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Guide Placement

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To properly set guides the proper distance from the reel seat, and along the length of the blank, it is necessary to set the rod (with the correct reel) in a static stand. Temporarily attach the guides to the blank and stress the blank with a weight running from the reel through the tip top.  This isn't hard to do: a piece of PVC pipe set in a standard vice will suffice. 

Apply sufficient weight to the rod blank to fully depress the blank in a smooth arc.  The guides should be placed so that 1) at no point does the line touch the blank and 2) the number and spacing of the guides (as well as their ring size and design) allow the line to as closely as possible follow the contour of the blank while it is under stress. 

TIP: To temporarily attach the guides, I've found that rolling slices of surgical tubing down the blank and sliding the guide feet under the slices allows me to reposition the guides easily. The surgical tubing leaves no marring on the blank, nor does it leave behind any sticky residue associated with tape or various "glue-on" guide placement aids. 

   

Once the guides have been placed, a thin indelible marking pen can be used to mark the beginning and ending points for underwraps, which usually look best when they are set an equal distance from the end of the guide foot. What does that mean?  A large guide will have a longer guide foot than a smaller guide. Pick a distance (a good millimeter ruler is a good idea at this point), then measure the distance from the end of the guide foot an acceptable distance (whatever looks right to you) and keep the same distance from the foot of the guide feet along the entire set of guides.   

TIP: After setting the reel seat and doing any overwraps on ferruled blanks, whip the blank from side to side. A harmonic (sine wave) will be produced. The point where the sine wave converges to create the optical illusion of an 'X" is where the first guide should go; all the rest should be spaced from that point with the exception of the first (closest to the reel) guide. That guide should be placed where minimum resistance and minimum touching along the guide liner is encountered. The next guide toward the tip is the "shooting" guide. This is the guide that funnels the line most directly along the axis of the blank toward the tiptop.  The objective is that the line should "shoot through" the tiptop on a cast with minimal resistance.

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