In the world of guide layouts there is no question that the single biggest stumbling block for most new builders and many experienced ones is getting from the stripper to the choke guide with the proper number, size and height of “reduction guides”. I would even venture a guess that most rod builders who still tout the advantages of a “Cone of Flight” layout are, in many cases, a little unsure of exactly what they need to do to update their thinking. That uncertainty almost always comes back around to the the reduction train.
For those of us who live every day with the New Guide Concept it becomes so easy we lose touch with the possibility that anyone could be confused by something so simple. However, one glance at the shear volume of information makes the confusion easier to understand.
We (Anglers Resource) are as guilty as anyone. In an effort to offer all the secrets of a truly magnificent finished rod, we tend to split hairs to help the true “addicts” who crave all the technical information they can get. But, like so many other endeavors, it’s not as hard as it seems. In fact, if you’ll follow the guidelines outlined here, you can not only save money, you can layout a great rod in 10 or 15 minutes.
For purposes of illustrating this technique we have used the double-foot, K-Series “KW” guide. Using a piece of graph paper, and the height information in our catalog as a reference, draw a sloping line across the paper and use the tick marks on the graph paper as millimeters for scale. The angle of the line is not important, what we are looking for in this diagram is the distance relationship the guides have to one another when spaced along the angle BY HEIGHT.
The picture that emerges here is not what most folks imagine when they begin this experiment. Fuji does not offer guides that are progressively shorter with smaller and smaller rings that are equally spaced along the slope.
Instead, Fuji tends to “group” guides according to their suggested use a the “stripper”, second reducer, third reducer and so on. As guides get shorter and rings get smaller it’s more difficult to pick out “groups’ but they are there.
Obviously the 50 and 40 are in a different group than the 40L, 30, 30L and 25. The 25 would likely be the smallest stripper choice for a KW guide train. Below that it would be best to move to the KR Concept designed for smaller strippers.
So, how do you choose a group? If you cast lighter line, say 15lb braid or 8lb mono, choose a smaller ring…the 25. If you cast 30lb braid or 17b mono (stiffer lines)…choose the 30. Most fishermen fall in between, around 20b braid and 10-12lb mono. If you are in this group choose the size 30L.
Always choose the smallest guide that will work because your ultimate goal is to reduce the final weight of the finished rod and make it MUCH MORE ENJOYABLE TO FISH. This is the ultimate goal of the New Guide Concept - great performance at reduced weight.
Next will be figuring out the rest of the guides (you’ve determined your stripper size) and while most would consider this the most difficult part of the job, you can do it quickly from the reference you’ve charted. Study the graphic representation and choose guides that space properly along the slope. The New Guide Concept calls for a “bullseye” of concentrically smaller rings to reduce the line coil down to the blank. This happens “automatically” if you choose guides that are equally spaced along the graph slope.
This method works for any Fuji guide model offered in sizes large enough to be considered as strippers for spinning rods.
The New Guide Concept and the newer KR Concept offer specific recommendations for how far the stripper falls from the tip of the spool axle and how far beyond that the choke guide should be placed. If you would like the short version, in about 95% of layouts, the stripper will end up between 19 and 24 inches from the front of the reel spool and the choke point will be an equal distance from the stripper (give or take a few inches). Assuming you have the seat installed before finalizing your layout, simply add the reel, make the measurement and tape the stripper in position. For smaller reels try the closer distance in the range…say 19-inches. For larger reels or bigger spools - push the stripper further away.
Get that library started for fast, EASY reduction train choices in the future.
It hasn’t been too many years ago that forums and even magazine feature articles were buzzing about the indisputable advantages of downsizing guides to micro proportion to regain all the performance lost on a blank equipped with “normal” sized guides. Custom builders seemed to be in heated competition on who could use the smallest guides. Sizes as small as 2 mm popped up and many builders swore a size 3 or 3.5 was the ultimate in lightweight performance. The pendulum was swinging toward smaller guides but as it did it drew a very distinct line in the sand.
On one side was the micro camp - those who believed that, indeed, the smaller guides did everything folks were claiming. On the other side were the “anti-micros”, experienced builders who simply refused to believe that any kind of fishing line could be coerced into slipping through such tiny holes at the breakneck speed needed to maintain any degree of “performance”. Call it the “Never Micros” movement.
Time passed (like six or seven years...the rod building community is not known for speed).
Micro fans became easy to spot at rod building gatherings. They were bleary-eyed, hunched over zombies with long fingernails and anxiety disorders attributable to the task of not only wrapping but trying to find and retrieve dropped micro guides from the floor. Carpets were ripped out to make the job easier only to discover the tiny guides could actually bounce into invisibility on solid concrete. “If you need 8”, they would say, “you better order 10.”
Ultimately, size 3’s gave way to size 4 or even 4.5. Micro lovers began to stand fully upright again. They trimmed their nails, no longer needing mother nature’s tweezers to pick up a guide.
Meantime staunch “Never Micros” members could not ignore the fact that micro rods did have lighter, more responsive tip sections. They were less “noodley”, crisper and recovered faster. Even spinning rods somehow managed to cast as well or even better with stripper guides as tiny as a size 16. A few threw caution to the wind and replaced their favorite size 8 runners with a 7 or maybe even (gasp) a size 6! Daring surf rod builders taped up size 30 strippers and casted tennis balls in frozen ball parks in the dead of winter. Shocked and amazed by results they could not dispute, "Never Micro” charter members started using smaller guides.
The pendulum has almost stopped.
A size 5 or 5.5 manages line beautifully, doesn’t add much weight, can be located and retrieved from the floor and allows you to cut 9 fingernails keeping only one for packing and burnishing. Best of all, Micro fans are now standing fully erect like fellow homo sapiens.
"Never Micros” protesters find the 5.5 big enough to pass knots, easy to wrap and strong enough to keep them from feeling queasy when recommending them to fellow members. They get a much crisper action and feel than they did with a size 8 and, best of all, they can insist a 5.5 is not “really” a micro.
Has your pendulum stopped swinging?
I often see forum comments that go something like, ”Well, the guy said he used K guides but I don’t know anything about the whole K thing. Is there another guide I can use?” It seems a number of builders are thrown off track by the whole complicated mess. So much so that they turn to other guides and miss out on what is now, indisputably, one of the greatest products Fuji has ever offered.
I’d like to fix that, so my objective here is to demystify the K-Series. My job at Anglers Resource is ”communications” so, if there’s a problem, I must be at least partially responsible. I’d like to help those of you who have shied away become familiar enough to jump in and never look back. Once you understand a few very basic changes Fuji made with this introduction you’ll be wondering why you waited.
You probably already know a lot about the K-Series. You’ve heard about the tangle free features and the sloped frame and ring - and that’s all good. But what’s with all those letters and styles and concepts? I’ll be the first to admit it can get a little overwhelming.
Briefly, let’s go back to where your confusion may have started. And, listen up ”old” guys because this is where we lost a lot of you.
A few years back putting together a guide train was pretty simple. If it was a casting rod you just chose a frame like an MN or an LN and ran them from the stripper to the tip. On spinners it was slightly more difficult when going from an SV or LV to a single foot L runner. You had a few other choices like AT for ultra lights or the N for heavier stuff, maybe even the old LC for surf fishing but it was like falling off a log when you finally settled on the best frame for your type of builds.
Then along comes the K-Series.
Fuji dumped a huge amount of new information about the tangle free design and new models and new layout suggestions and - what do you know, people got confused. So what did Fuji do? Did they wait for the world to catch up to the new styles and new suggestions? Did they wait for the dust to settle and let builders become familiar and comfortable with K-Series use and layout? Hell no, they introduced ”belly” guides and micro K-series guides and then defined an entirely new concept called KR CONCEPT and introduced still more K-guides for the latest concept. And all of this was being influenced by a whole other idea that was fast become mainstream - micro rods.
I know. It makes me nervous just writing about it.
Take a deep breath and let me see if I can stuff this genie back in the bottle and take it out one easy piece at a time.
Step one of your rehab is to realize that Fuji had no choice but to introduce the K-Series with at least 3 new guides. They couldn’t offer you a tangle free stripper that reduced your line down to an L frame that could possibly create a wind knot. It HAD to be a complete selection. A single foot, a double foot and a runner - that was the minimum.
So we were introduced to the KW double foot, the KL single foot and the KT runner. There was nothing new about how to use them. The KW was to be used exactly like an SV (or MN). The KL was to be used exactly like an LV (or Y) and the KT was the K-Series version of the old single foot L runner. If you were comfortable with any of the older New Guide Concept products and/or principles, K-Series was a seamless no-brainer - and still is. If you’ve stayed away because all the information AFTER the original three guides confused you, you may have missed some really nice opportunities with these guides.
Next came the KB.
As guides got smaller, Fuji documented a problem with the mid-rod stress on small guides with small feet. It was obvious the foot needed to be big enough to withstand these stresses. Enter KB. And a little added confusion. It was available only in small sizes for micro guide trains so if you were building a heavy power rod with size 7 runners you would need a KW (or KL) to KT layout, but if it was a light power spinning rod with size 5 running guides you would need a KW (or KL) to KB to KT layout.
It’s pretty simple really. Below a size 7 runner always add the KB to the layout. Use at least 2 on a baitcaster and at least 1 on a spinning rod. Jot this down somewhere.
So here’s the takeaway. Use the original K-Series guides EXACTLY like you have been using Fuji guides (or any other guides for that matter) since the New Guide Concept came out 19 years ago. EXACTLY.
KW is the double foot. Use it like the old SV or MN. It’s available from a size 50 down to a size 5 - suitable for virtually ANY double foot rod you may ever hope to build. No mystery.
KL is the single foot. Use it like the old LV. It’s available from a size 30 down to a size 12 - suitable for any spinning rod reduction train except maybe the largest surf rod. Why is it not available below a size 12, you ask? Because below a 12 you actually get into running guide sizes so the KT picks up with the size 10.
KT is the running guide. Use it like the old L runner. It picks up where the KL leaves off at a size 10 and goes down to a 4. Perfect for any single foot runner needed on any rod - micro or otherwise.
Stick with K-Series guides for the complete guide train. They all feature a sloped frame and ring and they are all tangle free...and they look great together.
Next came the KR CONCEPT.
KR CONCEPT is, in simplest terms, the NEW GUIDE CONCEPT for Micro (and braid) Rods. Fuji rushed the KR CONCEPT into the limelight before many builders had finished experimenting with the original K-Series and the confusion that ensued is what has caused many builders to throw up their hands and walk away from the whole ”K thing”.
Let’s sort it out.
Fuji added a series of guides with high frames and small rings called, KL-H, designed to be used on micro rods. This is SO confusing because it appears that the original KL single foot and the high-frame small-ring KL-H single foot are somehow related. The only thing they have in common is that they both have the sloped frame, sloped ring that defines a ”K” guide and they are both single foot.
They are never used together! KR CONCEPT should have been called the FUJI MICRO/BRAID CONCEPT and the KL-H should have been called MBK for Micro/Braid K. If Fuji had made that one modification I doubt we would need to explain all of this in an article.
So here’s the takeaway. The KR CONCEPT uses the KL-H to create a reduction train for micro or braid spinning rods. The KL-H is NOT used for any other K-Series layouts and it is not used with KL or KW guides...EVER. Think of the KL-H as a completely separate guide from the K-Series, used only for micro rods or rods casting braid to 30#.
There is at least one very simple thing about the ”K stuff”. Runners are common to all K-Series Guides. In other words, the KB ”Belly” Guide and the KT Single Foot are used for all K Guide builds, both regular and KR CONCEPT.
The only thing we have not addressed to this point is casting rods, and fortunately there is little difference between a ”K” casting rod and KR CONCEPT casting rod. The regular ”K” layout recommends a size 10 KW double foot as a stripper every time, followed by up to 3 KB’s of any size down to a 6 and then matching KT’s to the top. When runners drop below size 6, according to Fuji, the rod becomes a micro rod and therfore is a KR CONCEPT rod which requires the newest KR guide called an RV. RV is a ”reverse” size 6 stripper that has a higher frame to handle and smooth line flow quicker from a levelwind spool. And, of course, it’s the first K guide to NOT have the letter K in its item number. Go figure.
In sum, let’s try some ”rules” to clarify and condense things:
1) KW and KL are used for standard NEW GUIDE CONCEPT layouts just like any other Fuji concept guide.
2) KL-H is a K-Series tangle free guide but is used only for micro or braid rod layouts. It is never used with the KW or KL and is a completely different animal.
3) KB is always a running guide and is used as a choke guide and a mid-rod guide for high stress areas.
4) KT is the sole running guide in the K-Series selection.
5) KB and KT are used together on ALL K-series rods both NGC and KR CONCEPT.
6) RV is used only as a stripper on a KR CONCEPT casting rod.
If you’ve read this far I hope you know more than you did and hopefully you are less confused than when you started. I am certain at this point that most of the confusion stems from Fuji’s poor use of the nomenclature that describes these guides and an overwhelming flood of information in a relatively short 24 month period.
I’ll try to answer any questions you may have.
Thanks for following along.
Now that the novelty of the Microwave Guide System has ebbed a little we feel it’s time to share some information that, while admittedly biased, is nonetheless based on simple observation. Obviously, something new in the component industry will be introduced with as much fanfare as possible by the company bringing it forward, and occasionally some smoke and mirrors. We are as guilty of that as anyone although Fuji, being the ever-modest patriarch, feels obligated to temper our claims from time to time. Forum posters call it ”hype”, but we doubt you would pay much attention to boring new products.
MIcrowave has built it’s campaign around the idea that it’s ”Not a Concept, it’s Reality” as if a concept is suddenly a bad thing. Fuji’s concepts have revolutionized the component industry and driven more change than any other contribution to the craft. The ”Reality” is that the sum total of American Tackle’s contribution to new design and innovation counting the introduction of the Microwave System - is one. Considering the fact that they bought the manufacturing rights from someone else, crediting them with even one innovation might be too generous.
But let’s get back to the idea that reality is better than a concept. Is that true? Is a rod building philosophy that can be applicable to thousands of rods used for hundreds of species actually be a bad thing? Can mastering a point of view that steers a builder through any project actually be a cumbersome limitation? We don’t think so. We think that Fuji’s building concepts have actually sparked a liberation, freeing rod builders for more experimentation, more personal innovation, more debate, more sharing and more advancement in the craft than any reality ever could. Would you rather work with a set of goals for a project and have the freedom to reach those goals in a variety of unique ways; or simply transfer information from one place to another? One experience sparks new thinking, the other is, in our opinion, a little robotic.
Fuji concepts become reality in the hands of custom rod builders. The ”reality” of the Microwave System is that it is, in the final analysis, a kit. No leeway, no latitude, no creativity, and no control. We won’t argue the fact that it works pretty well and it’s very easy. That will fill the bill for a lot of builders but we stand by the notion that the more you move forward in the craft, the less appealing ”kits” become.
Beyond the obvious variation in opinion between a concept and a reality, we also took a look at how the numbers stacked up in a head to head comparison of Microwave versus Fuji’s new KR Concept. This may be a mute comparison at this point since American Tackle has since reversed course on their frontal attack of the NGC and KR Concept, at least that was the case when we checked their web site before starting this commentary. Still, their introductory claims were squarely aimed at the NGC and KR before ultimately settling on the Cone of Flight as the chosen target. Is the Microwave better than Cone of Flight? Yes. And so are most guide train layouts compared to a method first used some 30 plus years ago.
Using the ”kit” ordered from Mudhole and following the installation guidelines to the letter, we looked at the Microwave System using a Shimano Sustain 4000FE on a 7’0” blank. We securely taped up the Microwave System followed by a taped up KR Concept build resulting from information entered into GPS at our web site. Before we started we weighed the layouts, comparing stainless to stainless.
The combined weight of the Microwave guides was 5.49 grams while the KR Concept guides totalled 6.38 grams. Less than 1 gram of weight separates the two layouts even when you include an additional reduction guide and the new wide footed KB in the KR layout. One might conclude that with only a single stripper, the Microwave would be much lighter than the KR but that is not the case.
The Microwave places the multi-ringed stripper at 19 1/2 inches and the choke at 39 7/8 inches, a reduction train length of just over 20 inches, with a single transition guide at 30 1/2 inches. The KR Concept is "reel dependent" and using the Rapid Choke outlined in the concept the choke point is at 31 inches or within 1/2 inch of the position of the transition guide on the Microwave layout. Interesting that even though the Microwave claims to have all the choking done in a single guide it doesn’t actually reach a fully choked running guide until 39 7/8 inches beyond the spool lip. THAT’S 8 7/8 INCHES FURTHER OUT THAN A KR CONCEPT ROD with the set up we used.
Because of the single multi-ringed stripper, the Microwave System claims more sensitivity and ”crispness” than other layouts. Not necessarily. Most would agree that the upper two thirds of the rods is most critical in determining sensitivity, recovery and even power so we separated the rod into thirds and compared the top two thirds and the bottom third to see which system offered a superior top section. The bottom third was a gimme, Microwave had a single guide where KR had two. In the bottom third KR weighed 2.35 grams more than the Microwave, an amount that is most likely imperceptible in that section of rod and certainly has little bearing on action or sensitivity.
In the top two thirds the Microwave System included the transition guide (remember it was 30 1/2 inches out from the spool lip) and 7 size 6 runners. The KR included a KB choke point guide size 4.5 and 7, KT4.5 runners. Total weight of the top two thirds of a Microwave rod was 2.0 grams. Total weight of a KR layout in the top two thirds was .73 grams.
63% lighter than Microwave.
We have noticed that now the Microwave kit includes size 5 running guides so these numbers have changed somewhat but KR is still substantially lighter than MW where it matters most. Plus, KR includes an additional runner. Not only is the top lighter and more responsive it is also more sensitive and more powerful thanks to better tracking of the blank’s bend and more ”touch” points on the blank.
Once layed out, the casting results were among our least surprising results. Our 7 foot KR Concept rod consistently out-casted the Microwave but only by a little. Both were smooth, with low vibration and distances were impressive by any standard. Still, the KR rod felt a bit lighter while casting and recovery or ”crispness” was notably better in the KR rod.
The final choice is up to you of course and that’s OK with us. It’s likely most builders will have to try the Microwave for its novelty if nothing else. We simply wanted to set the record straight and we couldn’t bear to sit by and have the Fuji brand misrepresented. We appreciate American Tackle’s apparent decision to compare the Microwave to the COF rather than NGC or KR. There’s plenty of room in the component market for all of us.
Having not been in the component business as long as some folks at Anglers Resource, it came as quite a surprise when my cohorts were amazed at the speed with which the KR CONCEPT was catching on. KR CONCEPT enjoyed a limited introduction at last year’s ICAST (2011) but it was early 2012 before we saw sufficient inventories from Japan to widely promote any in-depth information about this new idea and the products that supported it.
The New Guide Concept, in contrast, was first outlined in 1995. Products to support the ”lighter, smaller, more” concept followed in subsequent years, but it was a full 5 years before the New Guide Concept could be considered ”accepted” as a new rod building philosophy. As MN, LN, LC and AT ”concept” guides came to market, the use of NGC became more widespread. Ultimately it became the best known, most widely accepted rod building idea worldwide. Its basic parameters are still the heart and soul of high performance rods in virtually every country in the world over 17 years after its introduction.
Primarily through printed information, word of mouth, trade show demonstrations and face-to-face sales calls by dedicated reps, news of the New Guide Concept slowly crept out to custom builders and factories alike. The promises rang true and over a decade or more, NGC became the accepted standard.
Things have changed.
It’s not hard to find an article detailing the way technology has compressed the time frame needed to introduce new products. It can be difficult, however, to actually live through the lightening fast pace that the internet, social media and various Google technologies can demand from the average small business. In just over 6 months of availability, the KR CONCEPT has raced through forums, been scrutinized by the most savvy rod builders, withstood the resistance of NGC diehards, been commented on editorially in places that would have never said a word about rod building a decade ago (i.e.Bassmaster Magazine) and in record time been reviewed, approved and applied to literally thousand of rods all over the world. No doubt that’s a small percentage, but at the current pace, KR CONCEPT will soon rank as the most sweeping change in rod building philosophy in the history of the craft. What took 17 years to achieve with the New Guide Concept could be eclipsed in mere months by KR CONCEPT!
At the recent ICAST Show, St Croix won Best of Show, Casting Rod with a Legend Extreme brandishing a KR CONCEPT layout, a stroll through the show revealed rods from Okuma, Black Hole, Kistler and Dragon (Japan) with KR Layouts. Shimano and Diawa have models on deck or already released. Orders for thousands of KR Guides were in house 3 months before there arrival. The list goes on and on.
Saying technology has compressed the time frame for new product introductions is not only true, it is also mind boggling for anyone over 40 actually living through it. Still, most would agree that the information available helps consumers make better, more informed buying decisions. That’s a good thing.
Welcome to the future.
Fuji components for this exciting new rod building strategy are readily available, and yet, the question of exactly how to layout a ”KR CONCEPT” rod keeps popping up frequently. Currently, many builders choose to use the new GPS for KR Concept software which makes a solid KR CONCEPT layout a simple click away. In the meantime, it makes sense that even with GPS, rod builders might appreciate information on a ”manual” layout. We agree.
To fully understand the KR CONCEPT it helps to have a little insight into Fuji’s philosophy on such things. Few companies better manage a combination of pride and humility in their products. Fuji monitors the market, anticipates trends, outlines the research, develops the products and delivers high quality again and again. They somehow manage to do this in an incredibly humble way. Respect, honor, integrity and humility aren’t mission statement words, you get the sense that’s it’s actually the way they were ”brought up”. It’s part of the culture.
It’s important to understand this point of view and how it relates to any ”new” product Fuji introduces. New products are accompanied by new ideas and information not because Fuji wants the world to swallow the bait and buy their products, but because they feel a true sense of obligation to let you know as the consumer exactly what problems they were addressing, exactly what solution they uncovered and exactly how you can benefit from the proper use of the products they offer. Unlike the hype encountered with many American products, Fuji consistently understates the claims they make about new products.
KR CONCEPT is a good example. Fuji watched the market trend toward smaller guides, did the research independent of any outside influence, developed the products and introduced them along with a complete rationale to the consumer. Their position is clear; KR CONCEPT is an extension of the New Guide Concept and is not a micro-build strategy. In fact, they prefer to think of the KR CONCEPT as a New Guide Concept for braided line. How unique. A suggested rod building strategy that falls somewhere between the New Guide Concept and Micro Rods. KR CONCEPT is a layout idea that comes down squarely on the side of performance, pulling the best of the New Guide Concept together with the best of the ”micro-movement”.
Now all you need to know is how to build one.
Since it's introduction in 2011, we have studied and built KR CONCEPT rods to be able to convey, to the best of our ability, the essence of the theory and Fuji’s outline for a successful rod. Fuji’s english translations are challenging to say the least, but combined with video footage and lots of email, we believe we understand.
START WITH the NEW GUIDE CONCEPT
KR is an evolution of NGC. Fuji suggests we start there. The most literal interpretation of Fuji’s NGC that we have found is our own GPS software. It follows Fuji’s original concept to the letter.
Step #1: The fastest and possibly the most effective method to quickly establish a layout for a KR Concept rod is simply to click on the home page link on this site and locate "GPS for KR Concept". Fill in the requested information and your results will provide an excellent layout for 99% of the rods being built with this concept
If you don’t have access to GPS, remove the spool and lay the rod on the edge of a table (Fig 1). Align the spool axle parallel to the edge of a table. The point where the rod crosses the edge of the table is the same choke point GPS will compute for you.
Step #2: Select a KL-H16, 20 or 25 and position it where the guide foot is on the blank and the top edge of the frame is aligned with the edge of the table. In GPS for KR Concept, the work is done for you, simply jot down the measurements. The results with GPS and the ”table slide” should be the same. Choose the guide of proper height to fall at around the 19 to 21-inch range. If you are using mono or fluor line from 8 to 12 lb test or braid of 15 lb or above, try to choose the size 20 stripper. Lines below these weights will pass well through a size 16, lines above these weights will work best with a size 25 stripper.
Step #3: With the stripper in position and the rod still positioned along the table edge, you can place the choke guide at the point where the blank crosses the edge of the table. Work between the stripper and choke to position additional reduction guides roughly on the blank. You will do this with the proper "GROUP" of KL-H guides. Using a suggested group will assure you a "bullseye" configuration. The suggested groups are as follows. Note that not all the groups require that you build a micro rod. There are KR Concept layouts that are considered "conventional" layouts:
For Micro Rods up to 15lb braid or up to 8lb mono:
KL16H, KL8H, KL5.5M
For Micro Rods 15 to 20 lb braid or 8lb - 12lb mono:
KL20H, KL10H, KL5.5M
For Micro Rods above 20lb braid or 8lb - 14lb mono:
KL25H, KL12H, KL5.5M
For Conventional Rods up to 20lb braid or up to 12lb mono:
KL20H, KL10H, KL6L or KL7L
Note: For a 4 guide reduction train on long rods use KL20H, KL10H, KL7M, KL6L
For Conventional Rods above 20lb braid or up to 14lb mono:
KL25H, KL12H, KL7M or KL8M
Note: For a 4 guide reduction train on long rods use
KL25H, KL12H, KL7M, KL6L or
KL25H, KL12H, KL8M, KL7L
Step #4: Once these guides are positioned and your choke guide is taped at the choke point you have successfully set up the reduction train of an New Guide Concept rod. This rod will likely perform very well under the NGC rules, but this is the point where Fuji makes a modification that transforms the rod into a KR CONCEPT rod.
Step #5: Remove the last reduction guide and replace it with the choke guide in the same position. This will usually move the choke point 4 to 6 inches closer to the reel. Fuji has determined that we can ”cheat” a little here and bring the line down to the blank a little faster than the New Guide Concept would allow. The smaller rings of the KL-H guides control line faster which allows quicker control along the blank and actually increases rod performance. Fuji calls it ”Rapid Choke” and it is the heart of KR Theory. With the new choke point established, go back and "rebuild" the reduction train by either using the table edge again or by stringing a line from the top of the new choke guide to the top of the original stripper position. Do not move the stripper guide from it's original NGC position. Line up the top edge of the guide frames along the new line as you did when assembling the original reduction train. For Ultra Light rods you may need to remove one guide in the reduction train, but at the very least you will need to move the second and third reduction guides to line up with the original stripper and the new choke point. You will have created a more compact, lightweight reduction train when complete.
Step #6: The choke guide and the next guide in the running train should be Fuji's big-footed KB guide. The remaining running guides should be KT guides. Use static load testing (the tutorial is on this site) to position the remaining guides. KR CONCEPT suggests at least two KB (wide foot) guides in the belly section of the rod after discovering that a shorter reduction train moves mid-rod stresses into small running guides. This problem is solved with the wider, longer foot of the new KB guide.
(Click for larger version)
1) Some rod builders do not realize that NGC in its current form works to move line down quickly to the blank. Note how the spool axis and the yellow line flow cone do not exactly match from the reel to the stripper. The reason is that NGC recommends the top edge of the guide frame be positioned on the projected spool axle line, NOT through the middle of the ring. This slightly changes the angle of line travel toward the blank without affecting performance and contributes to faster, smoother line control.
2) Rapid Choke pushes the limits even further by reducing ring size, removing a reduction guide on light action rods and shortening the overall reduction train.
3) Stripper position does not change from NGC to KR.
4) KR Concept rods can be either micro or conventionally built rods
Tape the guides in position, mount your reel and test cast. Use any preferred method you have learned from previous NGC set-ups to fine tune your KR CONCEPT rod.
In our testing, KR CONCEPT rods are a little smoother and quieter than a comparable NGC rod when casting braid. KR Rods cast slightly longer in most cases and occasionally much longer depending on the rod/blank combination. All of Fuji’s testing and high speed photography was done using fluorocarbon, before a final test using braid. They felt that if the theory was tested with stiffer fluorocarbon the results with braid would be far better. With these results in hand the final tests with braid were performed and the theory was modified only slightly before finalizing the design of the new KL-H and KB guides that make up the KR CONCEPT.
All KR developmental work was performed using the design features of Fuji’s newest K-Series guides. Although Fuji was unable to quantify and therefore does not make any such claims about the ”K” design of the new KR CONCEPT guides, there is a widespread belief that the forward leaning ring contributes in some way to a more effective ”Rapid Choke”. Further, the tangle-free design of K-Series guides became very important in the design of high-frame, small-ring guides for the KR CONCEPT.
There has been some discussion lately about the relationship between Measured Upsweep and 27X and Tom Kirkman has, as he should, suggested that 27X is usually best for a variety of reasons. Tom developed 27X and his position is both expected and respected. 27X is, in fact, a big part of the inspiration for developing the GPS software. GPS automates the ”upsweep angle on the table edge” outlined in Tom‘s original work. Tom and I collaborated on the original idea of GPS and we are in 100% agreement on the importance of guides being positioned along the resultant line from the spool to the choke point. The only fork in our thinking occurs in a discussion of how to locate a choke point.
Tom’s original work strives for a methodology that solves the choke point puzzle on a large scale and allows builders to get on with the business of building the rod. Such a method makes perfect sense, and removes a rather tedious extra step from the whole building process (reel measurement). This allows custom rod builders to maintain an efficient and profitable work flow.
In our extensive search of Fuji’s New Guide Concept, we found that 27X was an excellent and practical application of the ideas put forth by Fuji engineers many years ago. However, the fact remained that 27X gave little play to reel spool angle and its contribution to overall rod performance.
Still, there are many technically oriented builders out there who we believed would appreciate a method for determining upsweep and it’s resulting impact on choke point location. We believed that if we provided the software and the proper support, people would choose for themselves the importance of ”upsweep” in various layouts.
Obviously, Angler Resource’s based its research on Fuji’s original work. For that reason, we chose to offer a technique for determining and working with spool axis angle . The fact remains that a spinning reel’s angled spool axis, when projected, INTERSECTS the blank at a single, definable point. Paying attention to where that point is creates a reduction train that ”manages” what already wants to happen, resulting in less energy lost on changing the line path and more energy used in the work of casting the lure.
GPS strives to do this by placing guides in this critical, computed line path and reducing the diameter of the line coil as quickly and efficiently as possible. That line path is UNIQUE TO EACH REEL based on the angle it WANTS to send coils being pulled from the spool. The more the reduction train respects this tendency, the better the line will travel. Every rod builder knows this is true based on experience with the noise and vibration of misplaced guides.
The goal of GPS is to amass a library of information that will make placing guides as easy as clicking a reel model (note the ”reel” tab in GPS is under construction. In the future we hope that measurements supplied by builders will make this section a valuable resource). With measurements already made, GPS will instantly provide starting point positions based on prior information from reels already measured.
One other variance bears quick discussion when comparing Upsweep vs 27X and that is the importance of spool diameter. 27X brings spool diameter into the equation as a key factor in choke point determination yet a growing body of knowledge from micro rod builders all but negates what has until now been considered critical in proper reduction train set-up. Even Fuji’s new KR CONCEPT (with over a year of hard data to back it up) shows that large spool diameters can not only be successfully cast through smaller and smaller stripper guides but also that these layouts are actually BETTER in many cases than conventional NGC layouts with large ring strippers. Put another way, Fuji thinks this information is so important it is willing to dispute its own New Guide Concept to offer a refined and updated micro-build theory! Research and experimentation seem to support the idea that spool axle ANGLE and guide HEIGHT are the two most critical factors in optimum layout. By building with these factors in mind, builders are producing rods that have choke points up to 25% closer to the reel. These rods use at least one less reduction guide and end up lighter, faster, more sensitive and longer casting than comparable NGC rods.
Cone of Flight, New Guide Concept (GPS), 27X and now KR CONCEPT: all have a place depending on the ultimate goal of the rod builder and each rod builder should be familiar enough with these methods to pick and choose what is best for the particular application at hand.
27X has been a lifesaver for many rod builders and will continue to be for many more. I would like to personally thank Tom for his collaboration in the development of GPS and hope that in some way it too can become an accepted and useful tool in the rod building community.
GPS will no doubt be a strong reason to visit our site on a regular basis, and as we went through the whole developmental process we became aware that, used properly, GPS was a truly powerful tool. Still, like anything new, it also held the potential to be misused, abused and confused. Below is what we consider to be the "best" way to use GPS. As a time-saver and guide to an excellent layout.
If you read through the information you’ll notice that we constantly refer to GPS as a ”starting point” and a way to ”explore” the possibilities. If you will use the tool as we’ve suggested we think you’ll be very pleased with the results. If that sounds a little vague, perhaps it is. Perhaps the best way to understand how to use GPS might be a review of what I went through a few days ago with an 7’ 6” foot spinning rod. It’s a good example of a starting point followed by a little effort that led to exceptional results.
The reel was a Shimano STRADIC 4000FE. I carefully measured it (more than once) and got an A = 87.75mm, B = 77.8mm and C = 125.6mm. I charted these measurements on the permanent card I used to measure the reel and filed it for future reference.
I wanted K-Series guides and since it was a fairly stout rod I opted for KW double foots in the reduction train. GPS gave me a readout for every KW from 50mm to 5.5mm. Right away, I had plenty of ”custom” potential. Knowing I would ”like” a stripper in the 18 to 27 inch range, I looked at the 25 at 18.5 inches and the 20 at 24.9 inches. I like small guides in most cases including the reduction train so I decided to start with the 20mm at 24.9 inches. Reasonable spacing then led to a 12 at (GPS generated) 30.5 inches and a 5.5 at (GPS generated) 35.5 inches. The 5.5 seemed close to the 12 but I have a ”rule” of sorts in my head that goes something like ”no reel measurement is perfect, give yourself an inch or two forward or back on each guide in your search for perfection.” If the 12 moved back and the 5.5 moved forward, I’d be OK.
All taped and ready to go. With 3/8 oz of lead and 20lb braid I was hitting 50 to 51 yards out of the box. Not bad, but there was a bit of noise and a little vibration. I felt it could be better. I would cast and hold the rod to my ear and then cast and hold the rod up against a dark background to watch the line pass through the guides. I finally reached the conclusion that maybe this particular reel and line combo needed less ”early” choking and a little more room to breath as it fired toward the choke point.
Back to the bench where the 20 and 12 came off and the 25 and 16 went on exactly as GPS suggested at 18.5 and 28.7 inches with the 5.5 left at 35.5. I taped it, looked at it and moved the 5.5 forward one inch (see rule above).
All taped and ready to go. The same weight was now casting 55 - 56 yards consistently. The set-up was quieter and had just a whisper of vibration remaining. Picked up about 15 feet. Good, but I’ve kind of developed a feel for ”real good” and it wasn’t there yet. At this point I’m not positive it can get any better, so now I’m definitely in the experimental zone.
I had a hunch after watching the line so many times that the layout might get better with a little more height in the first couple of guides. I didn’t think I needed a bigger ring (I don’t think I’ve ever used a 30) but the height seemed like the way to go. Off came the KW and on went the KL single foots that would give me a millimeter or two more height and move guides back toward the reel a few inches. GPS told me to put the KL25 at 17.1 inches and rhe KL12 at 29.4 inches. Now I had a problem. I needed another reduction guide to get to my GPS choke point at 39 inches and KL stops at size 12! After doing some calculations myself and making a note to include KT guides in GPS, I added a KT10 at 37 inches, skipped the first runner at the choke point since the KT10 was so close and placed the first runner at 44 inches (I’ll go back later and adjust when I static load for the running guides).
All taped up and ready to go. Same weight. Smooth at cream, almost no vibration or noise with casts in the 59 - 60 yard range. This will be a great rod for 3/8 to 1/2 oz X-raps when I’m chasing fall speckled trout in the lagoons and rivers and should work good for grubs and slash baits in deep water as well.
So, is GPS for zombies who can’t think for themselves? Does it take the ”custom” out of custom rod building? Does it make everyone an expert rod builder?
GPS is a tool like so many tools used in rod building. Used properly and with reasonable expectations it can save huge amounts of time and help any builder stay on track to a final product that is as good as it can be. We hope you enjoy the journey!
Welcome to the new web site. It’s been a challenging project and as with all things ”web”, it will remain a work in progress. The sweeping change is obvious even at a glance, but it’s a reflection of many discussions about what a web site representing the worlds leading maker of fishing components should be about. Carl Haber has always had a vision of Anglers Resource being a reliable source of not only product information but also rod building information, he just lacked the time to get the job done.
That all changed when he hired me just over a year ago. I had the marketing skills to continue to polish the brand, but I also had an insatiable curiosity about the rod building craft and the mechanics of exactly what was going on when I released a lure. That curiosity led to an inordinate amount of reading, a slew of questions for Fuji and a whole lot of lurking on various forums. It also led to a few empty masking tape rolls as I taped up various layouts like a madman and took copious notes.
I have learned a lot, but mostly I learned that just having the information available can make a world of difference in how smoothly a rod building project goes. I’ll be the first to admit, that on our web site, it all relates to the Fuji brand, but there are some pretty observant engineering types in Japan that offer a lot of generic findings about the basic physics of rod performance. Their findings will help the Fuji brand, but it will help each of us in many other ways as well. We, at Anglers Resource, feel an obligation to be not only the eyes and ears of Fuji in the US but the mouth as well by sharing what we learn from some of the top thinkers in the business.
In the end it may do us all some good and lead to better rods all around. We hope you choose to be involved.