Throughout the years, I never have paid much attention to the guides on my fishing rods. From my perspective, they have done little more than keep my line under control when casting bait or reeling in fish. The first guide is large to allow the line to pass through as it peels off the reel during a cast, and the rest of the guides become smaller and smaller until the rod tip finishes things off.
A transformation is under way that might work its way down from high-end bass rods, which sell for hundreds of dollars, to more affordable rods. The transformation centers on micro-guides and has its roots in Europe and Asia.
As the name implies, micro-guides are small, very small. At first glance, one would think the micro-guides’ size would restrict casting distance, but Ken Whiting, an award-winning rod designer, assured me that is not the case. In fact, he said, with micro-guides the result is exactly the opposite. The key is improved line control and drag reduction made possible when using the smaller guides.
“On the casting rods in particular, in the area between the reel and the first guide, (micro-guides) take the line flop out, reducing the flop down to a straight-line flow,” Whiting said. “When you get a straight-line flow, you’re reducing all the drag that is created.”
Whiting was referring to the movement of a fishing line as it is peeled from a reel during casting. With traditional guides, “you’ve got line flopping all over the place going into the first guide,” he said. “You have drag on that line. When the lure gets launched, the speed of the lure is depressed by the drag created by the line going into that first guide.
“That slows the lure down so the lure has a harder time getting distance. You take that line flop out, and the lure can travel farther because it can maintain its line speed for a longer period of time.”
Bait-casting reels are notorious for giving anglers lessons in the art of spontaneous knot tying, but Whiting said the micro-guides help put an end to that joyful experience.
“If your lure is going forward faster, it’s stripping the line off, and it’s now keeping up with your reel,” he said. “If it’s keeping up with your reel, then your backlash will be less.”
Whiting, a former owner of Airrus Rods, now designs rods for Duckett Fishing.
“A rod is a rod is a rod is a rod,” Whiting said, noting the difference between his previous work and the rods he now designs boils down to micro-guide technology. Other manufacturers are going there, too.
■ WILDLIFE COMMISSION MEETING — A proposal for a potential black bear hunting season as well as a regulation prohibiting a person from interfering with the use of a guzzler or other water development are two of the items that Nevada’s Board of Wildlife Commissioners will consider when it meets Friday and Saturday in Las Vegas.
The meeting will start at 10:30 a.m. Friday and at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and will be at the Clark County Government Commission Chambers, located at 500 S. Grand Central Parkway. The meeting is open to the public.
Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.