Q: I am curious about the placement of guides on a fly rod. Specifically, I’m curious where the butt or stripping guide should be mounted. Can you lend any advice?
A: Most manufacturers agree that the number of guides should correspond to the number of feet in length of the fly rod, with perhaps one additional guide. For example, a 9-foot rod should have a total of nine guides (or 10 in some instances). Too many guides can soften the rod’s action, and the extra weight may force the tip not to dampen properly on the stop, creating energy-wasting waves in the line.
I personally feel that a stripping or butt guide should be mounted about 19 to 21 or 22 inches from the front of the rod handle. The size of the guide is most important. For saltwater fly-fishing, I like at least an 18 mm stripping guide for 7- through 9-weight rods. Use one size larger for any rod throwing a heavier line. If you err, it is best to err with a larger rather than smaller stripping guide. One too small will throttle the line being shot through the guide, reducing distance.