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  • Writer's pictureFoxtail Custom Rods

A new "twist" on guide placement

Updated: Oct 15, 2019

I know what you're thinking. How many ways is there to put guide on a rod? They go on the top or bottom depending on if it's a casting or spinning rod...right? Well, with store bought equipment you would be correct. Custom builders have another way of doing things and it helps to solve problems along the way.

Here's a work in progress. The guides have been temporarily attached and will now be static tested to ensure proper guide placement so the line doesn't touch the blank and the rod uses its full range.

Spinning Rods

Open face spinning gear rides on the bottom of the rod. The line comes off the spool, goes through the guides, and safely out the tip top without ever touching the blank.

In the fishing world, this is the perfect situation. The line flows effortlessly. It never fights the blank. It allows the blank to bend the way it wants to. If only casting rods had it so easy! Well, with a little ingenuity they do!

Casting Rods

A typical casting rod has a bait casting reel attached to the top. The line flows from the reel, through the guides and out the tip top in a similar fashion as the spinning rod. The only difference is the guides are on the top of the blank. Anyone who is familiar with standard fishing gear is well aware of this. Anyone who has fished with one for a decent amount of time can probably point out some of the problems casting rods experience. I won't go over all of them but lets point out a few big ones.

Line Slap

Line slap occurs while casting. The rod will load up on the forward "throw" of the cast. As the bait is hurled, it aids in pulling line from the reel with its momentum. While the bait is still wistfully soaring through the air, the rod is now starting it's reflex. As the rod comes back the line can contact the blank and act as a brake holding up your line and pulling back all the momentum of the bait. All in all, cutting your cast short of it's full potential.

Tip Tangles

Top tops have come a long way in recent years but tip tangles during a cast are a sure way of damaging your rod. With the tip facing up, there is more of a chance of an entanglement.

Rod Torque

When pressure is applied to the rod, the rod will tend to fight the angler at times. It's natural way to bend has been prohibited with the eyes on top. You can see this especially with trolling rods. Once they are in a rod holder, they tend to "roll" over so the guides are on the bottom. When held in your hand this creates unnecessary arm fatigue. Casting a rod this way all day can be a serious chore.

Line Rub

Line rub occurs under load. It happens when the blank is flexed enough that the line touches the blank or at times passes the blank. Adding guides or adjusting the spacing will help tremendously but most builders will rebuild the entire rod using the method I'll explain below.

The Spiral Wrap

No matter what you call it, it's the same thing. The goal is to get the line from the top of the blank to the bottom where it wants to be. It will give you the best performance possible and resolve the troubles mentioned above.

The common name says it all. There are a few different methods to achieve this. It can be as simple as your first guide on top at 0 degrees, second at 90 degrees, and the rest at 180 degrees all they way out to the tip. I prefer a little smoother transition myself but depending on the action of the blank, this method may work great.

When the line transitions to the bottom, line slap is totally eliminated. The blank's reflex will actually be separating the line from the blank. The main goal of the guides is to keep the line close to the blank as possible but never come in contact with it.

Tip tangles are still possible but the threat is much less. Tangle free supports on the sides of the tip work as they were intended.

It's impossible for the rod to now torque. The guides are on the bottom allowing the blank to achieve a full parabolic arc. Furthermore, if the spiral is constructed on the opposite side in which you reel; the load placed on the blank during your reeling motion will be offset by the tension of the line on the opposing side. It's a win-win!

Line rub is next to impossible. The action of the blank will determine how quickly the spiral transitions. Unless you are over powering the blank from too much line tension (drag setting, too heavy line, etc), the blank should never flex down towards the handle enough to ever contact the blank.

By now, you should be asking yourself. If it's so great why don't the big rod manufactures do it? Well, it takes a bit more time and effort. And when your trying to make big profits, time equals money. It's the same reason most production rods are built a guide or two short. Every guide and the time it takes to wrap cost money. My goal is to create the most efficient rod I can. The benefits surely outweigh the extra time it takes. Another representation on why a custom rod is superior to off the shelf rods. Contact myself or another custom rod builder to experience this for yourself.

Don't just take my word for it. Here are some links to other articles on the subject.


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