Braid and Rod Rings

I have heard a lot of different views on how braid and rod rings interact over the years. There have been claims made that braided lines and standard aluminium oxide lined rings are incompatible. Sometimes it is claimed that the line will groove the rings, and other times that the rings will fray the braid. In my experience neither is the case if top quality rings are used. Fuji and Seymo rings are the ones I have experience of using, and neither have damaged my line nor been grooved by the line. This is based on using a number of different braids and fusion lines over the last decade or so, using them for heavy and light lure fishing, dead and livebait fishing and barbel fishing, in breaking strains ranging from 20lb up to 100lb. I have experienced no problems whatsoever - unless a ring has become cracked.

Inferior quality lined rings, on the other hand, will abrade the line and cause it to go 'furry'. I replaced the original rings on two jerkbait rods from a well known manufacturer with Fuji BSVOGs for a couple of my customers who were experiencing this problem. They had no further trouble. Sometimes this problem, especially on a rod used with a multiplier reel, can be caused by the line rubbing the frame of the tip ring - if the ring is poorly designed or made with sharp or rough edges to the frame. So, if you are experiencing frayed braid and have checked all the ring liners for cracks, even hairline cracks, the first step should be to replace the tip ring. If this doesn't solve the problem a complete re-ring is required.

As for braid grooving rings.... Well, I just can't see it unless the ring liners are very soft. Think about it this way. If you pull braided line over an edge (a rod ring) under tension the braid will flatten out to some degree, spreading the force on the insert over a wider area. Mono grooves wire rings because it is hard and doesn't deform as a braided line will. Mono doesn't groove good quality rod ring inserts (I have rings on rods that have been used with mono for well over a decade with no signs of wear) so braid is not going to cause any problems in that direction!

In the interests of research I fitted a few of my rods with SiC rings. While it is true to say that silicone carbide (SiC) rings are harder and smoother than aluminium oxide, and therefore theoretically even more friendly to braid, in practice the only difference I have ever noticed is a slight lessening of the noise the braid makes running through the rings under tension, and maybe a slightly smoother feel when retrieving line. Neither of these advantages is huge, and they might even be imaginary!

I guess I should be encouraging customers to have SiC rings fitted throughout on rods which will be used with braided lines in order to take more money off them, but in practical terms I would suggest that you might as well save a few bob and go for aluminium oxide rings. If you want a compromise then have an SiC tip ring fitted, and possibly a silicone carbide butt ring too - these being the rings where the line goes over them at the greatest angle, and, therefore, where the potential for damage is potentially greatest.

Not being someone who takes a great deal of care with his tackle I have certainly not been pampering these rods - I have even wound swivels through the tips rings a few times! So far they have proved to be no more prone to accidental damage than any other lined ring despite the fact that a silicone carbide liner is more brittle than one made from aluminium oxide.

(This article first appeared on this website - December 9th 2004)