Smooth Running Snakes
What is the best type of rings on a fly rod, lined or snake rings, and what advantage, if any, does one have over the other?
Nick Hart answers: Without any hesitation I would recommend snake rings. These provide a far greater surface area for the line to pass through than a lined guide, enabling long distance and accurate presentation. Snakes are also far lighter then lined rings.
Most modern rods echo this advice and come equipped with snake rings. However, they still incorporate lined ‘stripping’ guides on the butt section of the rod to allow for the wear and tear created by retrieving line. Casting techniques such as double hauling will also place strain on these rings and therefore a lining is preferable.
I have been using snake rings for many years and have seen little evidence of wear. However, beware of very cheap rods, as the inferior fittings will deteriorate far more quickly than those on a quality product. If you use fast sinking lines on a regular basis then a cheap snake, especially in the tip ring position, will fail rapidly.
Reprinted with permission of Trout Fisherman magazine.