If some is really anal like I am, what about the rod designer who designs and tests the rod blanks to be built as factory models meaning with snake guides?
If changing the guides really does reduce or add weight, then it must change the casting characteristics of the assembled fly rod to the degree that the weight change chances the rod performance away from how the rod designer intended. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?
This is the kind of stuff that seems to pop into and out of my brain as I consider a problem. It is a hindrance and a blessing depending on how you look at it.
I can't believe that thread and finish weight are still brought up in rod building conversations. Weigh 2' of "A" nylon thread, well more than you would use to wrap an entire two foot guide, and see if you can get to register on your gram scale. I bet you would have trouble getting it to register on a grain scale. Measure the entire batch of finish you use to finish a rod. Typically I mix 2cc of each part. That totals 4cc. Then you don't even use all of it per coat including the signature wrap and ferrule wraps.
Single foot guides are not any lighter than snakes. And then insert single foot guides weight more than other guides. Maybe, just maybe, you lose a slight bit of flex in a rod due to the second foot. But, I am will to bet I could put identical rods in a blindfolded fisherman's hand, one with snakes and the other with single foot guides and 95% ot the fishermen couldn't tell which was which.
Flexibility? The average foot length on a #1 snake is 3/16" on a #4 snake 1/4". So let's use 1/4" to be overly conservative. That equals approximately 2 1/2" over the entire length of a 9' rod. So you are telling me fishermen can feel 2 1/2" of no flex spread out over 9'? Or 2" over the length of a 7' rod
We are talking a difference of grains, not grams worth of weight difference. If weight was a true concern rods would be built with skelton shaved cork handles and seats with plastic sliding bands, Persall's Gossamer silk and one coat of varnish. Then we wouldn't use a reel and just have the line in our hands until we need to cast. Overly dramatic? Sure, but when people argue grains worth of difference spread over the entire length of a rod that is what it sounds like.
Heaven forbid we use a WF line because there would be the extra weight of the line in the guides until we get enough line out. And then if we overline the rod we are really adding weight. Or even worse a sinking line! Relax.... made the last few comments tongue in cheek.
Fish Bamboo, Fiberglass Switch or Spey and your concerns about grain differences will be a moot point
Interesting discussion! I'm not a rod builder, but there does seem to be a push towards lighter weights with all types of rods. These questions & discussions about weight come up on bass fishing sites where most are using spinning or baitcasting rods, on surf sites for both spinning & conventional gear, and even when folks are discussing trolling rods.
The general thought is that lighter rods not only weigh less, and that lessens fatigue for the angler, but are also more "sensitive".
What you all are discussing seems to me to be cumulative weight added to a rod based on the components. I'm sure the same would be true for other types of rods as well.
So far, I've yet to get concerned about actual weight of any rod I own. I even use some surf rods that are fiberglass & some of my trolling rods are solid fiberglass. They're relatively heavy, but I won't stop fishing with them, or go looking for the latest, greatest in lighter weight rods to replace them, primarily because they still work fine for me & replacing them would be costly. I've yet to see a real fatigue factor. Sure, I get tired after a long day of fishing, but hey, not like I get after a long day at work! Huge difference!
I have to wonder, even with the technology being what it is today, how much weight variance is there between blanks of the same model rod, since I'm sure there would be some in the manufacturing process. This would mean that not all of the same model/size rod blanks are "identical" as is being said here. So, how much variance in weight would you actually get if a blank is on one side of that variance range, and you add the components, then compare to another of the same rod with the same components, then again compare with the different components being discussed here? Is it a difference of grains, grams, ounces or pounds? Is it enough that the average user could tell the difference when handling each rod?
I'm also wondering if anglers have become a bunch of wusses, or if there is a real advantage to having the lightest rod of any style, and not just a perceived advantage?
If you told an angler a rod weighed "X" but it really weighed more or less, would he/she know or could tell the difference if they have nothing else to compare it to?
Is rod weight a "real" concern or a bunch of mind games we play to convince ourselves of why it will help make us better at fishing?
I agree Bigjim, never found a rod 'too heavy' for a good day of fishing. Twice I've had a rod that was so tip heavy it was annoying to fish (one was 12' long and the other a 9' bamboo rod) but the solution there was to add weight to the butt with a bigger reel or fighting butt, not fret about an extra bit of thread and finish. Even after a day casting a 10wt fly rod with a sinking head line and a musky fly on the end, I was just a bit sore and ready to do it again the next day. Spending a day scrambling over rocks and wading against current is far more 'work' than casting a fly rod whether it has single or double foot guides.
As far as sensitivity goes, my bamboo 7'6" 4wt is plenty sensitive for me and weighs more than my graphite rods.
Right on Pete. I find the debate to be quite silly...unless its the middle of January and there is nothing else fishing related to debate!
For crying out loud, all top brand rods in the 8-9' foot 4-5-6wt range weigh less than 4 ounces! Even if you could take 3.75 oz rod and make it 2.75 oz, nearly a 30% weight reduction who thinks that would matter?
On my last rod I used Tom Morgan's guide spacing chart which is what Snake Brand offers on their website. The rod is an 8'6" 4wt Loomis IMX, and nice little, light rod so I thought what the heck, I'll use Morgan's suggestions on that size rod. He is a believer in minimizing line slap and uses one more guide than standard. Can you believe all the weight he purposely adds to a rod to make it more accurate?!
BTW I think I used 9 snake guides plus the stripping guide on the rod, adding one 1/0 guide and all that thread and epoxy too. I quite like the rod, casts like a dream, quite accurate even for me!
Here's the thing. As rod blanks get lighter, the added components become a greater proportion of the rod mass.
So rather than components being less important, they become more important. If it is true that that the distribution of mass on a fly rod matters, and I believe it does; then the mass of the components must matter. The first is an axiom and the second is a corrolary that must also be true.
The only point of discussion is then whether the difference in mass is significant, which is where we are now.
The second issue is how the components affect the flex of the fly rod, Double footed guides are said to stiffen and affect the flex pattern of a rod more that single footed guides since the two feet span the length of the guide and a single foot does not. However, I have also read that a double footed snake guide flexes with the rod.
Another issue is whether one type of guide is actually more effective/efficient than another type of rod guide. That brings me to the point I raised about ring guides that elevate the fly line away from the rod, reduce line slap and line friction against the fly rod during the cast.
I am not the one who came up with this idea. I read it in an article by one of the Brooks, either Charlie or Joe. I think it was Charlie Brooks but I could be mistaken.
All good and valid points Silver, but as I have posted before how many anglers are capable of using the equipment to the fullest of its potential? Save one or two on this forum I doubt any of us, myself included.
I find line slap, blank flex, and weight to all be over and analyzed by the majority of us who couldn't feel the difference blindfolded. Technically a 4 weights less than a 5, but I doubt I could tell the slight difference blindfolded.
Weight differences between two foot and single foot is like telling the ace from a face card. Yes there are gamblers who can,but how many? Same with a rod.
Shoot..... I have had a certified casting instructor tell me one of my 5 weight bamboo builds felt lighter in his hand and more sensitive than his graphite 5. Why? Balance.
Complete hijack of the initial post, but a good discussion all around.
** Another experiment coming **
Think I feel an urge to get back into building a few rods...especially a few of the newer rods..if nothing else but to conduct an experiment of my own. I once(way back in mid 60s) swapped out one of those huge, recreational stripping guides on a Shakespeare glass flyrod(8'6" #7), then my new canoe rod to be(for a few years;-))...for a much smaller diameter, older guide..(wider eyelet..all metal) from my Dad's old glass rod, but I'll tell you...the WF7F really, really flew so smoothly through that smaller strip-guide... I had no chance of success with NY's wary Battenkill browns...with the high and muddy water of early spring, and the #7 line most probably might've gone just as far with the stock guide on it, but I was instantly throwing 60'+ without hauling or shooting any line at all..and having a blast at it. Think I know what experiment will come first with one of my first couple subjects...
Back when one foot guides with inserts first came out, FUJI sent Lefty Kreh, Mark Sosin, and me plus several other casters sets of their one foot guides and asked for an evaluation. Everyone it seems reported to them that with the exception of using shooting heads, you could cast farther with the snake guides. Then FUJI came out with an ad which stated that experts proved that rods cast farther with FUJI one foot guides. okay what does that say about advertisement.
In the twenty years plus during which I worked with Gary Loomis I guess we tested just about every combination you could imagine. Because of the slight difference in weight, air resistance and difference in blank flex dure to the stiffining action of two foot guides vs that of one foot and the change in hoop strength in that section of guide there is a slight difference. But only in the section of the rod above the node toward the tip.
Things which also have an effect on the rod are the size of the thread as for instance an E thread would hold more resin than a 3/0 thread of course, the length of the wrap and the thichness of the resin. Also take into account the difference between an unsanded blank with a heavy resin coating vs a sanded and buffed blank. Put all of the things which make the rod tip heaver on one rod and all of the things which make the rod lighter on the other and there can be a slight difference.
Probably only five out of a hundred casters would notice the difference. However to that five it might be significant.
It's like debating the difference between the accuracy of a.38 with 2.5 grains of bullseye vs2.7 gr. the gun and the shooter make far more difference.
Personally? If I'm building a rod for myself, I like ceramic stripping guides up to the pendulum point (where the rod begins to flex when you hold it tight and flex it hard from side to side) then decreasng sized two foot guides from there to the nodal point (where a wiggled rod make that fish tail point) and one foot snakes from there to the tip top.
Some people don't like one foot guides for salt water rods because they say they get bent while sliding them into the under the gunwale rod tubes. Well, they do IF you push down on the rod while sliding then into the tube, but again, you shouldn't do that, A sight upward pressure used while inserting the rod and it won't happen.