I have been lucky enough to have been following Daiwas Air Guide System or “AGS” since its inception a few years ago. I’ve said it before and I’ll admit to it again, I thought it was a bit of a gimmick when I heard about it and first saw it. The fishing industry is full of gimmicks. Every company will try to tell you that their latest invention is the greatest thing since sliced bread and you simply can’t do without it. That’s OK. Thats their job, to make you feel like you need something. I pretty much approach everything with a more than average dose of scepticism. I like to judge things for myself rather than take a companies marketing as gospel (even if I did happen to work for the company at the time)
Now being a sceptic doesn’t mean I’m not itching to play with cool new toys and I was fortunate enough to get to take one of the original prototypes for a weekend. That first prototype rod wasn’t my cup of tea because the action was very fast but straight away I could tell there was something to gain from AGS. Forget about being “light” for a minute….. seriously people, get over how light a rod is as a measure of how good it is. “The worlds lightest rod” is useless if it is an unbalanced dog with a terrible action. Once you put a reel on it, unless its the “worlds lightest reel” it’s all going to even out when we are talking about one rod being 5 grams lighter than another.
AGS guides are much lighter but they are also much more rigid than metal and this makes them work better in a few different ways. Firstly, even with that first prototype I wasn’t personally keen on the action of, the sensitivity was eye opening. I could honestly tell the difference between mud and sand when a diving crankbait hit the bottom. Feel it bounce off timber or rock and that was when using straight through fluro. The second, which is something I have learned since those earlier times and come to get a real feel for is longer and more accurate casts. Because the guides are light and rigid, the “recoil” of a rod or the wobble it has at the end of a cast is much lower. This means the rod straightens quickly regardless of it’s action compared to a similar metal guided rod and the line flows out the guides far better. I have actually seen slow motion footage of myself casting and you can tell the difference.
But. And there is always a but. Those first rods where up there in price. At first they were pushing the mid 900’s in price. Sweet machines but not for everyones budget. BUT, think about mobile phones, GPS or laptop computers, they were all prohibitively expensive to most people for the first few years and then started to come down in price to be quite reasonable. From the first Tournament AGS rod I used they stepped down a little in price to the AGS Ajing (still my most favoured weapon for glo bug trout), then we came down again in price to the AGS Battler series (a few different ones responsible for some memorable captures) and finally we are coming down again in price to the AGS Commander series that will be here soon (look for the Electric Strawberry) which I have been lucky enough to use a few times now. We are getting to the point now where the prices are quite reasonable for such and amazing technology. All I can say is, don’t take my word for it, go out and try it yourself and see.