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Why Basements Hide Big Advances in Rod Guide Technologies

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Some would consider ”rod components” right up there with ”terminal tackle” as one of the most boring subjects in the tackle industry. In fact, many might argue that a lively discussion about a 10-layer paint job that winds up looking exactly like a live shad is probably more titillating than a heated debate over guide placement on a rod blank. Excluding debates about the size of a stripper guide, most tackle freaks would agree. But overlooking rod components can be a costly mistake—one that FTR has teamed up with Fuji to eliminate.

The component world has no shortage of technofreaks, gurus, piddlers and why-notters in their ranks, like many other narrow-focus trades; but in this case, the results trickle down to some 30 million fans of angling in the United States alone. If you’re reading this article, you are likely one of those fans, whether for your shop or general lifestyle— so these super fans matter to you. What you see on store shelves today, the component geeks were working on in well-lit basement corners or converted garage workshops months ago.

Here’s how their stories often go:

A guy with a masters degree in engineering who’s actually being paid to think 24/7 about components develops a new product that seems to advance the technology. It is tested and ultimately manufactured and offered for sale.

Fuji Rod Components is by far the leading employer of the ”Masters in Engineering” crowd. They’ve been at it since Ryuichi Omura first looked at his flexible watchband stamping machines (remember Bulova watch- bands you could tie in a knot?) and wondered if he could stamp parts for a rod guide that would give him a leg up in the distance casting competitions he so loved in Japan. That was sometime before 1966 when the first CG Guide appeared. Since then, Fuji has been responsible for every major advancement in component technology.

Fuji has been innovating guides since the 1960’s.

Just in time for ICAST 2018, they’re debuting another major advancement worthy of your full attention. Back to the new product…

There are two crowds watching the newest products: factories and custom rod builders. The custom crowd jumps on new stuff like a cat on a mouse, but the factories, heavily invested in inventory and mass produced rods with specific, proven blueprints, lay back. The custom crowd, in basements and garages across the globe, proves the technology is sound and within two  to four years the advance is introduced by factories as ”new.” Some factories will jump sooner than others and gain a foothold on what’s coming. Others never will.

So, if you want to know what you’ll be fishing next year or the year after that you can sneak into somebody’s rod building shop. Or you can read the rest of this article.

A few years ago Fuji introduced the KR Concept – a high-frame, small-ring spinning and casting ”theory” that has started to show up on factory rods (see, we told you). It is a revolution and will ultimately change the rod building world. The KR Concept lightens the top section of the rod and controls and manages line far better than anything before. It is one guide series in the company’s flagship K-Series product line, a brilliant tangle-free, sloped design that has been around about six years.

Last year at ICAST Fuji introduced an improvement across the entire line of K-Series guides that is only now becoming available to custom builders and factories — and this time things are moving fast.

Fuji engineers are chemically treating stainless steel to make it 7 times more resistant to corrosion.

Fuji engineers have worked out a way to chemically treat stainless steel frames in an eco-friendly series of steps that result in a finish that is 7 times more corrosion resistant than untreated stainless steel. That’s huge news for the inshore saltwater crowd hesitant to spend the $350+ needed to get Titanium guides on a redfish rod. Rods featuring the new CC guide treatment will carry not only the patented, tangle-free design of the K-Series, they will also feature a corrosion factor far better than stainless guides of the past.

And at an affordable price.

The CC treatment is good looking, too. The frosted, matte-silver finish (CC) is non-reflective and looks very serious while the dark grey matte finish (BC) is the perfect compliment to an unfinished ”stealthy” bass stick.

Components may not be the most exciting subject in the tackle industry but the fact is it doesn’t really matter how many bearings or braking systems or backlash controls you have on a high-dollar baitcaster if you’re trying to drive the line through poorly designed or poorly placed guides.

To get your hands on this innovation. Visit a basement near you!

Joe Sills Hi there, did you know? Each week, we curate a list of the Top 5 stories in fishing and send them right to your inbox. Reading Tackle’s Top 5 is one of the best ways to become or remain an industry expert. -Joe Sills, Digital Editor

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