Here's a question from the Volume 4 - Issue #5 issue of RodMaker magazine:
"Assuming we're talking bout modern fly rods, not bamboo or
restoration work, which is better on a fly rod, snake guides
or single foot guides? I'm anxious to hear your opinion
on this hotly debated subject." Jim . . .Portland, OR
First of all, I need to know which type of single foot
guides you are referring to. There are dozens of
different types. Some single foot guides have various
types of ceramic rings mounted in the frames, while
others do not. Some single foot guides have frames
crafted from very advanced materials, others are less
advanced. Too often, the term "single" foot is used
generically for an entire family of guides wherein the
individual members very greatly.
With that in mind, I'm going to answer your question anyway.
I'm going to assume you're talking about a quality single
foot guide such as the Fuji SIC's or Cermets. These guides
are very light, even lighter than snake guides in some
instances, and we know that less component weight is always
a good thing. The ceramic or matrix ring keeps the line off
the blank during the casts, and cannot be grooved or worn, ever.
By keeping the line off of the blank during casting, some
friction is reduced and some anglers fine they achieve a bit
more casting distance. So what we have is a guide that helps
keep the rod as light as possible, holds the line away for the
blank during casting and will never wear and thus never cut
or fray a fly line. These are really excellent guides and
have proven to work quite well on all rods, not just fly rods.
My personal opinion on these particular guides is that they
improve the performance of a fly rod tremendously.
Of course, there are some cheaper single foot ceramic guides
available as well. It is unfair to compare these heavy,
soft-ringed guides to the quality ones spoken of above. Bad
experiences with these inferior guides have prejudiced many
people against new and better types. Of course, much of the
criticism of single foot guides continues to come from those
who have never actually used them?
As far as snakes go, they were a vast improvement over what
some refer to as the old ring and clasp guides found on
many early fly rods. They were lighter than standard ring
guides of their day and viewed as an advancement in fly rod
component design at that time. Most commercial fly rod
manufacturers in the U.S. still use them mainly due to their
very low cost, although supporters of snake guides believe
it has something to do with their performance. Isn't it
funny that in the last 60-years technology has been able
to improve upon every aspect of fishing tackle, except for the
snake guide! Of course, many of the people who still use them
actually like them, so to each his own. As for my own
personal opinion, I believe that snake guides work just
as well today as they did 60-years ago. ~ TK
If you have any tips or techniques, send them
along! Help out your fellow rodmakers!
~ Publisher, FAOL