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Topic Review (Newest First)
05-17-2005 12:16 PM
natrix One mor thing I would like to add:

I have one spey rod where I put the guides on the hard side. I donít notice any effect in casting the rod, but with a heavy fish on the rod wants to rotate to one side or the other. I have learned to live with it but in the beginning it was kind of annoying.

05-11-2005 04:53 PM
sean Hmmm how about for 2 handers though and the Grant Switch which is basically performed by torquing the rod ~180 degrees on the lift and then torquing it back another 180 degrees on the forward cast. This multi directional torgue can really put a lot of energy into the cast and it considered by many the most powerful of any cast out there.

If true it would seem to blow away any directional alignment theories...

05-11-2005 04:35 PM
flytyer Pescophile,

OK, I concede.

But there are still rod companies and rod builders who place guides somewhere other than in line with or opposite the plane of the spline. There are many folks who have bought and use(d) Sage rods and Sage doesn' t spine the blank. They simply put the guides on the straightest plane of a rod section. And I don't think anyone would say Sage does not produce high performance rods, nor do I think that anyone would say that Sage rods do not track properly when cast despite not having the rod spined.

Personally, I think a spined rod is best; but this is only because I think a rod with the guides placed on or exactly opposite the spine puts just a little more power into the cast and tracks just a little straighter. However, I'm not sure if this is actually the case or not with our modern medium modulus graphite rods.
05-11-2005 11:40 AM
pescaphile I can see no reason whatsoever to have the spine out of line with the guide placement. Place it on the same side or place it opposite the guides, but place it anyplace else and the behavior of the rod will be asymetrical. Perhaps there's a valid reason to to this but I sure can't think of it.

FT, Nice argument but no sale. There's no slot or keyway and the term refers to the entire blank -not its components. But I agree it doesn't matter much (except for good language usage) as it will be undertstood by most fisherman.
05-11-2005 09:45 AM
teflon_jones Thanks very much for the definitions flytyer, Gary, and everyone else!

This raises another question for me: A lot, if not most, experienced casters I've seen do not cast with the rod/reel held perpendicular to the body. When looking at the reel, it'll be cocked at about a 30 degree angle away from the person. So when lining up the spine of the rod, shouldn't this be taken into account? The cast usually finishes with the reel coming down to the perpendicular position, but at this point the spine really doesn't matter since the cast has really been made and you're just waiting for the line to settle on the water.

The problem with this I see is that some people don't hold the rod this way, especially newer casters. But on the flip side, a newer caster might not notice where the spine is, so it might not matter to them. But an experienced caster may be able to notice a difference.
05-11-2005 05:13 AM
juro Common sense tells me that the spine should be in line with the flexing force of the cast. Clearly when the force from the casting hand is applied directly in line it makes a difference, therefore it only makes sense that the flexing characteristics of the rod should also be in line with the plane of the cast.

If a rod was held sideways in the hand and cast with a 'wiping' motion I think all would agree that much is lost vs. direct alignment with the thumb or palm. Therefore if the rod's spine is askew to the plane where force is applied, I would think there is a direct analogy in terms of physical characteristics to the 'wipe'.

With a single hander, pushing the thumb toward the target means pushing the blank directly in-line. I prefer a vee-grip with a Spey cast for the very same reason.

Nobuo insists on spine alignment with the casting plane for CND rods. For me it's just common sense and gut feel, but he must have a real reason.
05-11-2005 12:36 AM
flytyer Pescophile,

I agree with you when speaking of wooden rods (bamboo, greenheart), but not when speaking of tubuler fiberglass, boron, or graphite. Since spline is defined as the slot or groove that joins two parts together, it seems to me that when speaking of the high side of a rod blank, spline is the proper term. This because when the prepeg is wrapped on the mandrel (or the bamboo strips glued up into the blank), the place where they join produces a spline, and that is where the high side of a tubuler rod blank is found.

However, when speaking of bamboo, not only is there a spline for each strip, there is a spine, the stiffest strip in the rod section. And with greenheart, there is only a spine and not a spline.

At any rate, since the two of them are used to refer to the same thing by most fisherpersons, IMHO, it matters little which one someone uses.
05-10-2005 08:27 PM
pescaphile FT,
If you consult your dictionary, I think you'll find that Spine is the term that really applies.

I've heard both used for years and in fact always used spline myself - albeit incorrectly I think.
05-10-2005 02:22 PM
Gary W By coincedence, I had a friend call me the other day to say that he had sent a Powerlite Speycaster back to Bruce & Walker because, when the rod was set up, the top section appeared to go off at a slight angle to the others. I imagine that the rod was probably splined correctly, but asthetically it looked off to a buyer not familiar with splining.

On such a high end rod I would expect a perfectly straight blank!
05-10-2005 01:28 PM
flytyer Teflon_jones,

It is called both spine and spline, although spline is the more accurate term because it is describing the stiffest or least bendable side or plane of the blank. In other words, the spline is the side of the blank most resistant to bending (some folks think this also means it is the strongest side, but that is eroneous). It is found by either 1) placing the butt of a rod section (the thicker portion of the section) on a table, allowing the top or thinner portion of the section to rest on the 1st two fingers of one of your hands, and then pushing or flexing the blank down in the center of the section while slowly rolling it as you push down on it; 2) or by placing the butt (thicker portion of the rod section) againse the bottom edge of a table and pushing up in the center of the blank against the table and your other hand. The spline is located where the blank "jumps" or "resists bending".

However, as valuable splining is with bamboo or greenheart rods, its value with fiberglass, boron, or graphite is a matter of much debate. Supposedly rods with guides placed on or opposite the spline will have the rod blank track in a straighter plane when casting than those with the guides placed elsewhere. With wood rods (bamboo or greenheart) this makes perfect sense because of their much lower modulus and elasticity; but with modern tubuler fiberglass, boron, and graphite it is very difficult to quantify the difference (especially with the high modulus graphites) because they are so stiff and recover so fast the difference in tracking are rather minute.

That is why splining or not splining and putting guides on, opposite, or 90 degrees to the spline are each advocated by rod builders. It is also the reason some say to simply place the guides on the rod's straightest plane as you sight down the blank section and not worry about the spline (this is what Sage does).
05-10-2005 08:18 AM
teflon_jones I have a couple of questions here, not to hijack the thread, but...

1. Is it a "spine" or "spLine"? There are some knowledgable people on this thread who aren't calling it the same thing.

2. What is it?

3. How do you determine it?

Thanks, and sorry for the newbie questions, but I'm not a rod builder!
05-02-2005 01:19 PM
Gary W JohnnyB,

If you go into a shop and try a few rods from one manufacturer, you will usually find that they are all splined differently. That's because they are built in a factory where time eats into profit margin. Try some and if you cannot find one splined correctly, write to the manufacturer and ask why. Who knows you may get a correctly splined rod at a reduced rate!!
04-28-2005 12:22 PM
custom made T&T Horizon Series fly rod


If you go into a shop and take a couple of rods off the rack (Always ask first) and check the spine you will find that they are all over the place. Some high end rods are right on, some arenít. Its not that much trouble to remove and replace guides, you just have to be careful and take your time. On the other hand I guess it depends on what you want to do with your rod as to weather you want a super fine tuned rod or not. How does the rod cast. Does it do what you want it to do, if its OK donít try to fix it. If you want real accuracy or a distance casting tool I think having the guides in line with the spine makes a big difference.

Try test casting the rod and rotating the upper sections of the blank and see if it makes a difference.

I have also had blanks that have a natural curve to them that you can see as you roll the blank around. In that case I have settled for the natural curve of the blank. I donít think that hurts anything really.

04-28-2005 03:25 AM
Gary W I know some rod builders who swear by attaching the guides directly in line with the spline, be it on the soft or stiff side. This all depends on whether you want the rod to flex better on forward or back stroke, or to bend easily into a fish or give more leverage.

I also know rod builders who say that they line the sections up to be straight as possible and then place the guides accordingly. I have noticed that when you spine a blank properly, sometimes the sections do not line up straight, looking along the blank.

I also know that a well known blank manufacturer states - if you attach a 1 ounce weight to a the end of a blank the spine is unnoticeable.

I think that there may be advantages to playing with the guide placement on a spey rod. The sections on a spey rod get pulled in various directions during all but the overhead cast, and guide placement could be altered from the norm to maximise a rods potential for different casting styles. In fact, Bob Meiser's website has an article where he suggests that any rod builders try to play with the guide placement for this very reason.

This argument will rage on amongst the rod building fraternity, until somebody invents a machine(for consistency) to test if the tracking is affected by guide placement in relation to the blanks spline.

Does any human really notice a considerable difference for anything other than competition casting?
04-28-2005 03:03 AM
Originally Posted by juro

With all due respect of course you express an opinion that does not help me figure out any reasoning behind it.

When someone says that it's important to be on either side of a spine for the energy in a rod to be kept in line during a cast, not much explanation is needed.

But when someone says that wrapping guides out of alignment with a rigid area running the length of the rod, I have to ask...

specifically what kind of casting does this suit?

thanks in advance
Oh, I spined my rods, I'm just pointing out the lack of consensus -- one that appears broad and persistent. That lack of consensus would suggest that spining is largely a matter of fashion rather than function. If it was a matter of demonstrable function then there would be some form of general consensus on the subject as we would be able to satisfactorily prove it one way or the other. I don't think that there is even a consensus on the results obtained (if any) when you place the guides on the spine vs. opposite the spine.

Sage builds their rods so that any curvature of the rod is in one plane, improving appearance, and in the process, ignores the spine. I wonder how many other manufacturers ignore the spine? Many, I would suspect.

I don't specifically remember what I did with which rod, but I'd try and assess the action of the blank then spine it accordingly, including one or two where I reversed the spine in the top section.
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