Micros VS Traditional Guides. Has the Pendulum Finally Quit Swinging?



Traditional guides and micro guides with a pendulum hanging in between

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?