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Fly Rod Guide Sizes
Posted by: Sam Hare (---.dhcp-dynamic.fibreop.nl.bellaliant.net)
Date: January 25, 2024 03:46PM

I perhaps opened a tiny can of worms on my last post about the “Choker” guide on a spinning rod :-) … but this question should be easier: I plan on building a nine foot, 4 piece, 8 weight fly rod. Haven’t bought the blank yet, but what size guides … snake eyes and stripping guides … would you suggest I purchase? Also, one more guide than the length ie 10 guides … or should I try a couple of extra as some seem to suggest? Thanks for any input you can provide.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 01/25/2024 03:50PM by Sam Hare.

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Re: Fly Rod Guide Sizes
Posted by: Mike Juliana (136.226.57.---)
Date: January 25, 2024 06:26PM

You'll probably get lots of different opinions but a 16, 12, and then 8 size 2 double-foot snake guides would probably be my starting point. The running guides just need to be able to pass the biggest knot you'll have. I always buy an extra running guide or two in case the static load tests suggest it wants an extra guide.

- Mike J

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Re: Fly Rod Guide Sizes
Posted by: Sam Hare (---.dhcp-dynamic.fibreop.nl.bellaliant.net)
Date: January 25, 2024 08:09PM

Thanks, Mike. Do you have a link to info concerning static load tests? Seems a little technical … not familiar with it. Just started on this rod building journey. I have a ten foot fly rod started … basically followed the guide sizes from my 10 1/2 foot that I presently use for that one. I’ve had it for ages … it used to be an 11 footer but I fell and cracked about 5 or 6 inches off the tip some years ago so I just removed the tip top from the piece that was broken off, sanded the broken tip a little, and epoxied the old tip top on. It’s been working great ever since. Until last summer, that is. It’s a three piece and just as the season was ending, the butt section got stuck to the middle section and I tried everything to get them apart … and I do mean EVERYTHING. Finally, after repeated attempts with ice on one piece and a heat gun trained on the other, I was about to give up. Sat on my back patio after the last attempt and tried to twist it. After a little while there was just the BAREST of movements. Then it finally gave way. I’ve had stuck rod sections before but nothing like that. But, I’m glad in a way because it started me on this rod building hobby. You see, one of the stripping guides was right at the end of the midsection and in trying to get the two pieces apart, it got practically twisted off. The cork grip was worn out as well so I decided to replace it. Of course, that meant I had to remove the first stripping guide, too since it was on the butt section. And the hook keeper had long ago disappeared so that needed to be replaced as well. . So, after doing an Internet search for parts, etc I found MudHole. I was so pleased with the repairs I did on that rod, I decided to try building one of my own. Now it’s turned into an obsession. :-) Besides the ten footer, I have a 7 foot two piece CRB color series spinning rod started, and a 10 1/2 Salmon/Steelhead blank that I’m going to build as a one handed rod waiting in the box. Now I’m thinking about building a 9 foot for the wife ( should work as an excuse for buying all these blanks, rod dryer, guides, thread, etc., etc., etc. Don’t you think? ;-).

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/25/2024 08:19PM by Sam Hare.

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Re: Fly Rod Guide Sizes
Posted by: Norman Miller (Moderator)
Date: January 25, 2024 08:18PM

Here’s an article from the library concerning static testing.

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Re: Fly Rod Guide Sizes
Posted by: Herb Ladenheim (185.203.218.---)
Date: January 25, 2024 08:37PM

You're building a fly rod - not a casting rod - consequently you are more cocerned about passing snarles in your fly line - not knots.
If all you were concerned about is a knot - you would be using #1 or even #0.
For an 8wt fly rod - I would recommend a #16 ceramic stripper, #12 ceramic - I am installing three ceramics lately on my fly rods, So,a #10 - but most people use only two.
Then I prefer the "old fashioned" progeressively smaller runners:
one #5 REC RSNX or RSFX - then one #4 - then the rest #3's.

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Re: Fly Rod Guide Sizes
Posted by: Sam Hare (---.dhcp-dynamic.fibreop.nl.bellaliant.net)
Date: January 25, 2024 08:50PM

Herb, I also have a 10 ft #8 Hardy Zenith Sintrix that has a #16 and a #12 stripping guides. But the rod I referenced above has a #20 and #16 stripping guides. This I really like. I was thinking I might use all ceramic guides on that 9 foot if I build it. Perhaps with the same size stripping guides as the Hardy with maybe all #6’s beyond that. Or maybe mostly 6’s with a few of the next sizes up.

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Re: Fly Rod Guide Sizes
Posted by: Sam Hare (---.dhcp-dynamic.fibreop.nl.bellaliant.net)
Date: January 25, 2024 08:51PM

Thanks, Norman.

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Re: Fly Rod Guide Sizes
Posted by: Herb Ladenheim (2.59.157.---)
Date: January 25, 2024 11:32PM

I personally am of the opinion - strong opinion - that using ceramics all the way robs the blank of its performance potential.
On the other hand - some like them.
I have tried them many times on my personal rods and decided,many times, that I did not like them.
An interesting article from Gink and Gasoline:

The most influential aspect of guides, at least on casting performance, is their size. A larger guide will create less friction on the line as it transitions from its unorganized state into a controlled loop, allowing the rod to shoot line more freely. This does not mean that bigger is better and biggest is best. A rod designer must not only consider the weight of the guides but also the control they exert on the line. Think about it this way, if the guides transition the line from an unorganized state to a controlled state, they do so using the friction created as the line passes through a controlled space. The smaller the space, the higher the friction and the control. This means that smaller guides control the line more effectively, producing a cleaner loop and make the rod cast with greater accuracy. The rod designer must strike a balance to achieve the performance they are looking for.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/25/2024 11:34PM by Herb Ladenheim.

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Re: Fly Rod Guide Sizes
Posted by: Mike Hubbert (---.hsd1.co.comcast.net)
Date: February 13, 2024 08:59PM

I need some help here on single foot fly rod guides.

Since the inter diameter of the guide is the critical component and where the friction takes place. Is there a formula, for the line diameter to the guide inter diameter? I have REC FSX, Minama F, Seaguide TiXMG, Snake Brand single foot and Titan Titanium fly rod guides. There is no uniform size to ID of the guides.

So can someone help me as to the ID of the guide to the maximum diameter of the fly line?

Thanks for the help


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Re: Fly Rod Guide Sizes
Posted by: david taylor (---)
Date: February 13, 2024 10:43PM

Agree with Mike above. Recently did an 9' 8wt. 16 and 12, then your choice to taper or just go to size 2 running guides. Some like the look of a taper, there is no real reason for it, though. If you want to taper go 16-12-5--4-3 then all 2s.

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Re: Fly Rod Guide Sizes
Posted by: Lance Schreckenbach (---.lightspeed.hstntx.sbcglobal.net)
Date: February 14, 2024 05:29PM

I was influenced a lot on my rod building by Lefty Kreh, his was the first book I read about fly fishing. He always stated that he prefered a larger stripper guide so that is how I started building fly rods with a larger stripper guide. I would use on a 8wt, a 20 double foot (DF) ceramic guide but move it a little closer to the reel by about 1" or 2", then a 12 mm double foot ceramic followed by by a 5 DF snake, then the rest DF 3 snakes with a large loop tip top. But that's just me. 10 or 11 guides + a tip top. All my rods can easily cast 80', and more if pushing it a little. The thing that I notice the most is the weight at the tip end of the rod, try to keep it as light as possible at that part. Double foot snake guides cast better than single foot ones. To get the best casting ability with single foot guides you have to use more than you would double foot snakes. This is where the weight at the most critical section of the fly rod comes into play. Modern fly rod blanks are more like 1/2 or a whole size up from what we were casting 25 years ago so recovery of bend is faster, therefor a little more weight isn't going to matter that much, BUT it will be weight and you can feel it to be heavier. You can take a little weight off the tip section using a ceramic tip top like a Fuji Arowana 7 or 8, it is lighter than any fly tip top loop. REC tip tops are the heaviest ones that I have weighed. So my recommendation is keep it light use double foot snakes and your stripper can be a 16 or a 20. It's all up to you, that's why it's a custom rod.

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Re: Fly Rod Guide Sizes
Posted by: Mike Hubbert (---)
Date: February 14, 2024 11:30PM


Thank you very much for the response and information.

I like double foot guides for there resistance to snagging while walking along a stream or sliding in a boat storage tube. Many suggest double foot guides weigh 2x that of single foot, but in using REC titanium guides size 3, light wire single foot (0.06 gm), light wire double foot (0.07 gm) or heavy wire single foot(0.08 gm). Then if we add the weight of thread and epoxy, still not twice the weight.

Now these number would not be the same with various brands of guides and stainless vs titanium. Now the REC titanium guides certainly have a pear shape to the foot of the loop, which would increase drag on the fly line (Mike McCoy, Snake brand guides). So, a a fly line going through a round single foot guide should reduce drag, compared to a pear shaped single foot and to a double foot guide where the fly line could hit both sides of the guide (since the opening is not in a single location, but rather the length of the guide.

So the larger the opening of a single foot guide the less area a fly line can touch the Inner diameter of the guide. However this larger opening allows for loss of line momentum do to line slap and waves in the fly line.

So finding the inner diameter, distance between guides, guide shape and height relative to fly line diameter are probably important. This along with guide weight and shape of the rod flex relative to guide placement.

So I have REC single foot guides, Seaguide TiMXG - RS and Minama “F” titanium. For the tiptop, I have a snake brand where the tube is cut down in length to reduce weight, only tiptop glue and thin epoxy, no thread (Mike McCoy suggestion). I’ll select guides with the same inner diameter between brands. I have several blanks to choose from, but I have NFC Gamma Beta and Gamma Alpha in 9’ 5wt. I also have the new NFC C6O2 in 9’ 5wt fast action.

I’ll take suggestions, as I’m sure someone out there has done this.


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Re: Fly Rod Guide Sizes
Posted by: Lance Schreckenbach (---)
Date: February 16, 2024 04:25PM

Double foot guides weigh less than single foot snake guides, at least the ones I have weighed. It may be because they are not cut or made to a very close tolerance. The extra wrap on the other end of the double foot guide may equal it out or be more. REC double foot guides are round and not pear shaped like the European style snake guides. Look through one and you will see. The fact that the elongated circle of a double foot snake guide cause the line to tract straighter working like two guides place close to each other. That to me is why they work better and you have to add more single foot guides in order to get the performance of the double foot ones. The straighter you can keep the line without sagging the better the rod will cast. I have found on a 9' rod, where you would use 10 total guides with the runners being double foot snake guides it will take 12 total guides with single foot runners to get the same performance. Here are 2 8wt rods built on the same blank but one with double foot snakes for runner and the other with single foot ceramic runners.



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Re: Fly Rod Guide Sizes
Posted by: Ernie Blum (---)
Date: February 16, 2024 04:54PM


I see that you recommended REC guides in both snake and single foot models. Do you have a preference in general, or possibly one type for one application, and the other type for a different application? I seem to be seeing more votes for snake guides these days as opposed to single foot guides. For saltwater application and an 8 weight blank, what would your preference be?

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Re: Fly Rod Guide Sizes
Posted by: Mike Hubbert (---)
Date: February 18, 2024 06:36PM

Single foot vs. double foot

Let’s say for argument that a double foot is equal to 2 double foot guides that are close together.

The question is why we use guides and how they influence casting distance and accuracy.

1). The more feet we have epoxy and thread reduce rod reflex time.
2). The more weigh negativity impacts vibration of the rod during casting
3). Guide friction of the fly line going through the guide.

Modern guide placement in casting and spinning rods demonstrate that smaller guides and more guides improve accuracy and distance of casting.

So on fly lines, to minimize guide size to the connection of fly line to leader, is the maximum for guide size.

On a fly rod I will place 15 guides on a 9’ rod, which includes 2 stripping guides. So, that’s 13 single foot guides instead of 8 double foot guides. That is about equal weight, 20% less thread coverage of the rod blank. Let’s call this a push. Weight is greater for the single foot guides, but less flex restrictions due to 13 vs 16 wraps.

So the argument that single foot guides weigh twice as much as double foot guides, That is wrong.

Mathematically for minimum weight and maximum line control, a combination of single and double foot guides is the soution.

Honestly, I appreciate an alternate view so we can make a better fly rod.

Mike Hubbert
Harmony Rods

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