Ultimate Bass

Micro Guides – What, Where, When?

A new approach to fishing rod guide trains was unveiled on the production level at ICAST 2009. “New” micro guides have been introduced on two major rod manufacturer product lines. Between existing custom rods and now a production offering with micro guides more interest among the angling community has been raised regarding what “micros” are and

A new approach to fishing rod guide trains was unveiled on the production level at ICAST 2009. “New” micro guides have been introduced on two major rod manufacturer product lines. Between existing custom rods and now a production offering with micro guides more interest among the angling community has been raised regarding what “micros” are and details about them. Let’s examine micro guides – the history, advantages, disadvantages, and beyond!

A guide having a ring size smaller than 5 is considered to be a micro guide. This may not mean much to the average angler. The average single foot guide on the ends of most production rods is currently a size 6. The smallest micro guides go down to a size 2. This size is a measure of diameter in millimeters. Imagine this – you can fit FIFTEEN size 2.5 guides on the head of dime!

Micro guides have been in existence quite some time. Fuji has been producing very small guides in Japan for squid fishing as well for several years. They have also been used in Europe on match rods for a longer period of time. So while they are new in the USA, they are not new to other parts of the world.

Credit goes to custom rod builders for pushing manufacturers and distributors and creating a demand to have micros available in the USA for use on bass and walleye (and I’m sure other types of) rods. Since 2007, many custom rod builders have been successfully using micro guides on flipping and pitching rods all the way to drop shot spinning rods. Don’t be fooled by the smaller stature. These are some tough little guides!

Micro guides have their share of advantages and disadvantages. The advantages include, but are not limited to:

– Increased sensitivity by less add weight to the rod blank

– Increased sensitivity by less added build weight (less rod finish and thread)

– Increased casting distance by reducing the amount of line slap through the guides

– Increased durability by providing a smaller lever for bending

– Smaller “footprint” on the blank – this decreases the amount of influence on the rod blank’s natural flex

– Fewer wind knots

– Less tangles on deck and in rods lockers

– Easier entry into rod lockers and tubes

Disadvantages include:

– Can clog easier with dirty water (cottonwood blooms, heavy slime in water, etc)

– Can ice over easier in sub 32 deg F environments

– Smaller sizes may have trouble passing knots between main line and leader

– Larger sized micros (5s, 4.5s, 4s) may be needed for larger diameter fishing line (ex. 25# monofilament)

– Availability – currently matching micro tip tops have not been available, but should be within the next few months

– Lines with lots of memory (old mono) may not perform well

Micro guides are not for every angler or every rod. As with any rod selection, the buyer needs to be aware of what is available and how it will help or hinder his or her abilities on water. The greatest thing about micros is a new option that truly impacts rod performance is available!

A Special Thanks:

I would like to thank the follow custom builders for their help in bringing micro guides to market dedication to finding the best ways to build using these guides:

Steve Gardner, Vibronics Custom Rods

Bobby Feazel, Shockwave Rods

Bill Stevens, Swampland Rods

Without their combined knowledge, the development for micro guides for bass rods (and other US market rods) may have never occurred!

Alex, ALX Rods



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