Snake guide questions

Are they necessary?

Q: What is your opinion of snake guides on fly rods?

John Steadman
Los Angeles

A: With rods up to perhaps 9- or 10-weight, I like one or two bridge guides on the lower portion of the rod plus the largest snake guides that the rod will cast well with. When fighting strong fish, the pressure put on snake guides will sometimes strip the coating from the fly line. For such fishing I prefer single-foot or bridge guides - no snakes.