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Why Are Fewer People Using Roller Guides?
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: February 18, 2020 12:49PM

While it seems the majority on this site tend to build light to medium rods of the varying sorts, typically myself included, I am hoping to stir/spark interest with those involved with larger class quarries.
My seek of information is regarding ringed verses roller guides. It seems there is a declining ratio of roller-guides verses ringed-guides used on 50lb+ big-game rods recently. I am bewildered as to why given my thinking that a roller should afford the least amount reeling resistance and the least amount of line wear as well when large loads (fish) are involved. But that is why I am asking = maybe my analysis is wrong.
Huge advancements in ceramic guide ring composition, shape, polishing and the actual method of installing them in the guide frame have occurred in the last 20 years, and I would tend to give Fuji the lion’s share of due credit. For lighter rods, this equates to a substantial and beneficial weight reduction, especially toward the tip, while affording the line an almost frictionless surface in which to pass.
In my novice opinion, that is all fine-and-dandy for lighter builds and I have and will continue to reap the benefits of such. However, there other factors involved and to be considered with heavier rods, seeking heavier fish which may not be as prevalent or noticeable with lighter rods.
First is the obvious, additional amount of force imposed on the guide and the line passing through it. With drag settings of 20lbs or more, this is quite a substantial increase in force and consequently friction.
Secondly, an aspect some may not have considered is the actual radius the line must assume (bend radius) when passing through a ring-guide verses a roller guide. The smaller the radius equates to the sharper the fibers in the line need to flex/bend and will consequently compromise the strength of the line. A roller’s diameter is substantially larger than the ground radius of a ceramic ring.
Thirdly, is considering where the inevitable, unavoidable friction actually occurs. With a ring-guide, it is obviously the distance the line is in contact with the ring; the more load applied = the more surface area of the ring the line will encounter AND the more force will be applied to that surface. With a roller-guide, there is virtually no friction between the roller and line; friction is confined to the bearing/bushing inside the roller = the least fatigue and wear on the line.
While I have been expressing my opinion favoring roller-guides, allow me to include an observation from Tom K. in his “Stand-Up Rods” article, “Rollers that are allowed to get dirty, corroded or otherwise to the point where the rollers do not turn freely, are about the worst thing you can have on a rod”. An extremely good point and I could not agree more.
All things considered, I suspect the simple need to maintain rollers rather than their performance may be the reason fewer people are using them. With the overwhelming benefits of rollers on heavier rods, I will endure the additional 10 minutes required to flush my rollers with fresh water after each trip. I have made a very simple tool to rotate the rollers while flushing which also serves as a method to check the rollers are turning freely before a trip. It is simply a piece of .125in aluminum rod with typical heat shrink tubing over it. See “Mark’s Roller Tool” under “Equipment and Tools”, in the photo section, if you care to do so.
The bottom line is; have ceramic inserts advanced to the point where rollers are no longer required? Or are more people unwilling to take the additional time to maintain their rollers?
A sincere thanks to those taking the time to reply.

Mark Talmo
FISHING IS NOT AN ESCAPE FROM LIFE BUT RATHER A DEEPER IMMERSION INTO IT!!!

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Re: Why Are Fewer People Using Roller Guides?
Posted by: roger wilson (---)
Date: February 18, 2020 01:46PM

Mark,
I think that folks find that with a good silicone carbide guides, wear is minimal but the hassle factor is way down.

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Re: Why Are Fewer People Using Roller Guides?
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: February 18, 2020 02:17PM

Roger,
Thank you for your reply. Such may be as anticipated. Hopefully others will reply with their insight as well.

Mark Talmo
FISHING IS NOT AN ESCAPE FROM LIFE BUT RATHER A DEEPER IMMERSION INTO IT!!!

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Re: Why Are Fewer People Using Roller Guides?
Posted by: Spencer Phipps (---)
Date: February 18, 2020 03:35PM

Got to remember the fish size has gone down and quality of fishing tackle has gone way up. Watch some of the old movies and.fishing shows, they were using all metal guides and a bucket to pour sea water on everything to keep it cool, I think mono has only been around since WWII.

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Re: Why Are Fewer People Using Roller Guides?
Posted by: Phil Erickson (---.dsl.pltn13.sbcglobal.net)
Date: February 18, 2020 04:25PM

Mark, from my observations, the improvement in ring guides has greatly reduced the use of rollers at the lighter end of their previous applications and these applications are much more numerous than the heavy one. Result fewer uses of rollers ! I offer this as only many years of observation, as I do not build these type of rods.

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Re: Why Are Fewer People Using Roller Guides?
Posted by: Fred Yarmolowicz (---)
Date: February 18, 2020 07:30PM

Also consider braid vs mono. Braid is thinner and on certain rollers get caught between the frame and roller.

Freddwhy (Rapt-Ryte)

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Re: Why Are Fewer People Using Roller Guides?
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: February 18, 2020 09:08PM

I graciously appreciate the additional replies.
Spencer, the movies and shows you referred to are great to watch and from an era when men were men and sheep were scared LOL!!!
Phil, do you mean to say you never put rollers on your fly rods? Where is your sense of adventure LOL?
Fred, good point but I would think roller guide manufactures must have that figured-out by now.
From the replies received thus-far, it appears most people are comfortable (complacent?) with the advancements of the modern-day ceramic ring guides. I am certainly not in a position to argue although, admittedly, still need more convincing that a ring guide is adequate verses a roller for even 50lb+ class rods, but especially 80lb and above.
Hopefully the coals are still hot enough to receive more replies. Thanks!!!

Mark Talmo
FISHING IS NOT AN ESCAPE FROM LIFE BUT RATHER A DEEPER IMMERSION INTO IT!!!

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Re: Why Are Fewer People Using Roller Guides?
Posted by: Ken Greene (---)
Date: February 18, 2020 09:32PM

Before I ask my question, I want to thank all of you for the great input and knowledge that you provide here. I am new to rod building and and you have helped tremendously. My second build was a snapper/grouper rod and I wanted stainless steel guides, the rep at Mudhole said no go with the Fuji with inserts( no problem love the guides) but why not polished stainless steel with no inserts to crack on you?
Thanks again for all you guys provide!

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Re: Why Are Fewer People Using Roller Guides?
Posted by: Spencer Phipps (---)
Date: February 18, 2020 09:37PM

When I was wire line trolling some shield lakes for lakers back in the day we bought inexpensive collapsing flipping sticks and changed the tip tops to rollers. Had no problems with the wire.
Have a 6 1/2 ft, 15 -40 lamiglas granite saltwater rod wilh the ultralight Aftco rollers on and have had no 50 lb. braided line problems using a Shimano Lever Drag Charter Boat Special, TR2000LD.
Casts pretty good for a roller guided rod.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/19/2020 01:05AM by Spencer Phipps.

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Re: Why Are Fewer People Using Roller Guides?
Posted by: Kendall Cikanek (---)
Date: February 18, 2020 09:53PM

I'm getting ready for a halibut rod build and going for ring guides and tip. This rod is replacing one I have with a roller tip. It's a rod I'll never use for trolling. Trolling many rigs causes a constant back and forth movement of braided line through the guides as the tip pumps up and down. A roller would seem to still make sense in this scenario, especially with heavy rods and rigs. I can see a mini-roller setup for heavy jigging for the same constant friction scenario. In summary, I see rollers still being useful in constant line fiction situations and rings being better in everything else. Most rollers are prone to corrosion related issues as they have plenty of pieces made from materials that aren't fully noble (corrosion proof).

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Re: Why Are Fewer People Using Roller Guides?
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: February 18, 2020 10:57PM

Awesome, more input! Thank you very much.
I think Ken’s comment was to acknowledge ceramic rings can be fragile and break = good point.
If Spencer can cast a 50lb roller rod more than 20 feet, he is obviously a better man than me.
Kendall’s comments are well received and understood; constant friction = roller while corrosion and maintenance = ring.
So, the running total has the ring guides favored over the roller guides. At least I am receiving replies explaining why and those replies are extremely welcomed and cherished. While I thank those who have already responded, I hope others will reply as well and keep those coals hot.
Thanks to all!!!

Mark Talmo
FISHING IS NOT AN ESCAPE FROM LIFE BUT RATHER A DEEPER IMMERSION INTO IT!!!

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Re: Why Are Fewer People Using Roller Guides?
Posted by: Spencer Phipps (---)
Date: February 19, 2020 12:35AM

The rod is a 15 - 40 line saltwater line rated with 50 lb. braid on the reel, uses the nylon framed Aftco ultralight rollers, much smaller than regular roller guides. Being an all graphite blank it's very light and handy with the small 17.5 oz reel on it.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/19/2020 01:07AM by Spencer Phipps.

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Re: Why Are Fewer People Using Roller Guides?
Posted by: Phil Ewanicki (---.res.spectrum.com)
Date: February 19, 2020 12:45PM

Most anglers doing deep-drop fishing today use electric motors to winch their fish to the surface. Deep drop anglers have comprised a major portion of consumers of roller guides in the past. Most likely these anglers can explain the decrease in popularity in roller guides?

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Re: Why Are Fewer People Using Roller Guides?
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: February 19, 2020 03:39PM

Thanks for the additional replies!
Spencer, I have not built a rod with the Aftco ultralight rollers but a guy brought one on a trip to the breakwall for calico and, as you mentioned, cast surprisingly well. While I am obviously a proponent of rollers for rods of >50lb, even I am not certain if they are that beneficial for rods <50lb.
Phil, the vast majority of bottom rock fish rods I have seen out here on the Left Coast use ring-guides with an occasional roller top.

Mark Talmo
FISHING IS NOT AN ESCAPE FROM LIFE BUT RATHER A DEEPER IMMERSION INTO IT!!!

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Re: Why Are Fewer People Using Roller Guides?
Posted by: Tony Boschi (---.se.biz.rr.com)
Date: February 20, 2020 12:59PM

Tossing in my 2 cents, I think its a cost issue at times.

You have to think about how many rods you have for each specific type of fishing. Because I now live in Merritt Island / Cocoa Beach Florida, and the "Gulf Stream" is now 42 miles offshore as opposed to when I lived in Fort Lauderdale where it was 12 miles out, I have 8 sets of Medium Heavy, 7' custom built Banana River rods (Yes, I'm plugging my rods!), 6 of them have Penn Battle 4000's 2 of them have Penn Conflict 4000's. The primary fishing I do now is for Redfish, Seatrout, Snook ... most everything you find on the flats or living in the Mangroves.

When I lived in Fort Lauderdale, I had 4 inshore rods similar to what I own now BUT, I had 6 offshore rods. 2 of them had your standard eyes, but 4 of them had Gold anodized Aftco rollers. Of the 4 roller guide rods, 2 rods were heavy duty and 2 were SUPER heavy duty and received a lot of action when we went to the Keys either spending their time fighting Yellowfin Tuna or an occasional Marlin..

For the price I paid for JUST the 2 SUPER heavy duty rods, I could have bought ALL 8 rods AND reels that I now own! I remember my "at the time" wife, having a CONNIPTION fit when she saw how much I paid for all 6 rods, and then I let her know that I was going to be pairing the 2 SUPER heavy duty rods with Penn Internationals! Its one of those things, you're not going to put a $140 Penn Senator on an $850 rod because its like putting a 100hp outboard on a 32 foot Contender offshore boat! ... and its a rare person nowadays who can afford to put those quad 450hp motors on their 32 Contender!

Add to that, you can go to Wallymart and pick up an offshore rod AND reel, fully spooled with line, for under $100 dollars and when new, will catch most anything, and then people come home, they toss it into the corner in the garage or leave it on the boat and if it doesn't work the next time they take it out, they go buy another one. It's the "disposable society" at its finest!

In my opinion, Roller guides aren't going out of style, its just getting harder to find people who appreciate what they own anymore.

Tony Boschi
Banana River Rods
Merritt Island, Florida

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Re: Why Are Fewer People Using Roller Guides?
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: February 20, 2020 01:27PM

Tony,
Thanks for your contribution. You may be correct but, in general, I think we have all found off-shore and fly anglers spending considerably more on their equipment than the average spin or cast fisherman.

Mark Talmo
FISHING IS NOT AN ESCAPE FROM LIFE BUT RATHER A DEEPER IMMERSION INTO IT!!!

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