Extra Stripping Guide

By Tom Kirkman

Here's a question from March/April 1999 Issue of RodMaker magazine:

RodMaker Magazine

"I've built a couple of rods and am about to build an 8100 Sage for winter steelheading with a custom shooting head line. I've heard frequent mention of a technique involving using 2 stripping guides of equal size (oversized) about 4" apart (it is still unclear if there is a smaller stripping guide above those or does this configuration replace the more standard 2 stripping guides of decreasing size at standard distances). Comments I've read indicate that this eliminates line slap and adds another 10-feet to casts. I'm afraid I still can't visualize this. For my 8-weight rods I would use oversized stripping guides (a 20 and 16) for my bottom two guides at 86-7/16 and 75-3/8" from the tip top. What can you tell me about the other approach and where would my guides and of what size be placed? Would it be two #20s with the lower at 86-7/16" and the upper at 82-7/16" from the tip top with the next guide being the first snake guide at 65-5/16?" . . . Bob, Bellevue, WA"

It just goes to show that good ideas always come around again. I first saw this technique used almost 15-years ago, then went many years and heard nothing of it. Now it seems to be making a comeback. I can tell you from personal experience, as well as what others who have tried it have told me, that the fly line does seem to shoot noticeably better through this set-up than through what has become known as the standard set-up, which you are currently using. It seems that having those two closely placed stripping guides helps direct line on a straighter path than would otherwise occur with just the one stripping guide by itself. When released in order to shoot line on the cast, the inertia of the fly line tends to cause it to pass through the first stripper and then out and away from that stripper, only to be gathered again by the seond stripper before finally setting on a nice straight path out to the tip top. With two strippers positioned so closely together, the line is quickly gathered and controlled and sent on a straight path right from the outset. Honestly, it does "feel" better and some extra casting distance can be gained from this set-up.

To further answer your question, the additional stripping guide is placed between the two standard strippers, about 3 to 4 inches past the first stripper, towards the tip. So the measurements you list above would be correct for your application. I would suggest making the additional stripper the same size as the second stripper you plan on using.

Because it is so easy to try and test this set-up without disturbing your normal set-up, I suggest taking a few finished rods which you already have, and taping an additional stripper in place 3 to 4 inches past the butt stripping guide, and doing some test casting. You should be able to detect some difference in both feel and performance at which point you can decide if this set-up is worth using on your soon to be built rod. You may also decide to add the additional stripper on existing, already built rods which you now own. It's easy to do. In the event that you don't feel the extra stripper offers any real advantage, you're only out a little time and your present rods remain unchanged.

The only disadvantage of this set-up of which I'm aware will be the strange looks other rod builders and fishermen will give you when they see this "out of place" guide on your rod. But pay no mind, the weight addition of this extra guide is terribly slight and due to its close proximity to the butt of the rod rather than the tip, won't change the dynamics of the rod. And once enough rod builders start using this set-up, and they might, it will begin to look "normal." Good luck. ~ Tom Kirkman

Publishers note:
If you have any tips or techniques, send them along! Help out your fellow rodmakers! ~ Publisher, FAOL

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