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gryphon50 06-27-2009 09:24 AM

How do you identify your lines?
Hi folks,
First, thanks for all the great information you all post on this site.

I've just started fly fishing again after a 15 year layoff (don't ask), and when I dug all of my gear out of storage, I find I have a few reels spooled with line.
The reel I used all of the time, I know has a Wulff TT 6 floating line on it. At 56 years old I, of course, went through an aquisition phase and accumulated a bunch of equipment.
The problem is any markings I put on the line have since faded or I've forgotten what the magic marker indications are. I always meant to store the line back on the manufacturer's spools for storage, but the best laid plans of mice and men, etc.(bad stevie....bad)
So how do you folks mark your lines so you know what's what?


Ard 06-27-2009 09:39 AM

Re: How do you identify your lines?

The only time I mark a line is when I have one off the reel. I coil them and use bred ties to secure the coil. A piece of masking tape or similar with the line designation, DT3, etc is all I do. The lines that are on reels are dedicated to those reels and the rod that the particular reel belongs with so I don't have any problem with knowing what they are.

If you have lines that you don't know what they are send Frank Whiton a PM. Frank knows almost everything there is to know about gear. He will probably be able to tell you how to weigh the lines in order to identify them.


peregrines 06-28-2009 05:45 PM

Re: How do you identify your lines?
Steve, welcome to the board.

I think this is an old Lefty Kreh tip and it works really well.

Use a permanent marker and draw short dashes for each "weight" and long dashes for a 5 weight increment)

so for example a

3 weight would have 3 short dashes

a 5 weight would have one long dash

a 7 weight would have one long dash and 2 short ones

a 10 weight would have 2 long dashes

a 12 weight would have two long dashes and two short dashes etc

You can put these on both ends of the fly line so you can see what you have on a reel, or if it's stored you can tell by looking at the back end.


MoscaPescador 06-29-2009 12:53 AM

Re: How do you identify your lines?
I use that method to identify my fly line weights, too. I only mark them on the back end though. I only care to know when my lines are not spooled on my reels.


Frank Whiton 06-29-2009 11:29 AM

Re: How do you identify your lines?
Hi gryphon50,

This is a very good question. Some simple things can be very helpful. Here is a system I used in Alaska for storing fly lines.

You need a wall like in a closet or garage or where ever you store your fly lines. I had some spare spools but you can use the spool that the fly line comes on. Put nails on the wall, or a backing board, that will hold the spools in place. Also mount a shelf under your line up of spools about 18" below the bottom of the spool.

Now if you put a fly line on a reel you put a sticker on the line spool on the wall. Something like: Galvan #3, WF 5wt, SA and the date. Now you can fish that line and when ever you are not going to use it for a while or after every trip or what ever fits your needs, hang it over the spool. Pull the line off of the reel and clean it. Then coil the line in loops about 15" to 18" long. Now lay the coiled line over the spool so it hangs down and place the reel on the shelf below.

So what we have is a shelf with the fly reel setting on it. The fly line still has the backing fasten or it can be removed. The rest of the fly line is in coils being suspended over the wall spool directly above the reel. This keeps the fly line in relative large coils. You can look at the spool the line hangs on anytime you want to know what fly line it is. If you hang a different fly line on the spool you add a new sticker on the wall mounted spool. If you remove the fly line from the reel and disconnect it you can hang it and sticker the spool.

This is more of a storage system and it will keep your fly lines from getting little coils in it. You can make your shelf and backing board from nice wood and stain it. You wife will be a lot happier about that.

If you want to mark the fly line its self use the system that Mark suggested. It is important that you write down your number system so you know what it is next year or five years ahead.


gryphon50 07-04-2009 08:54 AM

Re: How do you identify your lines?
Thanks for all the input folks.
I had used the 'dash' marking system, but had forgotten what it meant. As it turns out, the markings were partially rubbed off which just added to the confusion. (I never said I was very bright)

So I still need to udate my marks.

One further question if I may. When (if?) you store the line on the storage spool, do you usually store the backing with it or just the flyline and use the backing for the next flyline you put on.

Seems like it might make sense just to store the flyline.

Thanks again, love the forum....lots and lots of good information.


Fly2Fish 07-04-2009 12:38 PM

Re: How do you identify your lines?
2 Attachment(s)
Hi Steve,

I had the same problem you had after my 30-year layoff (which makes me wonder if my fly lines were still any good, having spent all that time coiled up in hot Texas garages, although so far so good). What I ended up doing was springing (no pun intended) for an Umpqua fly line scale, which allows weighing the first 30 feet of line, then comparing the weight with a chart they provide to determine which weight line it is. However, I haven't come up with a way to determine which is weight forward, double taper or level line other than eyeballing, although you would think that the first 30 feet of a weight forward would certainly be heavier than either a double taper or level line.


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