Spiral wrapped fishing rods are stable under heavy loads, making them especially well suited to fishing for large Alaska bottomfish. The simple spiral is the simplest, and for many types of rods, arguably most effective way to spiral wrap a fishing rod. There is a reason it is called the “simple spiral.” There aren’t numerous transition guides set at multiple, varying degrees of offset.
The simple spiral is easy to layout, that doesn’t mean it’s not as good as other spiral wrapped fishing rod methods. On the contrary, for most types of rods, it is arguably the best spiral wrap method because the line is routed from the top of the rod blank to the bottom with the fewest number of guides. Even the late Ralph O’Quinn, who had his own method of spiral wrapping rods, adopted the simple spiral because the method did what Ralph wanted it to do, but was easier than the O’Quinn spiral wrap method.
In this video, Fish Alaska Editor, George Krumm, shows you how to layout the guides for a simple spiral wrapped fishing rod Batson Rainshadow RCKJB600-112-TC jigging blank.
The steps for the simple spiral guide layout:
Build the rod handle as you normally would.
Install the tip top as you normally would, using an easy-to-remove glue like tip-top cement.
Using the manufacturer’s recommended guide spacing, or your own guide spacing, tape the guides in place. Alternatively, you can use small rubber bands as you see in the video.
Static test to ensure the guide spacing is optimal.
Flip all the guides and tip top 180 degrees to the bottom of the rod blank, but leave the guide closest to the reel seat on top of the blank.
Halfway between the first guide and the second guide, tape on a small, low-framed guide to serve as a “bumper guide.” The bumper guide should be offset 90- to 100 degrees, either to the left or the right. The bumper guide’s purpose is simply to keep the line from rubbing on the blank as it transitions from the top of the rod blank to the bottom.
That’s basically it, but there are a few additional considerations. First, for heavy jigging rods we recommend you put the bumper guide on the side of the rod opposite the reel handle. This will aid in stacking or leveling the line back onto the spool. Second, if the rod is going to be subject to heavy loads and big fish, it is better to offset the bumper guide to 95- or even 100 degrees, rather than the usual 90 degrees. Third, in order to rotate the tip top from its original placement, you’ll need to heat the tip top up to melt the adhesive so you can rotate the tip top. Be careful; use just enough heat to melt the glue and rotate the tip top. Too much heat will damage the blank.
The simple spiral limits casting distance. Not in our experience. We have built rods from light 7-footers to 10.5-foot salmon rods and there is no noticeable decrease in casting distance compared to a conventionally wrapped casting rod.
The simple spiral isn’t as good as other spiral wrap methods. In our opinion, the simple spiral is better than the other spiral wrap methods for most rod types. What’s more, it’s the easiest spiral wrap method to lay out.
Most people shy away from spiral wrapped fishing rods because they look different. This is true, until they try a spiral wrapped rod. Then most of those doubters become converts.
For more details about spiral wrap rods, click the following link to George Krumm’s feature article from the June 2023 issue: “The Simple Spiral-Wrapped Rod“. This article details the simple spiral wrapped fishing rod technique.