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Pac Bay Minima questions, and introduction
Posted by: Eric Garza (---.burlingtontelecom.net)
Date: September 09, 2020 07:48AM

Greetings folks!

I had a custom rod building business back in the late 1990s and into the very early 2000s based in the Midwest US. I specialized in light and ultralight rods, particularly spinning, and built for a few bank fishers in the Chicago area who wanted European-style match fishing rods (long, fast action, light tips, tiny guides). I even made several rods (and did a lot of repairs) for Mick Thill, who played a big role in introducing European float fishing to the US and who sadly died some years back. I loved the tiny match guides (size 10 down to size 4) and imported various brands from Europe to use on spinning rods, with great success.

I lost interest in fishing and rod building around 2002-2003 for various reasons, closed my business, and went on with life. Earlier this summer my interest piqued again, and I poked around online to see how the arena has changed. Oh boy, has it! It is wonderful to see how common micro guides are now, and the variety that are available!

Question 1: After surveying the micro guide landscape, I am particularly interested in guides with stainless steel rings and PVD coatings. The Pacific Bay Model M Minima in TiBlack and Titanium TiBlack have particularly caught my eye. Anyone know how much of a weight difference there is between the stainless steel framed TiBlack version and the titanium framed TiBlack version?

Question 2: What other brands of ultra light, high framed "match" guides are out there that offer stainless rings and PVD coatings? I saw that Seaguide offers the Model HLG that is listed as being available with various PVD coatings, but I cannot find anyone who sells it! Anyone know where I might get a set to try out?

Question 3: I have read several threads suggesting the use of ceramic ringed tops with the minimas. This makes sense to me, but I am curious if anyone has had better luck with minima tops that have PVD coatings? As for ceramic tops, I am eyeing AT's Nanolite tops, CRB's zirconia tops, and of course Fuji's Alconite LG tops because they are all offered in a frame/tube color that matches the TiBlack.

I look forward to reading folks thoughts. Thanks for this wonderful resource! I have spent hours reading threads here since finding this site a few months back.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/09/2020 12:01PM by Eric Garza.

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Re: Pac Bay Minima questions, and introduction
Posted by: Arthur Lin (---.msl-mt.client.bresnan.net)
Date: September 09, 2020 09:37AM

Hey Eric,

So here is a little information for you. Here is a link to the SeaGuide Adaman PVD ( a little over twice as thick and durable as any other PVD on the market). [rodbuilderswarehouse.com]

If you want an excellent top try the silicon nitride tops. Silicon nitride ceramics were created to be ball bearings in jet engines. It is not quite as hard as SIC, but way more durable. Silicon nitride is the lightest ceramic on the market. For instance a size 6 guide ring for a stainless ring is .065 gram, and a silicon nitride RS is .041 gram. SeaGuide offers this ring top in stainless and titanium frames and an excellent choice. [rodbuilderswarehouse.com]

Please let me know if you have any questions.

American Rodbuilders Warehouse

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Re: Pac Bay Minima questions, and introduction
Posted by: Eric Garza (---.burlingtontelecom.net)
Date: September 09, 2020 11:40AM

Thanks Arthur, so the "black PVD coating" that you linked to on the HLG page is the Adaman coating? I just want to be sure.

Also, the SiNi ring seems insanely light! I will read up on it. If it is lighter than a stainless steel ring, that pretty much defeats the purpose of buying guides with ss rings for their lightness, which is why I was attracted to them. Do you know if Seaguide offers the HLG guides with the silicon nitride rings?

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Re: Pac Bay Minima questions, and introduction
Posted by: Robert Flowers (---)
Date: September 09, 2020 07:31PM

This link is obviously to a Fuji Site, and will point out the Fuji hardware in the best possible light. However, Fuji is a very well respected ompany, and worth taking as look at. So here's the link - [therodq.com] Add it to your research.

Tight lines and frisky fish

RJF

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Re: Pac Bay Minima questions, and introduction
Posted by: Eric Garza (---.burlingtontelecom.net)
Date: September 09, 2020 07:42PM

I have already done plenty of research on Fuji, and my first build (finished last weekend) included a guide train of alconites. They are good guides, but the frames are heavy and I am not fond of the runner guides having two stems leading to the foot. When I finished the guide wraps, the finished kept creeping up to fill the hole between the stems and it took work to get that cleaned out. I want runner guides that are single-stem. I also want to reduce weight, (I am still interested in light and ultralight fishing) hence my interest in PacBay's Minimas and Seaguides HLGs with stainless rings and a PVD coating. If Fuji offered something similar, I would be interested. They do not, as best I can tell.

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Re: Pac Bay Minima questions, and introduction
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: September 10, 2020 01:16AM

Eric,
The Fuji KBs and KTs are very stout for such tiny guides with a minimal weight due to the open area between the legs. If you are encountering difficulty by filling the gap between the legs, consider backing off, WAY BACK, on the epoxy application.

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

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Re: Pac Bay Minima questions, and introduction
Posted by: Norman Miller (---)
Date: September 10, 2020 12:04PM

Comparing the Minima M vs the SeaGuide HLG, the Minima M are a little taller for a given ring size, and come in a titanium frame. For example, the Minima M 20 is 47 mm high and the HLG 20 is 41.4 mm. PacBay also makes ceramic match guides which also come in a titanium frame. Both the Fuji KL-H guides and the SeaGuide XOH guides are basically modern souped up match guides, I.e. high frame small ring guides. Both have a higher frame height for a given ring size than either the Minima M or HLG guides. and both come with a titanium frame option. I have not used the HLG guides, but have used the others in KR concept builds, and they all work extremely well. However, the SeaGuide XOH guide series doesn’t have a size 8 XOH, so it’s not possible to do a KR 16H based reduction train with the XOH guides. About 30 to 40 years ago, I made some spinning rods using high frame match guides throughout the length of the rod including the tip top. One thing I can say is that the KR concept is superior to a traditional European match guide setup. The SeaGuide titanium XOH guides with the RS ring are very light and cost less than the Fuji Torzite KL-H guides. The titanium Ti-black Minima M guides are less expensive than the others, and are also extremely light, but not as durable.
Norm

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Re: Pac Bay Minima questions, and introduction
Posted by: Eric Garza (---.burlingtontelecom.net)
Date: September 10, 2020 12:39PM

Thanks for this reply. I am intrigued by the SeaGuides, but the challenge seems to be getting them. America Rodbuilding Warehouse carries some, but do not seem to have tiptops with a size 4 ring at the moment, as best I can tell. Their RS ring particularly intrigues me. Based on figures Rick Hall sent me via email, that ring is lighter than a stainless steel ring of similar outer diameter. If that is true, that is definitely a mark in SeaGuide's favor. The main reason I was drawn to steel rings with PVD coatings was to minimize the weight of my guide train. If I can do that with a ceramic ring at a reasonable cost, I am happy to use ceramics.

A side question I am pondering is: How valuable is the weight reduction offered by titanium, for freshwater applications? For tiny size 4 running guides, I imagine the weight reduction, in grams, is microscopic. And added weight towards the tip of the rod is probably where it impacts sensitivity and responsiveness most.

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Re: Pac Bay Minima questions, and introduction
Posted by: Norman Miller (---)
Date: September 10, 2020 03:28PM

Titanium guides are lighter, but the smaller the guide the smaller the difference in weight. The RS ring comes in both SS and titanium frames, the Torzite ring only comes in a titanium frame. I use mostly stainless steel Fuji KR guides, but do use Minima guides especially for UL and L freshwater rods. I have Fuji KR titanium guides and SeaGuide titanium XOH guides, on my salt water rods, but to be honest I have a very difficult time determining a performance difference between titanium and SS guides. Most of the weight savings is due to the differences in the reduction guides, but these guides are located at a position where additional weight doesn’t matter as much. I can say that an entire set of Minima guides will weigh less than a single ceramic SS size 20 or 25 stripper, but most of that weight savings is due to the reduction guides, the runners have a much smaller difference in weight. As with most things there are trade offs, and rod building is no exception.
Norm

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Re: Pac Bay Minima questions, and introduction
Posted by: Joe Vanfossen (---.neo.res.rr.com)
Date: September 10, 2020 05:57PM

I knew I had some notes tucked away on guide masses somewhere, and I found them. I should have some 4mm Minima guides tucked away somewhere. If I can find them, have enough to get a decent average mass, and go to the office tomorrow I will get a little more data.

A number of years back, Rick Hall sent me some samples to share during a gathering of local rod builders. Before I gave them out as door prizes, I measured their masses. I will say that Sea Guide makes a very nice guide, and nice stuff in general and was certainly on par with the competition and usually with a neat little design feature thrown in here or there.


Brand Series Model Ring Mass(g) Sample Size
Sea Guide XMG TIXMRSG 4 0.06 7
Sea Guide XOG-N SCXORSG 4 0.08 10
Forecast PMK BMKLG. 4 0.10 9
Alps MK XPTCMKAG 4 0.13 10

Given the width of the foot on the Minima guides, I would not be surprised if they came in a bit heavier or at least comparable to the Batson ceramics.

Over the years, I've settled on 4mm as being the sweet spot for the rods I build, mostly lighter powered bass rods. I would not hesitate to drop to 3's on a whippy UL blank.

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Re: Pac Bay Minima questions, and introduction
Posted by: Joe Vanfossen (---.neo.res.rr.com)
Date: September 16, 2020 07:45PM

Turns out, I didn't have any Minima guides on hand.

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