Originally posted on 8/27/2014
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
- KW and KL are used for standard NEW GUIDE CONCEPT layouts just like any other Fuji concept guide.
- 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.
- KB is always a running guide and is used as a choke guide and a mid-rod guide for high stress areas.
- KT is the sole running guide in the K-Series selection.
- KB and KT are used together on ALL K-series rods both NGC and KR CONCEPT.
- 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.