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A-Jay

Small Guides & Big Knots

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 I think it's interesting how simply because production rod companies have decided that we should all have "Micro" sized guides, we've had to come up with all kinds of new smaller / slimmer braid to leader knots to accommodate the reduction in guide size.

 

I'm not totally convinced that any actual "weight reduction" & / or increased sensitivity realized with this change is worth the complications it brings.

 

 At No Point do I ever remember thinking "Man, the guides on this rod are just too heavy".

 

Did we change just for the sake of change ?

 

A-Jay

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I couldn't have said it better.  If the results from "micro" guides are only "micro" improvements, then it isn't worth it.  I would like to see the actual statistics to make a comparison.

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Good thread.. A local builder who just replaced a rod tip for me with larger diameter eye and I were just talking about this fiasco. According to him this change was brought on by none other than Kevin Van Dam. Rod builders jumped on the micro wagon because it would have us all replacing our rods.

That's marketing.. I do not own a rod with micro guides. I saw the issues they would cause for me. I never liked them.

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Good thread.. A local builder who just replaced a rod tip for me with larger diameter eye and I were just talking about this fiasco. According to him this change was brought on by none other than Kevin Van Dam. Rod builders jumped on the micro wagon because it would have us all replacing our rods.

That's marketing.. I do not own a rod with micro guides. I saw the issues they would cause for me. I never liked them.

 

I have a "modest" collection of rods that span a few decades - (hey I've been fishing a while) and the newer small guide sticks are nice. But they are problematic at times.  

 

This trend has even carried over to spinning rods, which makes no sense to me.  

The equipments design really benefits from a from a free flow of line during the cast - choking it down right at the collector and then through out the length of the rod, seems seriously counter productive.

 

 I'm all for advances in sport, but I'm not a rod builder or a casting scientists, I'm just a guy who like to fish.   So perhaps I'm missing something here.

 

A-Jay

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On the other hand, I think the lack of weight on a blank, especially a spinning blank, makes an appreciable difference to the rod's sensitivity and learning to tie an FG knot gives you a far superior knot to an Albright or double uni.

The end result is just better. More sensitivity and a stronger knot. The cost is a little bit of learning and a small increase in time, though you so rarely need to retie an FG that I would guess the time taken is actually shorter over a season of fishing.

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It's really hard to know what differences lighter guide trains make.  How can one tell if the rod would feel different with different guides?  The closest thing to real data that I know of is the series of fisherman evaluations of the Amtac Microwave spinning setup.  It could be psychology, but most of the evaluators of the setups (one with Microwave and one with cone of flight-which is an old recipe since improved on without using micro guides) say the rod with Microwaves casts farther and feels smoother. If Amtac had used a more modern setup for evaluations, the differences would be theoretically smaller.   I don't remember sensitivity comments, but they might be there also.

 

If you build your own, of course you can build whatever you want.  I build and wanted to try micros so I have both casting rods and spinning rods with them.  I think they cast farther and are more sensitive, but. . .

 

Now that I have them I'm interested in a very small knot that will pass easily, and that knot is the FG.  It's a great knot and not difficult after you devote some time to learning it.

 

I very much doubt if builders will go entirely to micros, but you can help them with their decisions by writing them and making your wishes known on the various fishing forums.  You know they read them.

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Quick choking with smaller but higher guides may be counter-intuitive, but it's clearly not counter-productive.  Pac Bay has made guides for this philosophy for years, the Microwaves are smaller and higher, the Fuji system is smaller and higher, and they say they have tests to prove it works better.  I have a number of spinning rods built this way, and I really like them.  Would they be as good with other guides?  I don't know for sure, but they really do cast well.

 

Of course you can leave all the guide controversy behind by using braid of about 10-15 pound test.  It will cast great with any reasonable guide train.

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i'm in full agreement here A jay.  right now in the flea market I'm selling off a rod that i very much like, but can't love because of the micro guides (and i almost say NANO guides).  Shimano Cumara jig and worm casting rod.  Guides are so small it sucks to use a leader with the rod.  Straight line, no problem, but add a leader (uni to uni) and it makes for a pretty poor experience.  

I always thought i wasn't that particular, but i've found that i am in this case. 

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I have the KVD TORNAMENT BC ROD. With the micro eyes. Haven't used it much. The micro guides remind me of the fly rod that the line went inside the rod, no eyes. Just a funky tip.

My point is next the change will be to larger eyes on a BC ROD like a spinning rod but a tad smaller. Again some will buy again.

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Kevin VanDam and the production Rod makers do not drive custom builder innovation. Quite the opposite. The appropriate guide for any build is the smallest, lightest THAT WiIl DO The JOB which includes passing knots and connections. Micro guides are not a cure all any more than anything else. Please don't project the misapplied theory and exaggerated claims of mass producers and their pitchmen onto true custom rod builders. The lightest possible guide train on a rod helps retain the blanks inherent properties resulting in a crisp and sensitive Rod. Also, "micro" covers a range of sizes and I shy away from the term and just choose by application. For reference a 4.5 size guide will pass an Albright knot joining 50# PP & 15# fluoro no problem. Some off the shelf rods are using as small as 3s I believe. The advantages of properly applied micro guides are subtle but real much like higher modulus blanks etc

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It's really hard to know what differences lighter guide trains make.  How can one tell if the rod would feel different with different guides?  The closest thing to real data that I know of is the series of fisherman evaluations of the Amtac Microwave spinning setup.  It could be psychology, but most of the evaluators of the setups (one with Microwave and one with cone of flight-which is an old recipe since improved on without using micro guides) say the rod with Microwaves casts farther and feels smoother. If Amtac had used a more modern setup for evaluations, the differences would be theoretically smaller.   I don't remember sensitivity comments, but they might be there also.

 

If you build your own, of course you can build whatever you want.  I build and wanted to try micros so I have both casting rods and spinning rods with them.  I think they cast farther and are more sensitive, but. . .

 

Now that I have them I'm interested in a very small knot that will pass easily, and that knot is the FG.  It's a great knot and not difficult after you devote some time to learning it.

 

I very much doubt if builders will go entirely to micros, but you can help them with their decisions by writing them and making your wishes known on the various fishing forums.  You know they read them.

When you build your own rods the weight of the guides on the rod becomes a very obvious factor. When you have a bare blank and give it a wiggle it feels super crisp snapping back to straight in an instant. Put a set of guides on it and that feeling is reduced. The bigger and heavier the set of guides is the more profoundly you feel the difference. For a rod to feel super sensitive you want that snap back to straight to be as crisp and dampened as possible. Anything you add to the bare blank reduces it.

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this change was brought on by none other than Kevin Van Dam. Rod builders jumped on the micro wagon because it would have us all replacing our rods.

That's marketing.. I do not own a rod with micro guides. I saw the issues they would cause for me. I never liked them.

Ya got that ass backwards. Custom builders were using the so called micro guides at least 5 years before the major manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon. Same with split grips, but it took them longer to make it to mainstream.

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A Jay, allow me to attempt to convince you. I have two Setyr rods. I bought the first at a local tackle shop, and really liked it, so I got several more in different lengths, actions and powers. The one I'll talk about is a 7' medium power, fast action, split grip, no foregrip design with small Recoil guides. This is one of my favorite rods. One popped up  in the flea market a couple of years ago, and I bought it, thinking it would be nice to have another favorite rod.

 

The second rod had was almost identical to the first; the difference being the guide set. This one has "normal" sized Alps guides. Nothing wrong with that. They are fine guides. Never had one crack, break, pop a ring or bend. They are heavier than Recoils, by quite a bit.

 

Bottom line is, the first rod is one of my favorites, and the second has been sitting, unused, in my rod rack for almost as long as I've had it. I have several other rods I like better. There is a very noticeable difference. I emailed Setyr about it, asking if these were two different blanks. They are not. I initially thought, well, I just got a dud. A rod builder friend of mine corrected that initial thought. The difference is the weight delta between the large "regular' guides and the small Recoils.

 

Without that experience, I too would have a hard time believing there would be such a noticeable difference.

 

I can also say that all the rods I"ve built for myself have small guides; SICs, Alconites and Recoils.

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I feel the problem people have with micros is they're trying to use the wrong tool for the job. Using a screwdriver instead of a hammer. 3mm guides aren't appropriate for 60# braid with a 20# leader. For that you need to step it up to a 5mm guide. The manufacturers don't tell you that though. They just say micros are great. They are, but not for all applications. Currently working on a SCV 7'4" heavy. I will NOT be using tiny guides. They will be 5mm, to allow for connection passing and any other crap that may gum up the works. Once again, right tool for the job.

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My thoughts kind of mirror most of the comments. Most of my newer rods are "micro", but they vary considerably in size (Veritas, Rage, Avid X). I find that the micros on the Rages are the smallest and the only change I would make to the rods would be slightly larger guides. The sensitivity and control are great, but I feel that casting would be improved with bigger guides. Part of my issue, I think, is that the guides run the same size regardless of the power/action of the rod. If I ran small diameter flourocarbon through all of the rods, I probably wouldn't notice much, but on my jig/worm rod the knot connecting 40lb braid and 12lb mono doesn't flow as freely as my lighter outfits. I think I'm also reaching the conclusion that for future H and MH rods, I'll be looking for more traditional, or at least larger guides.

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Scoot is on the money. The right tool for the job. When I said I only use small guides, I should have added that I do NOT use braid, and don't have to think about what size knot has to pass my guides. I don't use anything heavier than 14lb mono.

 

But, even with braid taken into the equation, I see no need for a guide larger than 6mm on a casting rod. That will be larger than the "first" line guide; the one on the front of your reel.

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There's no way my skeptical, naysaying, "it ain't coming off there," steely-eyed quadruple-uni is fitting through micro guides.  Hehehehe!

 

It would be like one of those intense times when you're casting a lot with spinning gear and your trigger finger is on the line, but your bass brain hasn't flipped the bail with the other hand yet.  THHHHWHAP!!!  Hahaha!

 

God Bless

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Larger guides will not make that rod cast farther.  The line is small compared to even a micro inside diameter and flows freely.  In fact it is the better line control of the micros, because of their smaller diameter, that is the reason for what most users believe is a longer cast with micros.  Think of it as a long, thin, steady, cylinder going through the air with micros and the same long thin cylinder all wobbly, loopy,  some of it sideways and curved with larger guides.  This is true even for casting outfits.  That little eye at the reel does not take all the action out of the line and the guide train design is significant.  

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Like Mike stated, get all the potential you can from that rod blank! I think a lot of people see a guide frame that is smaller than the "norm", and deem it micro. To me a true micro guide is a size 4 or less. Then there is that term mid micro a lot of manufacturers throw out there. I run all 4.5 or size 5 running guides which are large enough to pass a well tied connection knot. I agree, the freakishly small guides on Ducketts and such are terrible. I now also can't handle a rod built with guides that are simply to big to provide any benefits. Like fishing with a club. Having that happy medium still forces me to pay attention when tying a knot. That's a good thing. If someone can't thread line through a size 5 guide, they probably shouldn't be driving to the lake.

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They never managed to sell me those. I do think new concept guides are a big improvement, along with the new ceramic rings, but I am too skeptical of micro guides. Not only because you can't use tried and true leader knots, but their overall durability seems lacking. That said, I did run into a problem trying to use long leaders with my t3 and tatulas, but I learned I don't need leaders that long, anyway.

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