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Cobia spinning rod guide advice
Posted by: Patrick Dickhudt (---.res.spectrum.com)
Date: January 17, 2021 12:44PM

Hi all,

I'm new to rod building but really enjoying it so far. I'm planning my third build and have my mind tied up in knots over guide spacing. I've done a lot of internet searching but still have some things I can't quite wrap my head around. Hoping someone on here can help.

I'm building a rod for sight casting to cobia and big red drum in the Outer Banks, NC and Chesapeake Bay, VA. The drum are usually in huge schools of 30-50 pound fish and cobia are in the 20-80 pound range. I already have a rod that does well with fish up to 40 pounds or so and want to build something for the big girls. Looking at a RodGeeks X-Comp XC734 paired with a Shimano Stradic 8000 with 40# braid (already have the reel). Will be pretty exclusively tossing bulky 2 oz bucktails with 6" curly tail. Long casts can be very helpful with drum but my primary concern is cobia which usually requires medium distance and good accuracy.

So far I've built a couple inshore trout/redfish rods with KR concept spacing and that was pretty straight forward and I'm happy with the results. Of course the GPS software doesn't cover a reel of this size but if I try 27x (58 mm spool diameter) for example it puts the choke at something like 62" from reel shaft and only leaves enough room for maybe 2 running guides past the choke. I've seen plenty of responses that say that is OK but then what does my reduction train look like? Do I need at least 5 guides in the reduction train to end up with at least 8 guides total? Seems like it is usually recommended to have 3 or 4 reduction guides. Maybe this guide placement strategy just doesn't make sense for this build?

Alternatively, I could go with RodGeeks recommended guide layout which is guides sized 20/16/10/8/8/8/8/8/8 at 49/38/28/21/16.5/12.5/9/6/3 inches from tip. A size 20 stripping guide seems small for this reel. If so, should I just buy a selection of guides up to maybe 30, Use the first size 8 as a choke point and use table edge or similar method to lay out reduction guides that start with a bigger (25 or 30) stripper. Also, with a 10 - 12" rear grip the RodGeeks layout puts the stripping guide at 20-22" past the reel shaft. I get the impression that a little farther would be better with a reel of this size and 40# braid. If that distance should be greater and I push the stripping guide towards the tip a few inches, is that compromising guide placement for fish fighting ability?

Obviously I've found a lot of information but don't really have the intuition that comes from experience to make an informed decision. I really appreciate any wisdom and advice. I'm having a hard time judging how much of the placement guidance is geared towards optimization and how far away from the placement guidance you can diverge before you end up with a rod that performs poorly. Ultimately I don't need to win any casting contests. I need a rod that can make a relatively quick and accurate cast and then pull hard on a big angry fish. Also, if anyone has any comments on the XC734 for this application, I'd love to hear em.

Kitty Hawk, NC

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Re: Cobia spinning rod guide advice
Posted by: Kent Griffith (---)
Date: January 17, 2021 12:57PM

Over on the left side of the forum are links to sponsors and several resource websites.

Try angler's resource for guide placement assistance:


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Re: Cobia spinning rod guide advice
Posted by: Robert A. Guist (---.res6.spectrum.com)
Date: January 17, 2021 01:11PM

Hello Patrick.

There is a "library" tap at the top of the page, read


Between those two you should get an idea of what to do, but Kent's idea is a good one for the Fuji guide stuff.
There is a search button but if you use it change to "all dates".

Welcome to the addiction.

Tight Wraps & Tighter Lines.


New Bern, NC.

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Re: Cobia spinning rod guide advice
Posted by: Russell Brunt (---.lightspeed.miamfl.sbcglobal.net)
Date: January 17, 2021 01:13PM

Those of us the use big reels on short rods will run into this problem and get confused by the instructions. Given a big enough reel and a short enough rod your choker guide will be your tip top!

So locate your choker guide where the math calls for. Place the remaining running guides every equal distance apart out to the tip top. Figure around 4" to maybe 6" apart. Don't stress you are going to do a static test latter and relocate them. The choker will stay where it is though as it locates all the reduction guides.

Now take a thin string, like guide wrapping sting, and tie it to choker guide and reel spool axle. Take your butt guide, high frame size 30, start near the reel and slide it along the blank until the outside frame just touches the line. Tape it in place there. It should end up between 22" to 28" from reel spool. Now do the same thing with the rest of the reduction guides. I'd be looking to put eight guides on the blank. If that means you need six reduction guides so be it.

You will want to use a "concept" type guide frame like the Fuji BYAG. If you want to go with double foot guides you will need to use a much larger butt guide.

I suspect the guide spacing chart you saw was for a conventional reel. No experience with the XC734. Don't forget to read up on static guide placement.

Russ in Hollywood, FL.

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Re: Cobia spinning rod guide advice
Posted by: Patrick Dickhudt (---.res.spectrum.com)
Date: January 17, 2021 03:43PM

Wow! Thanks for the quick responses. A big help and now I can proceed with some confidence that I'm on the right track. Really appreciate it!


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Re: Cobia spinning rod guide advice
Posted by: Spencer Phipps (---.hsd1.or.comcast.net)
Date: January 17, 2021 07:52PM

I'm no expert on all the Rod Geek blanks, but aren't the XC blanks built more for soaking bait? I would think a live bait, or musky blank would be the ticket. My G Loomis musky rods worked great for that when I was stationed in Florida, caught lots of cobia and jacks on them among other things.

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Re: Cobia spinning rod guide advice
Posted by: Chris Morilla (---)
Date: January 17, 2021 08:43PM

Spencer, they make an ok spinning rod. I have a 731 and 732 I use for similar purposes as the OP, but they seem to be tip heavy, even with single foot runners. With that said, they cast well have some great pulling power. I also have a 736 I use for snapper fishing (conventional set up), and it is absolutely perfect for that type of fishing.

To the OP, don’t be afraid to use a double foot stripper guide and switch to single foots for the remainder of the guide train. I have my 731 and 732 built this way, and am a big fan of this style of guide train.

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Re: Cobia spinning rod guide advice
Posted by: Lance Schreckenbach (---.lightspeed.hstntx.sbcglobal.net)
Date: January 18, 2021 06:04PM

I think I would go with a 7'6" to 8' heavy IM blank for that kind of rod and use Fuji RV Guides all the way. RV 25, RV 16, RV-8 and the rest RV 6 with a 8 mm tip top. My reasoning for the length is because I would want a long rear grip for leverage and long foregrip for fighting. The RV 25 is a good size for the larger spool size on the reel and can be set closer than a 20 to the reel. A 20 seems like it would slap line on that reel. Line up the first 3 guides with the reel to choke point line (like a bullseye) then the running train progressively spaced. Probably 8 to 10 guides total plus a tip top. Use the shaft of the reel to make your line to the choke point. Tie a string to the shaft and keep it at the shaft angle to choke point. If it is to far out to the tip then just make your own choke point somewhere behind the major bend of the rod. Line up your stripper guides with that line. You really don't need Fuji software.

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Re: Cobia spinning rod guide advice
Posted by: Patrick Dickhudt (---.res.spectrum.com)
Date: January 19, 2021 10:04PM

Thanks for the additional advice. There is no where near me to lay hands on blanks so I'm stuck soaking up what I can online and trying to make decisions from that. I'm so new to this that in part I'm trying to use different materials, etc to give me perspective and figure out what the differences are and what I like. I know I don't want to go over 7'6 for bucktails. I'm actually replacing an 8' that just isn't nimble enough. Sometimes the fish pop up close and you need to make a quick short cast. The rod I mostly sight cast with is 7'6. I don't think 3" less will really be an issue. ' I've seen a few people who posted they love the XC734 for cobia. If they cast well and pull hard, that pretty much fits the bill. Honestly, I'm mostly trying to target the right power. Too light and I still don't have a big fish rod and too heavy and it won't be fun to fish. The XC was attractive because they are pretty light but have a lot of power.

My plan was to start with a double foot 30 and go single from there. I'll prob just buy all sizes 25 down to 8 and see what fits then go size 7 or 8 runners.

If anyone has any other rod recommendations, I'm all ears. I just upgraded to a bigger boat with a tower last weekend (which is why I need another cobia rod :-) ) so I can't really shell out more than ~$120 on a blank.

Thanks again everyone!

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