Fly Rod Line Guides
German silver ring and keeper guides were formerly furnished on nearly all fly rods, especially the cheaper ones, but now the snake guides are used more and they are the best metal guides, as they are always in position for the line to run through without binding. The tip should always be of agate, the small offset kind, as the friction here and the sharp angle of the line causes the enamel to wear off quickly. For the same reason the first guide above the reel should be of agate, but it should be small. It is not necessary that the other guides be of agate as the line runs straight through them, and agate would add to the weight of the rod.
In fly fishing, unless the automatic reel is used, nearly all anglers retrieve the line by hand and the reel takes no part in the playing of the fish. It merely holds the line that is not in use. This way of handling the line throws quite an angle in it where it enters the first guide, and as a consequence the line wears rapidly unless an agate guide is used. As an agate guide will only make your rod cost about fifty cents more and a new fly line will cost anywhere from one dollar to three and a half, or perhaps more, it will be readily seen that an agate first guide is cheapest.
German silver, bronzed, or oxidized ferrules are best in the opinion of many fly fishers, as they say the flashy nickel-plated ones will frighten the fish, and I do not doubt that the brook trout will be frightened by them sometimes, yet it doesn't seem that this would make so very much difference. The greatest objection to nickel plate is that it wears off and exposes to view the brass that it covers.
Brooks, Lake. The Science of Fishing. Columbus, OH: A.R. Harding, 1912. Print.
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