Acid-Wrap Rods Give Anglers the Advantage
by Jeff Giovinazzo, 1B1K Adventures
Have you ever heard of an “acid-wrapped” fishing rod? This term for the spiral-wrapped guide layout is said to come from a West Coast rod builder who was on acid when he twisted up the psychedelic-looking rod for the first time. Whether the name origin is true or false, I can’t say. But, I can tell you that the design is no gimmick. In fact, I’d go so far to say that acid-wrapped rods represent the greatest innovation to fishing since the invention of the reel.
Acid-wrapped rod design allows for a lighter build with better overall balance and weight distribution throughout the blank—resulting in more power and sensitivity from your tackle system.
Here’s how: spinning rods with their “bottom guide” design (meaning the guides are located on the bottom side of the blank when you’re fishing) require fewer guides that can be spaced farther apart from one another to maximize the blanks potential. This results in a lightweight—yet powerful—balanced rod.
A typical “top guide” conventional rod on the other hand (meaning the guides sit on top of the blank while you’re fishing) requires a greater number of stronger, taller guides, placed closer together, to achieve the same potential out of the same blank. This causes the rod to be inherently heavier and stiffer.
More weight equals more fatigue on the user, resulting in less fishing time. While you may not think a few guides make a difference, ask someone who’s into jigging and they will tell you a few grams can make all the difference in the world when working a rod feverishly for hours on end. A good fisherman is always looking for a slight edge over the next guy and having less weight in your gear creates a clear advantage.
There’s a reason why hard-hitting linebackers put down the weights once in a while to pick up yoga. It’s for balance. A more balanced athlete is a more productive and well-rounded player who can simply react instead of think. These split-second decisions can be the difference between making a play or finding a place on the bench. The same goes for fishing. The less you need to think or worry about your gear, the more you can focus on the task at hand, which is landing the fish of a lifetime. Acid wrap adds balance and stability to your tackle system.
When you’re fishing with a top-guide conventional rod, there’s torque being applied to the reel seat and the tip of the rod when it’s under a load. This torque forces the you to tightly grip the rod in order to prevent it from twisting or rolling over your hand, resulting in more fatigue. The industry standard to correct this issue is to add more guides to reduce this twisting motion. But Acid wrap seamlessly transfers the line to the bottom side of the blank, eliminating the torque on both the reel seat and the rod tip. The result is a more balanced and evenly distributed weight management system when under a load. By having the guides roll over and manage the line from underneath the blank, it stops the rod itself from trying to roll over, relieving the need to fight your gear and allowing you to concentrate on fighting your fish.
Another factor that inhibits balance on a standard conventional setup is that your reel is naturally heavier on the cranking side (handle side). This unbalance becomes more dramatic while under a load, resulting in even more instability. This cannot be eliminated from a conventional reel; however, it can be compensated for in the spiral rod design.
The spiral should always twist away from your cranking hand. This causes the rod to balance out when under a load, due to the fact that the fish is applying slightly heavier pressure to the side the guides are twisting and you’re naturally applying pressure to the side you’re cranking on. The outcome is an almost perfect balance. Without the need to focus on balancing your rod, your mind and body can focus on balancing more important tasks. This will undoubtedly result in better quick decision making, which as discussed earlier makes you a better player.
Another issue caused by lack of balance associated with standard conventional rods is when a fisherman tries to “crossover” or “roll” the line to the side of the rod that the fish is swimming on in an attempt to stay in contact with the fish. This is a natural reaction and one that causes a lot of unwanted wear and tear on your equipment. As a fish repeatedly darts left or right, this motion creates friction between your guides and line, which can ultimately result in equipment failure. But the transfer of the line to the bottom of the blank minimizes the friction caused by a crossover and results in less equipment wear.
These factors add up to a better all-around fishing experience. A lighter design, with no torque and precision balance, means that we can design a conventional rod that performs and handles like a spinning rod. The weight distribution allows for a lighter, more sensitive tip with a strong backbone for heavy lifting. This design is allowing us to build rods that have the power to take down giants, with enough sensitivity to feel even the slightest hit.
Imagine the benefits of having your carefully prepared baits 1500 feet down and still being able to register a bite. Or deep-drop fluke fishing with 12 pounds of lead and still having the ability to feel that flatty hit. Spiral wrapping is changing the way we think about conventional rods, yet only a few custom builders have used this method.
Yong Yan, a longtime fisherman and the owner of Jigging World and jiggingworld.com—a one stop tackle warehouse located at 174 Rt 17 N, in New Rochelle Park, New Jersey—is now on the forefront of spiral-wrap design. Yong’s scientific approach to angling and years of studying his craft lead him to search for a more stable fishing platform and one that would allow an angler to battle true giants of the sea without breaking their back or their wallet. Yong sent some of his custom designed “Ghost Hunter” blanks to a rod builder and asked if he could twist up some spiral wraps for testing. He quickly realized the benefits and adopted the method to all of his conventional rigs. He began asking local charter boat captains to put them to the ultimate test—a full season of hard fishing. Trip after trip, the build is proving its self to be a worthy weapon of choice up and down the East Coast. In any industry, it takes a pioneer to get a movement started. That movement has begun and Yong Yan is leading the way by pushing the limits of what we expect from high-end fishing equipment.
If you’re serious about wanting to be a more successful fisherman or looking to get into the sport, start with a tackle system that will help you land more fish by maintaining the stamina to be on the water longer. And before you start laughing at the guy next to you with the goofy, unorthodox rod, know this: the battle to gain any competitive advantage you can over your adversary in an environment that is unforgiving to mistakes is a battle of inches, and that guy is starting miles ahead of you…And if we’re being honest, we can all use a little more stamina and inches!