Micro Guides

Are micro guides better than standard guides?

The short answer is YES. Hmmm, maybe.  Well in most applications they are.

The truth is micro guides improve rod performance and increase your casting distance for reasons we will describe later, but are they for every application?

This debate has been ongoing for quite some time, but these smaller guides have really caught on in the last few years. Its my guess that micro guides took a while to catch on in the U.S. because -well- everyone knows bigger is better and stronger….

What are micro guides?

Guides with a ring size of 7 or smaller are considered micro guides. By design, they have the lowest possible frames (ring is close to the rod blank) and the smallest rings for the application the fisherman has in mind.

 Main advantages to micro guides

The most sensitive rod blank available is one that hasn’t been dampened by heavy guides, thread, extra thick epoxy, fancy aluminum trim bands, etc. The point is, rod blanks are like a musicians tuning fork until all of the components are attached that dampen the natural frequency of the carbon fiber. The smaller and lighter the guides, the more vibration will be transferred to the fisherman.

Micro guides also distribute stress to the rod blank more evenly. Because micro guides hold line closer to the rod blank, more guides are needed to keep the line off the blank when fighting fish. Because of this, 10 or more micro guides are generally used. These extra guides distribute the stress more evenly to the blank and to the guide system as a whole. Because there are more guides to take the load, each guide sees 20%-50% less stress.

Another benefit of the additional guides, that are smaller and lighter, is increased sensitivity. By reducing weight, much of the rod blank’s original action is maintained.

In general, the larger the guides are the more easily they are bent and damaged. Most fishing boats these days have some form of rod storage in the bow or the gunwales.  Those bulky large guides are susceptible to damage when sliding into these storage areas, pulling out of your car, or stepping on them.

As counterintuitive as it may seem, more and smaller guides actually improve casting distance. This is because standard guides allow the line to twist and bounce down the rod during your cast. Each time your line rubs your guide energy is lost and your casting distance is lost. You will notice on your first cast with micro guides that your line flies off your rod like tracer bullet when compared to standard guides.

What’s wrong with micro guides?

There are several drawbacks to using micro guides. To start, they are not good for every application. I would not build a tuna rod with micro guides. Applications where micro guides are advantageous are bass fishing and inshore saltwater where long, accurate casts and rod sensitivity are important. The main drawback to micro guides is when passing a knot through your guides. For example, if you tie a uni to uni knot (20# braid to 25# fluorocarbon) a #3 guide will not work. Most likely a #4 will suffice but a #5 will provide some margin of error for this problem. For most of Hook Strong’s rod applications a #5 is used but we can build rods with many other guide configurations as well.

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