We’ve talked about Lew Childre and the effect he had on bass fishing – fishing in general really – here on the Bass Fishing Archives many times before. The first piece we posted back in the first weeks of this venture was on his development of Speed Gears. Then in April, 2012 we posted a piece on his revolutionary reel, the Speed Spool. Finally in May, 2012 we posted a piece on his “Speed Merchant” custom rods that never made it but still made an impression on the industry.
Lew Childre left a lasting impression on the industry and we have him to thank nearly 40 years after he first came on the scene. Which brings us to today’s subject, the ceramic guide.
Even though Childre didn’t design – let alone come up with the concept – the ceramic guide, he was the person who put it on the map in the U.S. and arguably the world. In this 1975 ad Childre talks about why aluminum oxide is far superior to carbide and chrome-plated guides, which were the standard of the day.
The test, which we would perform daily at the tackle shop I worked at, was to simply take a section of monofilament line, and run it back-and-forth through the guides. Invariably the mono would break after a few iterations through the carbide and chrome guides, whereas the line wouldn’t break when run through the aluminum oxide guides for even twice the time.
Childre didn’t only claim the fact that line wear was a thing of the past, he touted that your casting distance would be improved immensely. This was a fact he didn’t have to prove as casting contests were already being won in Japan at the time using the new technology.
Also, in typical Childre form, he also invented the single-foot guide along with the standard guide used on nearly all bass rods today – the BNHG style 3-footed guide.
Even though most anglers would scoff at the use of aluminum oxide guides on a rod today, all guides that reside on today’s bass rods came from these humble yet brilliant beginnings. Thanks Lew for being the forward thinker you were.