Now and then someone asks "whats the best rod for this or that"?
Hopefully this photo will provide at least an answer or two. Each is an offshore rod with roller guides. Generally a 30 or 50 lb rod with these sort of guides should be able to catch a tuna or shark of anywhere to 30- on up to over a hundred pounds. No doubt there is tremendous pressure put on the guides themselves, as the guides do distribute pressure across the "ARK" of the rod. Note on the top rod the tip of the arrow as it relates to point A. You will notice the epoxy coating where it comes off the red wrap. It is visible as the epoxy has made the white blank slightly amber in that area. If you were to rub your fingernail, or finger across this area you will feal a LEDGE, or Bump. This is COMMON on ALL rods, it is where the epoxy ends on the wraps. Note on the top rod point B. While it is difficult to see in the photo, there is an epoxy ledge there as well. If you rub your finger across this area it will feel like the other end of the wrap. THATS the FLAW. The method used is called "underwrap/epoxy, overwrap epoxy". When a factory builds a lot of rods they will generally underwrap the guide area,then epoxy it. After the finish is cured, they go back and wrap over the "SMOOTH" undercoat. This speeds up production as it is easier to wrap over a smooth surface. Flaw #2; they then epoxy the overwrap area only, leaving a LEDGE under the guide. This guide under a lot of general wear and tear will loosen under its windings as the epoxy does not not have enough Penetration through the windings to FIRMLY hold it. The Aqua rod at point C has no ledge under the guide feet. This rod was dry wrapped under, dry wrapped over, epoxy coated once with a method called "Torch penetration". That is the epoxy is heat treated, making it "FLOW better around the guide. The metal being heated as well in this process makes for a much stronger bond, dissalowing any movement or "Wobbling" under the overwrap. With only one coat of epoxy, the Aqua rod is secured far greater than the factory stick. A second coat of finish is then applied to add extra strenth and a DEEP GLOSS appearance. The first epoxy teqnique is used on many rods, and now will be easy to recognize. If you had a brand new factory rod like the one pictured you can actually "wobble" the guides with your hands under little pressure. It looks good in the store, but once they start SHIFTING, they are at a point of no return. On a $40-$75 rod you would expect this type of work. If the rod cost is over $100 and you see the "INNER LEDGE", its just trouble down the road. I know quite a few people who went Factory with their offshore rods and the guides are all out of aligment. Can you imagine buying a nice car, you go to pick it up and there are bald tires on it? It's the same here. Comments welcome, hopefully one of the custom rod guys would like to add their thoughts. Kevin Bogan