There is value in trying things yourself. This morning I was playing with a 6’6” freshwater spinning rod. Decided to try all the known modern guide systems on it – MicroWave, KW, GPS, and 27X. It confirmed what I already knew – that among any good, properly implemented modern guide system, the difference in casting distance is going to be about 1%. Given the inability to make identical casts each and every time, that 1% is really of no consequence. All these systems deliver roughly equivalent results. 

These casts, about 20 with each system, were performed with a Catalyst 20 reel and 10 lb test mono. Mono is a harsher critic than braid so it tends to show more difference, when such difference exists in any practical amount. With a 3/8th ounce casting plug, all casts with each guide sizing and placement system landed between 118 and 120 feet away. Just for kicks I decided to try a set-up I hadn’t used in many years. Very unorthodox and I was sure it wouldn’t work well. To my surprise every cast made with this odd-ball set-up landed between 124 and 126 feet away. Instead of a 1% difference, I was seeing a 5% difference, which I consider a practical amount. (I’ll cover this method in a future magazine article.)

This post isn’t about a new guide system – it’s about the importance of rod builders trying things for themselves. There is so much information available today and so many people willing to offer numbers, sizes, techniques, etc., that it’s common for some rod builders to have built rods for a decade, very good rods, and yet they rarely if ever try things for themselves. And this brings me to a point – if you sell custom rods and rely upon other rod builders for your various design and set-ups, your rods will never be any better than theirs. If you want an edge; if you want a selling point; you have to go beyond what the other guy is doing and that means experimenting and trying things for yourself. A rod built off of systems, internet forum advice, articles, video tutorials, etc., can be a very, very good rod. But it won’t be a better rod than what other builders are already crafting.