Guide Placement with Static Deflection

Guide placement is always something that tends to come with a learning curve. Luckily, we at Mud Hole try to make it as easy as possible by provided recommended spacing on our rod building kits or now even on the back of our new CRB Guide kit packaging.

With the given spacing, it is as easy as placing your rod blank next to a tape measure and from the tip down, make your marks and then start wrapping.


Lets go Custom

What happens when your rod building gets more…custom? Let’s say you have a rod blank that is typically built as a spinning rod, but have a cool idea to build a light weight casting rod and a specific handle length? You could call Mud Hole and get one of our excellent customer service reps to assist in guide spacing, but its late at night and you need to get this project done so you can get to fishing! Welcome to guide placement and static deflection.

Quick review on Blank Spine

You are going to want to place the blank in the spine finder to give it a secure base as you are going to place the rod under a load. Keep in mind this can be done with handle and reel seat glued up or just a bare blank. (Mud Hole recommends doing it with handle and reel seat as you will be able to place a reel in the reel seat) Start by gluing on the tip top as you are going to use this to tie in line and create flex in the rod. Once you have the blank in the spine finder and the tip top glued on, tie some fishing line to the tip top and leave a length of about 6 feet of line. You will now need a base to tie the end of the line to hold the blank into a flex, a milk jug filled with water does a good job and has a handle to tie off your fishing line.

Lets Flex


Now before we tie onto the milk jug make sure the spine finder and jug are on the same plane. Reason behind this is we are going to create a right triangle. Just as in the graphic showing the rod under load, the blank is at a 45 degree angle and the line tied into the milk jug will be at a 45 degree angle once you have flex the blank. This method of flexing the blank will show you the apex or highest point where the blank arches and begins to curve down and point directly at the jug. This highest point is where you will place a guide as it is at the point of the blank flex. From this point you will temporary mark or place guides based on the flex.

Placing the Guides


Now that you have the flex point you can use guide tubing, tape or a light adhesive to temporarily place your guides on the blank to properly arrange them based on the flex of the blank. Untie the line from the jug and allow your blank to go back straight and then place your guide along the blank paying attention to the mark you made at the flex point. If you are doing a freshwater casting rod for example, you can probably estimate around 3” of spacing between the guides from the flex point and the tip as well as a couple guides back towards the butt of the rod. This is not a set in stone number but a starting point. The spacing will be determined by the flexing of the blank. You want to arrange the guides along the blank into what you believe will be close to the finished product. Do not worry if you do not hit the ideal spot on your first try as that is why we do this static placement.

Adjusting the Guides

Now that you have the guides temporary placed along the blank, run the line from the reel out through the guides and back to your milk jug anchor point. Remember, we want to use that 90 degree angle on the blank as a maximum flex point during a static load setup. Once the blank is loaded, you are ready to move the guide and position them to where the line does not rest on the blank while under load. Now, granted you could put 20 guides on a 7 foot rod and keep the line off the blank but that would greatly deter from the action and overall effectiveness of the rod. So, we try to walk the line of proper spacing and minimal guides. If you are new to this we do recommend the new CRB Gudie Kits as they have a proper amount of guides per length of rod plus guides spacing as a backup plan if you are having trouble with the static load setup.