The spine

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This topic contains 17 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Grsdlnr 6 days, 17 hours ago.

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  • #7640

    Scotty MacFly
    Participant

    Some builders think about the spine of the rods they build, and I have seen an article lately where one rod designer for a big brand does not.

    I read that putting the line guides on the same side of the spine helps with lift, and putting the guides opposite helps to load the rod better either on the back cast of forward cast. I can’t remember which.

    I am not real educated on this topic, but it has always had my curiosity. They say placing the guides either on the side of the spine or opposite effects how the rod casts and feels to the caster. Which may be the reason I don’t like a particular brand. I really can’t say to that either.

    I know what the spine is, and on most of my rods I can find it.

    T&T places their guides on the same side to make better lift in their rods, & they are the only ones that I am aware of. I believe Scott does the opposite, & may contribute to why I like the feel of them. But I would like to try a rod for sure so I can feel the difference. I may like the other way better.

    What are your opinions on this, & any suggestions on other brands that do it like T&T?

    #7641

    Grsdlnr
    Participant

    On graphite rods I’ve always put the guides opposite the spine. The reason was to maximize the rod’s ability to lift line off the water and get a better backcast (if you make a good backcast the forward cast pretty much takes care of itself IMO) On bamboo blanks I try to do the same thing, but bamboo being a natural material sometimes the spine’s not on a flat but a corner, so spining a cane rod can be a compromise.

    On a saltwater rod where you need to shoot a lot of line with as few false casts as possible I could see putting the guides on the spine so you get a bit more power on the forward cast.

    But not bothering to do one or the other just seems like careless rodmaking to me – unless that mfr has designed a rod blank with no significant spine at all, and it really wouldn’t matter.

    #7642

    Scotty MacFly
    Participant

    So putting the guides opposite the spine helps in the lifting, & doing opposite helps to shoot line farther.

    Does the placement of the guides have anything to do with the action of the rod? It sounds to me it does, or is the action solely based on taper design?

    #7643

    Creek
    Participant

    I have no opinion because I never built a rod. I always hope whoever built the rod I own that he knew what he was doing and got the spine right. To be honest, if the rod cast like I want it to. The spine must be where it belongs.

    #7644

    Lightline
    Participant

    I’ve built over 300 rods in the last 10 years, both conventional and fly. I always put the guides of a fly rod along the spine, usually on the bottom or “soft” side if the spine is pronounced. Some blanks of the same make and model have different spine “levels.” Some are very detectible, others not so much. The rod is less likely to want to turn in your hand under pressure if the guides are directly opposite, or even on top of, the spine. I believe that guides in line with the spine make the rod slightly softer than if they are put on the side of the spine. The rod just flexes easier when bent along the spine, and more naturally too. That’s how I find the spine, just bend the rod and see where it naturally wants to flex. Let it roll into position.

    I have some Sage and Orvis graphite rods, and some Fenwick and Lamiglass glass rods that do not have the guides along the spine, and I too think that’s lazy workmanship. However, I seldom ever notice it when fishing, and use them all a lot every season. So does it matter? I think so, but then again, I use those off-spine factory rods ok too. A few of them have the guides in line with the spine too, just by chance I assume.

    If you’re going to build a rod, it only takes 30 seconds (or less) to find and mark the spine. Why not?

    #7645

    Grsdlnr
    Participant

    Does the placement of the guides have anything to do with the action of the rod?

    Yes, sometimes quite a bit. Many bamboo rodmakers will experiment with guide placement, especially when tweaking a standard taper.

    #7647

    Scotty MacFly
    Participant

    Wow Lightline, thanks. Some of what you say is what I have read, and some things contradict what the article said. You mentioned Sage and Orvis, and I would like to share with you what the article says on those two companies.

    The article is in the Fly Fisherman Gear 2018 Guide, page 12. I’ll just give you guys the shorter version.

    Don Green, founder of Sage in 1980, along with Bruce Kirschner, placed the guides at 90 degrees in relation to the spine. His belief was that the rod would track straighter on both the forward and the backcast distributing power evenly.

    Today, Jerry Siem, head designer of Sage, says that he acknowledges the spine exists, but says the rod will find the side of least resistance and bend that way no matter where the guides are located. Even if the guides are aligned with the spine, because of the speed and power, at which graphite rods load and recover, the rod will bend and roll off that alignment during the cast. Even the best casters can’t hold the rod and move it along a plane that is always aligned with the spine.

    For more than a decade, Orvis didn’t take the time to find the spine on their rods. But now, Shawn Combs has developed a way to measure the horizontal oscillation of the rod (tracking) and the vertical oscillations (damping). While studying these micro rod movements, he has discovered improvements in how the rod tracks in an accuracy when the rod blank is spined. And so the new Helios 3 rods all have guides that are in sync with the spine of the rod.

    Troy Jacques at T&T say’s the spine of the rod demonstrably affects the way it flexes and unloads, so it makes sense to use that attribute to bring out the best performance. At T&T, they align the guides on top of the spine ( the stiffer side) in trout rods because Jacques believes the rods are more accurate that way. And for T&T’s salt water rods, it’s done so the rod bends against the natural curve of the rod, and giving you more lifting power.

    So that’s the short of it.

    Lightline, so what you said about Sage and Orvis makes sense. Could be the reason I don’t like the way Sage rods cast for me, but who knows. But I agree with you that aligning the guides with the spine or on the spine you get less turning of the rod in your hand. That is something I want to be aware of with my rods.

    Thanks guys.

    #7648

    Creek
    Participant

    I had a Sage LL that was a sweetheart.

    #7649

    Scotty MacFly
    Participant

    Those rods, the LL series, sure has a large fan base. I have never seen one in person, but the way people go on about them, if I ever do find one for sale, I may give it a few casts to see what I may have been missing.
    I hear they are a great stream rods.

    #7650

    Creek
    Participant

    You may not like them. They’re a med action. You seem to like med-fast action.

    #7651

    Scotty MacFly
    Participant

    I’m good with a full flex like the Scott F2, & Orvis Superfine Carbon, to the medium action mid flex like the Classic Trout & TFO Pro series, to the mid/tip flex med\fast rods.

    I’m very versatile. I just don’t do well with Lamiglass slow, or Sage One fast. Rods like those do me no good.

    #7652

    Lightline
    Participant

    I’m a Sage Lightline addict with a problem. I have one of every rod in the series, and two of the 389, 490, and 4711’s. Most are not on spine, but I do enjoy them.

    #7653

    Scotty MacFly
    Participant

    You know that saying; the one who dies with the most toys wins?

    You just may be a contender.😀

    #7654

    Creek
    Participant

    It’s against the law to have two of the same size LL rods. You better send me the extras to keep you out of trouble. I don’t mind doing you that favor.

    #7656

    The_bat_fly
    Participant

    I’m just curious what about the spine in fiber glass rods and what if you happen to get a rod that had the spine running along the side.

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