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Guide size and seat size advice for a beginner
Posted by: Kyle Warrenfeltz (---.hsd1.md.comcast.net)
Date: November 21, 2021 09:49AM

I’ve recently come into a lot of extra time at home and decided to pick up the hobby. I’ve been gathering some equipment and supplies and I’m starting to build a list of components I want to use on my first couple of rods.

I took advantage of the NFC sale and got 5 blanks to start on. A SJ 603, 2 MB 663, a MB 733 and a SJ 736. The 603 will be a spinning rod for my 7 year old nephew to build for himself. He wants orange on it so I’m thinking since it will be beat up by a child I’m just going to go with some cheaper components like a CRB seat and CRB performance guide kit. This rod will be exclusively used with mono line.

The 663’s my brother and I will be building as wading rods for creeks and rivers. Both of us have larger hands, so I imagine having a size 17 seat will benefit us, so I was thinking something like a SK2 in a 17. I have not given much thought to guide trains on these rods. Would I benefit from using something like a KR concept on these for shorter, accurate casts, or would something in a pre assembled kit work fine?

Now the 733 and 736 are where I’m needing the most help. The MB 733 will be built in a spinning config using a soft touch carbon grip from NFC and a VSS seat. I want to go with a “micro” setup. I’ll be using 10lb braid to fluoro leader in a 2000 size reel. Fuji software suggests a 16h 8h 5.5m then runners. Does this seem correct? I’m admittedly ignorant to how the high frame guides translate to sizes of traditional guides. In addition to this, is a 16h from Fuji and a 16h from American tackle the same size? I’m undecided on guide brand and I’m open to suggestions from guys who’ve built similar rods.

The SJ 736 will built into a casting config to be used for jigs, tx rigs, and other general purpose bass techniques throwing 12-17lb fluoro. Again, I’ve done a lot of reading and come up with some info suggesting to start with a 10 8 6 all the way out. I like the aesthetic of a double foot guide so I was thinking something like a KW 10-8-7 a couple KB 6’s then KT 6 all the way out, possibly 2-3 KT 5’s on the end. Would the 7 in there add any particular benefit or just skip to a 6? Again, I’ve also looked at other guides than Fuji, like the AT tiforged. I’m completely open to any and all advice from you experienced builders.

I understand that custom rod building is just that. I just want to make sure I’m in the right ballpark as I’d love to grab most of these components during any potential sales this coming week!

Thanks for any advice you can offer!

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Re: Guide size and seat size advice for a beginner
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: November 21, 2021 11:47AM

Spinning rods? If you have larger hands than you should size the seat to fit your hands. A 20 or even 22 is not at all too large. A 17 is tiny compared. The common pipe style seats are hard to beat.


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Re: Guide size and seat size advice for a beginner
Posted by: roger wilson (---)
Date: November 21, 2021 12:10PM

Congratulations on starting such a hobby.

However, I would like to make a suggestion.

The blanks that you mention are all wonderful blanks and all will provide years of fishing pleasure.

Have you ever wrapped and finished a rod of any sort ever before?

If not, stop take a breath and pause for a moment.

A person wants to have great looking rods to use and to give away and or sell. But, for most folks - the first rod that they build will be a far cry from the 10th or 100th rod that they build. As with anything perfection comes with practice.

I would very strongly suggest that you purchase some very inexpensive components to build your first rod or two. i.e. a blank that cost $20, guides that cost less than $1 and a reel seat and grip that sell for $5. For example, Pac Bay Minima guides work very well for a fishing rod and are quite inexpensive. Foam grips work very well and are very inexpensive. A simple tube reel seat is inexpensive and works very well.

Then, go ahead and practice building the rod, marking the blank for guides, wrapping the guide, placing and gluing up the reel seat and grip.

Then, when you have done this, take a razor blade and cut all of the guides off the rod and do it two or three more times practicing different techniques, different guide placement etc. and then putting a reel on the seat and doing some practice casts - without ever applying finish on the guides.

Then, cut the guides off again and do it a few more times practicing some different looks with thread trim etc. Finally after about the 5th time that you do it, you may find that the guides that you have selected are not the right side or height.. If so, try some different sizes and or guide heights to get a better understanding for the effects of changing the guides. Finally, go ahead and mix up and apply finish to your guides and let dry.

After each practice session that you have wrapped the guides, take pictures of your work.

Then, after doing it for about the 5th time or so, compare the results of your first wrap to the 5th time that you wrapped to see the progress that you have made.

Then, with a bunch of practice under your belt - take one of the blanks that you actually want to use, select the guides of your choice, along with reel seat and grips and enjoy.

But, unless you are building for your rods to be in a museum, you are building a tool. You are constructing a tool to catch fish. So, enjoy the hobby and push it in what ever direction you wish to go. The hobby will likely get under your skin and you will go on from the first start and enjoy using the rods that you build for yourself and others.

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Re: Guide size and seat size advice for a beginner
Posted by: Kyle Warrenfeltz (8.48.6.---)
Date: November 21, 2021 12:43PM

Roger, all very good advice. I do have a couple of old rods that I’ve stripped and will practice on. I’ve got a pile of old kigan and seaguides from broken Dobyns rods that I’ve had replaced. I will be practicing for sure. I’ll also say that I am taking the mudhole 2 day class that comes with a full rod build as well.

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Re: Guide size and seat size advice for a beginner
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: November 22, 2021 12:16AM

Tom offered good advice regarding spinning reel seat size = custom-tailor the size of the seat to be comfortable FOR YOU. My decrepit old hands really benefit from a larger seat than what others may consider to be“the norm”.
Roger also offers good advice = practice (and persistence) does make perfect. However, I enjoy looking at my first rod build and comparing it to what I have accomplished with practice and perseverance. Although that first rod may be a bit “dumpy” compared to my present builds, it can be fun (embarrassing, nah) to compare. While I have not taken any rod building classes, doing so can only be a general benefit with possibly one exception = they will only teach you THEIR way! Rest assured there are numerous ways / methods / styles / procedures of rod building and do not be afraid of exploring the variables, especially if they are your own!!!
While I am not familiar with the specific NFC blanks you purchased, be assured they are of very good quality. It is quite common knowledge within this site that I am a fuji guy and rightfully so; I am also relatively new to rod building and trust their profound impact on the industry. That being said, if considering employing a <2000 spinning size reel spooled with <15lb braid / <6lb mono you CANNOT GO WRONG with a reduction train of Fuji KL16H, 8H, 5.5M followed by a few KBs and KTs of your size choice with a LG tip top. Stepping-up to a 20H, 10H, 5.5M will add more versatility if a larger reel or line is ever used without sacrificing much with the smaller gear. Fuji’s KR Concept is a real game-changer. As for the casting rod, others may be better qualified to answer. Nonetheless, you may find all your different sizes unneeded (if not unwanted). Go with a KW10, KW6 followed with KBs and KTs out to a LG tip top. While considerably more expensive yet following a more prescribed casting micro guide train, utilize a RV6 butt guide. It’s height is between that of a KW10 and KW 8 meaning you might be able to use a KW8 as the stripper = safe bet =the KW10. Hopefully, veterans such as Norman Miller will inject their wisdom from which both of us may learn.
In closing, I applaud you for taking a reasonable / informatible approach to rod building; rather than simply jumping right-in and going-for-it, you are enrolled in a class and asking questions; you will benefit immensely.

Mark Talmo

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Re: Guide size and seat size advice for a beginner
Posted by: Jim Ising (38.35.168.---)
Date: November 22, 2021 09:37AM

SK2 is a great choice where minimum weight is the goal. It is not as forgiving as a DPS or VSS seat. Both are more substantial "handfuls". SK2 is two piece...which can be challenging for beginners. Build it KR Concept with a 20 stripper and you are off to the races.

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Re: Guide size and seat size advice for a beginner
Posted by: Michael Tarr (---)
Date: November 22, 2021 10:16AM

I’m also a novice to rod building, not my day job. I picked up building rods 3 years ago when my first son was born and my “free” time was slowly transformed from fishermen to diaper changer. In that time I’ve built/rebuilt around 15 rods mostly casting and a few spinning. I built all my spinning rods using fuji’s NGC and I couldn’t be happier with the performance, I like the NGC so much I’ve rebuilt a couple of old spinning rods in this layout.

I would agree with Mark on the guide sizes for both casting and spinning. For a casting rod there’s no need to start with a 10mm, the 8mm works perfectly for low profile bait casters and skip the in between go directly to the 6mm’s. The spinning rods I built all of them using size 20h strippers for versatility but if you strictly use light line I would think a 16h would be perfectly fine.

I use Fuji guides on most of my builds. I tried American Tackle’s guides but on two different guides the ceramic ring popped out and material seems too soft and easily damaged. I’ve also used the minimum guides on UL rods without issue.

The NFC soft grips (best grips ever) for the VSS reel seat only match to the VSS 16.

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Re: Guide size and seat size advice for a beginner
Posted by: Norman Miller (---)
Date: November 22, 2021 12:26PM

I like KR concept guides for both spinning and casting. For a 2000 size spinning reel using light mono or braid, a size 16H based reduction train will work fine (KL16H, KL8H, and KL5.5M). If you are going to be using heavier line and/or a larger reel then a 20H based reduction train (KL20H, KL10H, KL5.5M) might give you a little more versatility, as mentioned above. The runners should all be the same size, in your case I would recommend size 5 runners, using one or two KB5, followed by KT5s and a LG5 tip top. You can use the KR GPS at Anglers Resource to get a good starting point for your guide train layout. As a word of caution, the KR GPS does not do a great job on 6’ or shorter rods, in my opinion, it puts the choke guide too close to the stripper. On shorter rods I move the choke guide out to about 19” to 20” in front of the stripper, and will always use one or two more runners than suggested. The KL-H guides are a small ring high frame guide. The height of the guide helps prevent line slap and the smaller ring helps to effectively choke the line coils coming off the reel spool. A size 16H guide is about the same height as a size 20Y guide or a size 25V guide. The 20H guide is about the height of a 25Y or 30V guide.
For KR casting rods, I would used a KW10, followed by a KW5.5 transition guide. Again, size 5 KB/KT runners will work great. I normally use two or three KBs, followed by KTs to a LG tip top. For a 7’3” rod I would use nine to ten guides total. With the stripper placed about 20” in front of the reel, and the remaining guides placed progressively in front of it. A two line static test will allow you to fine tune the spacing to help distribute the load when flexed.
If you need help with the guide train layout spacing for you rods please contact me via email. To get my email address just click on my name.
I’m not a big fan of the SK2 reel seats. Over the past few years I have gravitated to the VSS17, and the IPS reel seats. Both are very comfortable and hand filling, with an OD of about 27 mm. I use either cork or the NFC carbon fiber grips that fit these seats. For your nephew you could certainly the EVA grips for these seats. Again if you need any help with these grips, just contact me, and I’ll be happy to help.

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Re: Guide size and seat size advice for a beginner
Posted by: Lance Schreckenbach (---.lightspeed.hstntx.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 22, 2021 01:43PM

SK for a spinning rod it is not very comfortable to cast all day, for a casting rod it's the cat's meow, makes the rod much lighter. If you build things already, you shouldn't have a lot of problems with rod building. Just make sure your epoxy is mixed well and apply thin coats over the wraps. There are too many techniques to go over but you are on the correct path. Your component knowledge is pretty good and sounds like it will work.

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Re: Guide size and seat size advice for a beginner
Posted by: David Baylor (---.res6.spectrum.com)
Date: November 22, 2021 08:06PM

I am glad to see others talking about comfort of split reel seats on spinning rods. I agree, they are not comfortable to fish with. At least I don't think so. When you're using a spinning rod, you're holding the reel seat, and the split seats cause unusual pressure points on your hand. I'd go with the pipe style seat as others have suggested, or a skeleton seat with an insert, which is pretty much the same as a pipe seat from a feel standpoint.

As far as guide trains go ..... no offense to anyone else, but I would go with Norman's suggestions. Although I will say that I still use a 3 double foot reduction train on casting rods. I'll be trying my first casting KR set up that Norman spoke of, on a rod I am currently building. If I don't like the looks of it, (and it will be strictly based on how it looks) I will be using the 3 double foots that I normally use.

Oh, and if you're still choosing grips, you might take a look at the carbon fiber grips from Forecast. It's a Batson company. I have one on the build I have in progress, and it is a nice grip. It may be my imagination, but the foam seems to be of higher density than the CFX grips that Mud Hole offers. It's a really nice grip.

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Re: Guide size and seat size advice for a beginner
Posted by: Tom Kirkman (Moderator)
Date: November 22, 2021 11:02PM

The ergonomics of most fishing rod reel seats is absolutely awful. Few follow proper bio-mechanical principles. Terrible in nearly all regards. Custom rod builders can do better. The companies that make these seats should do better.


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Re: Guide size and seat size advice for a beginner
Posted by: roger wilson (---)
Date: November 23, 2021 10:01AM

Copy the comments about many reel seats being uncomfortable over a long day of fishing.

Hence, my general use with full length grips and formed of a size, such that the grip and reel seat comfortably fills the inside of the hand when using and casting. At the end of the day, no pressure points and or sore spots in the hand.

Best wishes

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Re: Guide size and seat size advice for a beginner
Posted by: Kyle Warrenfeltz (---.hsd1.md.comcast.net)
Date: November 23, 2021 07:18PM

Thank all of you for chiming in in such depth! You’ve all given me great advice. I decided against a split seat on the spinning rods for my first couple of builds. I was able to take advantage of the voodoo sale and save a rack of money. 5 sets worth of Fuji guides, 3 AT aero seats with Winn grip sets, a VSS and a ACSM both with hidden thread hoods and matagi carbon fiber rings to match the NFC soft touch grips.

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Re: Guide size and seat size advice for a beginner
Posted by: David Baylor (---.res6.spectrum.com)
Date: November 24, 2021 05:35PM

I just got done placing the guides for the build I have in progress. As I mentioned in my prior post, I was going to try the KR casting set up instead of the normal three double foot guide reduction train I have been using. Whenever I have mentioned using the 3 double foot guides in the past, I said that I used that set up because it just looks right to me. I'm used to seeing it on casting rods, so yeah it looks right. I also reasoned that using the 3 double foot guides carried a little more height down the blank, and that it probably results in me using 1 less guide than I would if I were to use the KR casting set up. Well .....

I don't know if the latter part of what I just said is true. I did both set ups on the rod I am building ..... one, to see if it looked ok to me, and two, to see how many guides I'd need in total. Using the 3 double foot guide reduction train, KW 10, KW 8, and KW 6, with the rest of the guides being either KB 5's or KT 5's, I used 10 guides. Using the KR casting set up, a KW 10, followed by a KW 5.5, with the rest of the guides being either KB 5's or KT 5's, I used 10 guides. Same number of guides. So evidently, at least in this case, on a 6' 2" rod. I used the same number of guides.

The reason I said "in this case" is because I don't know if I would always use the same number of guides with either set up. The rod I am building currently, is a jerkbait rod. Meaning it's not a rod I really don't need to worry about protecting the blank with an extra guide or two. I'm not going to be boat flipping fish with this rod, like I do with the higher powered rods I use for flipping and pitching. If this current rod were a rod I might boat flip a fish with, I would have added one extra guide in the tip area with the KR casting set up.

As for how the KR set up looks. It's not what I am used to, and while it looks less substantial, from simply a looks standpoint it looks more custom than the 3 double foots do, As I said earlier, it's a jerkbait rod. And I have it built on a blank labeled as a spinning blank, so the blank is more slender than an MB or similar tapered blank would be. So I like it.

Oh and I did CCS tests for IP and AA for the rod. I trimmed 6" off the butt of the blank, so these numbers wouldn't directly apply to a non trimmed version of the blank I used. That blank Being a Rainshadow Revelation REVS 68 ML. Anyhow, the numbers I came up with is an IP of 443 grams, with an AA of 72 .....mayyyybe 73.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 11/24/2021 08:30PM by David Baylor.

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Re: Guide size and seat size advice for a beginner
Posted by: ben belote (---.hsd1.md.comcast.net)
Date: November 24, 2021 07:06PM

sounds like it,s going to be a fun rod David.

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Re: Guide size and seat size advice for a beginner
Posted by: David Baylor (---.res6.spectrum.com)
Date: November 24, 2021 08:52PM

Thanks Ben, I think it's going to be too. It's going to be a pretty one as well. Now if I can just get it done and get out on the water before the water freezes. lol

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