KR Concept History
Fuji introduced its New Guide Concept in 1995, a theory developed with the aim of optimizing a rod’s performance by placing the appropriate number of guides in a certain layout and employing smaller and lighter guides throughout the blank. Rods built based on the New Guide Concept layout allowed greater casting distance, increased accuracy and sensitivity, optimized action and power, improved rod balance and reduced twisting torque, line twist and tangles.
The benefits of adopting the concept were based on the assumption of widespread monofilament line use at that time. Braided line has since become more popular and although it works well with the New Guide Concept theory to improve sensitivity, casting distance and hooking power, its supple nature makes it prone to wind knots and tangles under certain fishing conditions. Fuji subsequently introduced sloped-frame guides such as the DB and LC guides to address the line tangle problem. However, Fuji’s big breakthrough came from the development of the K-series guides, which are able to significantly minimize, if not eliminate tangles when casting.
In recent years, micro guides have taken the US bass fishing scene by storm. The concept involves employing a greater number of smaller guides throughout the blank. Micro guides are lightweight, having only a single foot and therefore requiring less thread and finishing. They also sit low and close to the blank, enhancing sensitivity, allowing better line control and reducing twisting torque under load. This translates into more accurate casts and effective use of the rod blank’s power for hooking and fighting fish.
However, the micro guide layout also has certain limitations, particularly the funnelling of line during a cast. Energy is lost from friction when the line slaps against the blank as it moves from the reel to the butt guide, limiting the full casting potential of the rod. As micro guides are designed with only a single foot, guides from the belly to the butt area are subject to tremendous stress when the rod blank is fully loaded, and in some instances, causing the guides to be pulled out from the wrap.
By incorporating the newly designed K-guides into the micro guide layout, Fuji was able to improve many aspects of the existing concept and include the element of significantly reduced line tangles. Consequently, Fuji’s KR Concept was born.
The K-Guide Revolution Concept (KR Concept) is built upon an evolved rod layout using newly developed, off-angle butt guides (KL-H for spinning and KW for baitcasting), belly guides (KB), tip guides (KT) and tip tops (LG for spinning and FC for baitcasting). The idea is to quickly force the spiralling or ballooning line just as it leaves the spool through these butt guides and channel it through appropriately placed micro guides along the rod blank. Apart from the butt guides and rod tip tops, both spinning and baitcasting rods designed under the KR Concept utilize common belly and tip guides. KT guides are lightweight micro guides designed exclusively for the tip section. To hold up against the greater load placed on the belly section of the blank compared to the tip, Fuji has designed the KB guide with a broader foot and small diameter ring. The KW butt guides on the baitcasting rod layout feature a double-foot design to prevent being pulled out under severe load.
In order to funnel the wide-spiralling line from a spinning reel into the micro guides at high speed, the KR-Concept suggests utilizing three KL-H guides to ‘choke’ the line as it leaves the spool. Fuji calls this the “Rapid Choke” theory and its own research has indicated a notable impact in reducing friction from line slapping against the blank, thus, effectively controlling the line through the micro guides. As a result, more energy is channelled into the cast to achieve greater casting distance. Fuji also discovered that using smaller-sized rings on butt guides enabled better line control. In fact, the butt guide’s height is more critical than the size of the ring in ensuring effective line flow. Fuji has specially developed these KL-H guides with tall frames and small rings for this very purpose.
KR Concept Line Control
To solve the problem of friction caused by line slapping against the rod blank on baitcasting micro guide layouts, the KR Concept suggests using two KW guides to quickly control line oscillation. Based on a similar off-angle design as the KL-H guides, the KW guides are slightly elevated to prevent line slap and to assist in choking the line before funnelling it through the micro guides along the blank.
Fuji’s KR Concept is a testimony of the company’s relentless pursuit of technologies, designs and products to maximize the performance of today’s fishing rods. As the KR Concept is still a developing theory, we can only expect the concept to further evolve over time alongside advancements from its own research and development as well as developments in the tackle industry. It is highly unlikely to replace the New Guide Concept at this point, since micro guides may not be most appropriate for heavy applications that require thick leader knots or thick lines, but rather, more suited towards ultralight or medium heavy applications. Nevertheless, the KR Concept is truly a remarkable adaptation of the New Guide Concept as an effective, standalone micro guide system. We can expect to see a greater increase in the KR Concept application as more additional products and new guide sizes become available in the near future.
*Illustrations in this article are courtesy of Fuji Kogyo Co. Ltd.