics on fly rods
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: November 06, 2019 10:26PM

No, they use very few guides. Weight remains the enemy and this is true with tournament casters whether they are casting surf type rods or fly rods.

Try it for yourself - remove a third of the guides on any rod you have, re-space them and go cast it. You won't want to fish with it but you'll be amazed at how far you can cast.


......................

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Re: ceramics on fly rods
Posted by: Lance Schreckenbach (---.sub-174-235-4.myvzw.com)
Date: November 07, 2019 12:01AM

There is no doubt that snake guides (created around 1870 in Germany) have held up to the test of time. Action describes how much of the fishing rod bends when you put pressure on the tip, and the speed with which the rod returns to its neutral position. Action is directly related to speed. This is what I mean by action of a rod. I have explained this before but here it is again; The double foot snake guides work very similar to two ring spaced close together. The line can contact the foot of the guide closer to the direction of flow being pushed to the opposite side then contact the outgoing foot again pushing the line in a straighter path till the next guide and most of the wave in the line is nullified. MORE SINGLE FOOT CERAMIC GUIDES ARE NEEDED IN ORDER TO GET THE DESIRED PERFORMANCE. The inherent problem with snake guides is that the line is allowed to touch the blank in more places along the length when casting. There are also two main different types of snake guides, ones that are tear drop shaped and ones that are more round. They both perform differently. Single foot snake guides have a pinch point at the foot where the two wire ends come together. Single foot snake guides do not perform the same way as a solid ring or a ceramic guide. In my opinion modern rod blanks are far more fast than the spaghetti flex blanks of the past, so putting a few more, slightly heavier running guides with a lighter tip top isn't going to overload the rod. Putting the same amount of single foot ceramic guides in the place of the double footed snake guides is NOT going to do anything but make your rod perform worse. More guides works. My set up for a 9' eight weight rod is this: Put the stripper (#16) about 1" to 2" closer to the reel than you normally would, followed by #10 then 5 #7 runners and 5 #6 runners to the tip. I use a #7 tip top. You could get by with all #7 runners but for weight reduction I use #6s. You can take it or leave it. These rods are used in saltwater so I use Fuji KW Ti framed strippers and Sea Guide or Alps runners Ti "L" frames. I also do this with 5 weight rods and less but use smaller size 5 stainless runner guides. It does seem like I have better line control when compared to similar built snake guide builds.

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Re: ceramics on fly rods
Posted by: herb canter (---.atmc.net)
Date: November 07, 2019 03:04AM

Tom Kirkman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> No, they use very few guides. Weight remains the
> enemy and this is true with tournament casters
> whether they are casting surf type rods or fly
> rods.
>
> Try it for yourself - remove a third of the guides
> on any rod you have, re-space them and go cast it.
> You won't want to fish with it but you'll be
> amazed at how far you can cast.
>
>
> ......................


You think adding 3 titanium runners in size 5 would increase the weight enough to have a noticeable distance disadvantage , i will have to try it i'm having a hard time believing it . If that is the case and if anyone would know you would then Fuji's claim of more guides keeping the line off the blank is a bogus claim .

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Re: ceramics on fly rods
Posted by: roger wilson (---)
Date: November 07, 2019 07:54AM

Herb,
Fuji is right about more guides keeping a line off the blank - under all conditions.

i.e. if one wants to keep the line off a rod when the blank is fully loaded and if the line is on top of the rod, one will need more guides to keep the line off of the blank.

But, the discussion was about distance casting. When distance casting, the rod is swept back and then the rod is quickly swept forward transferring the energy of the person casting the rod first to the blank and then the line.

But, that transfer of energy happens in the very first part of the cast. As the rest of the line completes iteslf - shooting line off of the reel, through the guides and out the tip - the rod is for all practical purposes - straight, and the line is shooting straight off of the reel through the guide and tip top. After the initial transfer of energy from the person casting to the blank and then to the line - the rod is essentially straight and should essentially be touching neither the rod nor any guides. As a result - more guides just make for a heavier load with the possibility of more friction by the line touching one or more guides. If the line touches nothing more than air - there is nothing to slow it down to limit the distance of the cast.

However, just because a rod with 3 or 4 guides on it may make it an excellent casting rod does not mean that the same rod setup makes a good rod for fighting and landing fish.

Take care

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Re: ceramics on fly rods
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: November 07, 2019 08:10AM

I know people have their own definitions of "Action" but I find it best to use the term as it was defined by blank manufacturers over the past century - where or how the rod initially bends (all rods have a progressive action and will flex into the butt area if you apply enough load to them). Action and Speed, while inter-related, are two different properties. Note in the CCS, you have AA for action and CCF for speed or frequency. Adding more or less guides will not affect action but certainly will affect speed.

As far as guide numbers, just go try it for yourself.

.............

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Re: ceramics on fly rods
Posted by: Herb Ladenheim (---.lightspeed.rcsntx.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 07, 2019 11:15AM

Roger,
We're only discussing fly rods here - or should be.
Herb

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Re: ceramics on fly rods
Posted by: Herb Ladenheim (---.lightspeed.rcsntx.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 07, 2019 11:16AM

Tom Kirkman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I know people have their own definitions of
> "Action" but I find it best to use the term as it
> was defined by blank manufacturers over the past
> century - where or how the rod initially bends
> (all rods have a progressive action and will flex
> into the butt area if you apply enough load to
> them). Action and Speed, while inter-related, are
> two different properties. Note in the CCS, you
> have AA for action and CCF for speed or frequency.
> Adding more or less guides will not affect action
> but certainly will affect speed.
>
> As far as guide numbers, just go try it for
> yourself.
>
> .............

YES!!
Herb

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Re: ceramics on fly rods
Posted by: Phil Erickson (---.dsl.pltn13.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 07, 2019 02:57PM

I build only fly rods and have for years. Ceramic guides on most fly rods are over kill! They definitely have a place on heavier weight ( 7 or 8 & up) due to the species being caught, and the fact that you are often into the backing.

In all the years I have built and fished, I have yet to see guides grooved by a fly line, I have seen fly lines worn out from passing through guides over time. Think about it! Fly lines are very much softer then any guide material !

Possibly if you do not properly maintain a line (cleaning it) the grit on a line by be a factor.

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