As many might know, from the Ultimate Bass Forums, I have not exactly been a proponent of the Micro Guide Rods that many rod companies are providing in their newest line ups. After all, they sound too good to be true, and as you know, many things that sound too good to be true usually are. Those that sell the Micro Guide Rods claim a variety of things ranging from more sensitivity to light weight to increased casting distance, all translating into the angler catching more bass.
It’s been several years, and the Micro Guides are still available. While custom rod builders have been providing them for many years, the general market hadn’t seen them until a little over two years ago. I figured it was just a fad in fishing and wouldn’t last. Once the claims the builders were making didn’t stand up to all the hype, the Micro Guides would fall to the wayside and those that spent the dollars on them may or may not be sorry they spent their fishing budget on them. It’s obvious that Micro Guides are not a fad; many professional anglers are now signing their praises. Dobyns Rods, a supporter of Ultimate Bass, developed a Micro Guide rod. According to Garry Dobyns, “Our customers wanted a Micro Guide and we do our best to satisfy their fishing needs”. If Garry built it, you know I’m going to try it. I picked up one to try out and see for myself. My observations are just that, my personal observations based on one rod. While I used this rod in a variety of applications from crankbaits to Texas rigged worms, it is also my opinion that no one rod can do it all. That said many of the things I experimented with may have been better suited with a different length or power rod.
To test the theories behind the Micro Guide rods, I chose a Dobyns Micro Guide Savvy 734 (13 micro guides plus a tip eye) with a personally super tuned Citica 200E and compared it against a Dobyns Savvy 734 (standard guides 9 plus the tip eye) also with a personally super tuned Citica 220E. I experimented with several different lines types; braid, Fluorocarbon, and monofilament.
Some general observations were that the Micro Guides did help casting in certain situations. Most noticeable was with Fluorocarbon lines above 15 pound. I attribute this to the fact that most fluorocarbons of this size have a lot of memory by nature, and the Micro Guides helped with that. I was able to cast up to about 8-10 feet further into winds than with the same set up in standard guides. Also, the Micro guide rod seemed to feel smoother when using Fluorocarbon lines, both of these can be attributed to less line slap between the guides. With braided lines or monofilaments I couldn’t say for sure there was a significant distance improvement in casting. The claim that Micro Guides reduce line slap between guides, in my opinion is true and does help with casting.
I have read and been told that a Micro Guide rod is lighter than a standard guide rod. I must say I could not tell a difference between the two I used. Rod weight is one of several things that always led me to believe that a Micro Guide rod was a personal preference versus statistical fact. I’ve never seen actual numbers on this; actual weight comparisons. I do not have a scale capable of weighing each of these rods to be able to do that myself. What sticks in my head is that even though a Micro Guide weighs less than a standard guide, simply because it’s much smaller, there are also more of them on a rod. More guides mean more thread and more epoxy. It would seem to me that the weight versus number needed would counter balance each other. Between the two Savvy rods I used, I simply did not feel a difference in weight.
The one thing I can say about the Micro Guides, across all the line options, I found when pitching heavy baits it seemed easier to keep baits close to the water. This translates to a quieter entry on long pitches that have a lot of momentum to the bait. With a standard guide rod, you can use your thumb to control the baits speed, and stop the bait just above the surface to get a quiet entry. However, Micro Guides seemed to allow me to keep the bait even closer to the water’s surface over the distance of the pitch, allowing me to get under objects easier, and present baits even quieter.
I have used a variety of different rod wrap designs. One of my favorite is the roll wrap; I believe some rod builders call it an Oklahoma or Tennessee Wrap (I don’t remember exactly). Basically the eye at the reel is in the standard position, but as you work towards the tip of the rod the guides roll around to the bottom so that the tip eye is set on the rod like a spinning rod tip eye. This created a tremendous advantage in preventing the tip of your rod from rolling when fighting a fish. Back when I had all my rods custom built, this was my favorite design. Micro Guide rod builders claim the extra small guide on the tip will reduced tip roll. This extends the life of your rod and gives you an advantage when fighting a bass as you have slightly more control in guiding a hooked bass to the boat. I did not notice a reduction in tip roll; however, I never really noticed much tip roll in the standard guides on the Dobyns line up of rods. This could be in part to the fact that the end of the rod is 7 feet from me, and I have trouble seeing something that small that far away. To be honest, when a tip eye rolls under the pressure of a quality fish you can feel it pop or give, I did not experience any roll what so ever with the Micro Guided rod when landing bass to six pounds.
Improved sensitivity, possibly. When using baits like a chatterbait or spinnerbait I could feel the bait very well; however, to say I could feel it better than a standard guide rod would be a stretch. When dealing with bottom baits like jigs and Texas rigged worms, there was no difference except back to the smoother casting. Pitching these baits seemed smoother.
There are claims out there that a Micro Guided rod will make you more accurate with your casting and pitching. While I didn’t find this to be true, I have to go back to the fact that, with fluorocarbon lines, casting and pitching felt smoother. I wasn’t necessarily able to put baits in a better position when casting; however, with fluorocarbon lines it did seem to take less effort than with the standard guide version.
When pitching with fluorocarbon or monofilament, for some reason occasionally the line would hang on the second eye from the top. The only thing I can attribute this to is that the tip eye is so small that, when your rod is at the 11-12 o clock position, the line from the tip eye to your bait will lay against the rod, with the smaller tip eye, wind or rotating your rod will allow the line to press against that second eye and occasionally hang. I have not heard of anyone one else having a problem with this, not even mentioning it. So, it could completely be me and the way I hold a rod when pitching.
When using braid wind knots seemed to happen more often. In all fairness, all rods will get braid wind knots and depending on the day they will be more often, lots of factors, direction, direction you have to fish and so forth. The day I had extra trouble, I did not have braid on the Standard guide rod to compare. This may have simply been a braid issue and not the fault of the Micro Guides. I only mention this, because they were a bear to get out!
My over all opinion of Micro Guided rods is that they appear to stand up to the claims. Please understand that I have only tried one rod, and I used it for many applications. Some of these applications I would consider the rod suited for, others only for comparison purposes and a different power rod may have altered my opinion either way.
Are Micro Guides worth the purchase? As someone who has fought the Micro Guide Revolution from day one, I can say that you are not wasting your fishing funds by purchasing one. Are they the must have or the best thing going in bass fishing rods? That is still a matter of opinion, but I can say that I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with a quality Micro Guided rod. Would I recommend a Micro Guided Rod? Yes, I would suggest that anglers try them. I don’t believe they will take you from hitting docks and casting into the trees and make you a casting or pitching champion, but I do believe that these rods will help some anglers with different applications.
Micro Guides are a tool, just like any other piece of fishing equipment in your boat. Some anglers will love them; some will only find faults and consider them cumbersome. I can now honestly say that they have a place in a complete bass fishing arsenal. I can also honestly say that anglers should try them, because just like with so many other things, we are all different and Micro Guides just might elevate your game. For me, I won’t be changing everything over to Micro Guides; however, for pitching things like spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, or chunking crankbaits down ridge lines I will definitely be using the Micro Guide more. Top-water season is just around the corner; I’m anxious to see if a Micro Guide rod can help me land more Pop R bass.
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