Originator of the Micro Guide Bass Rod

Micro Guides, as they have come to be known, are guides which heretofore would have been considered outside the realm of anything being used on typical North American fishing rods, most notably bass rods.  In the last 5 years, however, they have exploded on the U.S. bass fishing scene. Over that same time period they’ve also been responsible for the greatest sales surge that commercial rod companies have experienced in a very long while.


Ask the average bass fishermen who is responsible for the “micro guide” rod concept and the answers will likely run the gamut of any number of well known tournament bass fishing professionals.  A few have even ventured so far as to actually take credit. But the thing is, not a single one of them had anything to do with the introduction of “micro guide rods” to the American bass fishing scene. This current trend, which has now found its way into nearly every commercial rod company’s product line, can be traced directly back to a single personSteve Gardner.


In early 1997, North Carolina based custom rod builder Steve Gardner decided to try using the very tiny mini-guides offered by a few component manufacturers on his bass rods. Yes, the guides already existed, but they were considered speciality guides intended for other markets and other types of fishing. No one was using them on typical bass or even common freshwater fishing rods. Steve is the one that jumped through the hoops to obtain a set. He’s the guy that did all the initial testing with them. He’s the guy who convinced an American component distributor to bring them in and offer them to other rod builders. He’s the guy that wrote the first article on using them on bass rods and the guy who worked to get other custom builders involved with their further development.


None of this was any small feat – nobody could believe such tiny guides would work, or could possibly excel, on a bass rod. Steve ran into a lot of roadblocks along the way but persevered long enough that “micro guide” rods gained a foothold. From that point, it’s all been a matter of others jumping on his bandwagon to such an extent that Steve’s name has almost completely disappeared from any discussion about “micro guides.”   It’s safe to say that most folks using a “micro guide” rod today have no idea who the heck Steve Gardner is.


Suppose Steve had never dabbled with “micro guides.”  Surely somebody else would have brought them to the forefront for use on bass rods, right?  I’m not so sure. Nobody else was looking in that direction and it was no easy sell for Steve to even convince an American component distributor to take a chance on them. Of course, we’ll never know for sure what might have happened, but what we do know for certain is that Steve Gardner is the man solely responsible for the birth of the “micro guide” bass rod.


Tom Kirkman