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Opinion in “single piece” boat guides
Posted by: Michael Ward (107.127.49.---)
Date: April 30, 2022 02:05PM

Opinion time…

There seems to be a large perceived “demand” for “single piece” insert-less guidesin the catfish & freshwater striped bass community and they are appearing on many of the China-built production rods targeting these segments. The attraction I believe largely due to the experience of these anglers with the cheap production Ugly Stick striper & catfish rods who’s rings would crack if you looked at them wrong and the ceramics fall out.

I’m genuinely interested in feedback in this style of guide vs the ceramic insert guides we’d use from the typical vendors that supply us in custom rod building….

Pros / Cons of the “boat” guides?

How will they hold up for those that fish saltwater? (Most are 304 stainless I believe). What differing levels of quality are there in these style guides used on the mass produced rods va similar styles we might procure?

How to communicate the quality of the ceramic insert based guides that we use in custom rod building…. And which is “better”?

discuss….. :)

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Re: Opinion in “single piece” boat guides
Posted by: Spencer Phipps (---)
Date: April 30, 2022 04:21PM

Anymore virtually an style guide can be bought with a SS inssert instead of ceramic ring, the rings are usually coated with something making their surface harder than the base stainless. The rings appear to me to be identical to ceramic versions with a metal ring swaged in it's place. Pac Bay has two versions, single, or double swaged, the single designated with a 3 in the part number, double swaged with a 4. As far as I know all have a hard chrome coating originally than any of the other coatings are added over that, ensuring a known level of durability no matter what finish you choose.

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Re: Opinion in “single piece” boat guides
Posted by: Mark Talmo (---)
Date: April 30, 2022 09:43PM

It is well known that I am a Fuji fan and rightfully so as their products are outstanding. I have never experienced a ceramic ring failure with any Fuji guide. That said, I would expect other modern, NAME BRAND guides would have secure ceramic rings as well. If you are looking for “insertless” guides, you will have to look for others than Fuji as all of theirs have some sort of ceramic insert. With 7 different ceramic options, Fuji offers the best choices when considering performance vs price vs durability. I normally opt for Alconite = it seems to be where the price, performance and durability scales intersect / cross = best compromise of the three worlds.
If the paramount concern of a particular rod build is weight, than obviously insertless guides would serve that purpose the best. But remember, the biggest weight gain of insert guides is in the large diameter reduction guides which are closer to the rod’s fulcrum which has less effect on “balance”. The smaller ring running guides may have more of a cantilevered effect on “balance”, but I have heard (cannot verify) an insert Fuji KT is virtually the same weight as an insertless Maxima F of the same size. Whether an insert or insertless guide train is chosen, I personally believe that an insert tip top is a must.
When I see or hear the term “boat guide”, I picture an old school (yet still being produced) double foot, wire frame, insertless guide. They have served their purpose for many, many years and will probably continue to do so. As with other insertless guides, some are offered with “hard chrome” plating. True “hard chrome” is MUCH harder than typical chrome and would obviously be a better option (if, in fact, it actually is “hard chrome”; how can one tell?). Nonetheless and in-the-end, no known metal (even Unobtainium) can withstand the abrasion or heat that ceramics can afford.
There are a number of guides, both insert and insertless, offered today with “PVD”, “plasma”, ect coatings; they are just that = a coating. With those coatings being only microns thick, in my opinion, they will wear away quite quickly, no matter how hard they claim to be. But if you like the gold / green / blue iridized appearance, then go for it.
Frame material. 302 / 303 / 304 SS (AKA 18-8 SS in the fastener industry) is less expensive than 316 SS which is less expensive than Ti. It is no wonder why 304 SS is the dominant material for guide frames. However, 304 SS is less corrosion resistant than 316 SS which is less corrosion resistant than Ti. Although even 316 SS can rust in severe (saltwater) conditions, it is considered to be the most corrosion-free of the commonly available SSs. A number of guide manufacturers offer 316 SS guides and it is certainly a very good bet when exposed to any saltwater environment. In their infinite wisdom, Fuji has chosen to not offer 316 SS for their frames, disappointing to me. Although Ti is virtually corrosion PROOF, depending on the alloy it can exhibit a “brittle” nature. Yes, it is extremely strong for its weight, but it may not be the best choice depending on the alloy and application.
Any mention of heavy duty guides must include rollers. They are the MOST line-friendly, friction-free guides available if maintained and operating properly PERIOD. Improperly maintained / functioning rollers may be the worst thing to have on a rod! I feel the recent move away from rollers is simply due to people not wanting to assume the extra 5 minutes required to flush their rollers with fresh water while rotating them. To each their own.
Rollers aside, I trust and rely upon an appropriate Fuji guide with an Alconite insert for over 90% of my builds, fresh or saltwater. Although I have tried and will continue to use other manufacturers given certain circumstances, Fuji has never let me down = why change?

Mark Talmo

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Re: Opinion in “single piece” boat guides
Posted by: ben belote (---.hsd1.va.comcast.net)
Date: May 01, 2022 09:40AM

Like Mark I have never had a guide failure mainly because I do not leave my rods on the boat deck or floor where I can do a bill dance on them..lol.

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Re: Opinion in “single piece” boat guides
Posted by: Lance Schreckenbach (---.lightspeed.hstntx.sbcglobal.net)
Date: May 02, 2022 04:52PM

Fujis are great guides and I have had the same experience as mentioned. You may also want to consider REC guides without incerts. They are virtually indestructible and will not corrode. They are a bit pricey but you also won't have to worry about them.

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