Invented and patented in 1909, 100 years ago, Acid-Wrap rods are now only coming of age!!! An Acid Rod or "Spiral Wrapped Rod" is a conventional or casting rod with guides that start out on top of the blank and then rotate around the rod leaving the final guides and tip under the blank. In a nutshell, this guide placement reduces torque allowing you to fight larger fish on lighter tackle with less fatigue.
Here are several definitions covering variations of the name, taken from the rodbuilding.org glossary: Acid Wrap - "Another term for the spiral wrap. The term originated on the West Coast when one proponent of the wrap "Jim Racela" was said to have been on "acid" when he wrapped his rod in spiral fashion."
Spiral Wrap - "A method for taking the line to the bottom of the rod on conventional casting type rods. Results in a rod which will not twist under load and is inherently stable."
Robert's Wrap - "Another term for the spiral wrap named after rod builder Chuck Roberts, another proponent of spiral wrapping for casting rods."
Under load, conventional "top guide" rods have a natural tendency to twist or torque, trying to turn the tip downward. While few have ever had a rod flip over in their hand during a fight, many HAVE felt the fatigue of a long fight with a large fish due to their "death grip" on their rod. Not many even realize how hard they're squeezing their grip while fighting a "big one". That's just what a big fish does... It tries to rip the rod from your hands!
Those who trade off the line twist associated with spinning reels for their cast-ability and "ease of use" don't feel that twisting that we die hard conventional rod users do. With the tip and guides on the bottom of their blanks, they have a more stable fishing platform.
You'll also notice that a heavy 7' spinning rod often has fewer guides than a conventional rod of the same size. This is because with their guides UNDER the blank, they don't need nearly as many guides to keep the line OFF of the blank. Picture a 7' conventional rod fully loaded. It has to have at LEAST eight guides to keep the line from touching the blank. The same size spinning rod on the other hand, could do the same job with six to seven guides while still evenly distributing the load on the blank. More importantly, guides under the blank can be smaller, lighter and sit closer to the blank as they don't need ring height to keep the line up off the blank. A "guides on top" conventional casting rod needs a taller, usually much heavier "double Foot" guide to keep the line up off the blank when it's loaded.
Fewer guides are better? In most ways, the answer is YES. Fewer guides mean less weight over the length of the blank, especially the tip section. Less weight added to the blank makes a more sensitive, more responsive rod. You still need enough guides under the rod to distribute the load evenly and maximize the blank's available power. On a 7' rod, this can normally be done with one less guide if Spiral Wrapped rather than wrapped "guides on top". Combine that weight savings with the weight saved by not having to use a heavier "Double Foot" and you've saved a considerable amount of weight. Believe it or not, a weight savings of only a couple of grams can make a big difference.
They've been around since the early 1900's; the first patent was issued in 1909!!! Yet not many fishermen have seen, let alone tried an Acid Rod. With companies like LOCAL HOOKER RODS taking advantages of spiral guide placement and developing specific in-shore and off-shore rods, the Acid Rod's popularity and reliability is on the rise.
What does your local Tackle Shop/Rod Builder say? Some will honestly tell you that they haven't heard of it, or don't know much about it. However a VERY common reply from Builders unfamiliar with the Spiral Wrap when asked if they can build it is, "I don't build those because they don't work", or more commonly, "I don't build those because they don't cast as well". This is TRUE if the blank is NOT spined properly and the guides are not put on exactly right! My car doesn't drive very well if the tires are not balanced and aligned well either!!!! I always say; BRAND NEW MICHLIANS DON'T MEAN MUCH IF THEY'RE NOT PUT ON PROPERLY!
And another benefit is they will save you BIG MONEY $$$ "Great rods Bob! I've had a chance to fish this type of rod before & they do just what you say they do. I think you've missed one of the most important benefits from a system like this. Having run my own charter business, I know the most damaging thing to a conventional reel is the torque placed on it by the constant wobble from trying to keep the rod from flipping (especially with a novice angler). Much of the effort from the angler to keep the reel upright is transferred by the reel handle. It's used as a lever to keep the reel on top. All that torque is transferred to the gears and bearings, too. It will eat up a crappy reel in a season. Take away locking gimbal butts and it's even worse. Actually gimbal butts were developed as an answer to this problem. Bottom line, it's more comfortable and natural yes, but it will keep your high end reels from needing as much service and provide many more years of use. The rods practically pay for themselves by protecting your shiny gold reels."