Labeling Reel Spools

m owens

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I’m just getting back into fly fishing after a 20 year hiatus. Anyway, I am looking for a way to mark my reel spools in order to know what spool is spooled up with what. I have roughly 20 different reels right now all with different lines on them and for them life of me I cannot remember what goes with what. I have a couple of spools with stickers on them from the line box but they don’t seem to last. The only one I can remember is the Ross Colorado that I purchased with my first ever fly rod, a Sage RPL+. So it looks like I will be replacing a lot of lines on my reels just so I know what is what. Being that the fly lines are 20+ years old they probably need replacement anyways. However, I’m looking for suggestions on how to prevent this in the future. I do have a fiber laser that I could engrave the spools with and that may be a good solution but it is very permanent.
 

original cormorant

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Here's a couple of unhelpful suggestions,
First, don't store lines on reels if you won't be using them for a while.
Secondly assuming the main problem is identifying what weight the lines are, get out your measuring tape and drug dealers scales and start measuring them.
Then do as Ard suggests
 
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Daz

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Agreed with the above. I made and use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of all of my rods, reels, tubes, and lines including what goes together and what is on what. I also do not store lines on reels/spools unless they're in my current rotation and keep lines either on their factory spool or loosely coiled in a labeled ziplock bag. I don't put labels on my spools though.

As a bonus, the spreadsheet also has enough info that if something were to happen to me my wife would have sufficient info to ID everything and be able to value and sell it all. I figure it's also a good record for insurance purposes.
 

trev

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Harbor Freight sells a 1000 Gram scale for ~$12 that is handy in finding out what you have and if new lines are what they say. I use a aluminum foil small loaf pan to hold the 30' of measured line. (my scale reads in grams, ounces, grains, pennyweights, troy ounces, and carats; and it has a "tare" function) There are probably fifty other sources for similar scales.
Masking tape (what I use to use), label maker tape, or adhesive labels (what I now use) can all be applied to the bottom of the reel foot, if that reel only has one spool and/or to the inside (and/or outside) of the spools. Masking tape stuck the best, but it is the hardest to remove.
As you weigh and label keep the written record as suggested above, including your best description of color, the manufacturer if known, whether it's L, WF or DT, float or sink rate, and date bought or first used. (finding if it's DT means pulling the entire line and comparing (weighing) both ends, WF usually drops to a reduced diameter after 35-45' or so)

eta- Oh, you can also mark the lines with a permanent marker- a couple feet from the end of the line mark bands around the line, a narrow band=1 and a wide band=5- so that a 7wt would have a wide band and two narrow bands, a 4wt would have four narrow bands. For WF put the wide band towards the end with the narrow bands toward the reel and for DT reverse that with the wide band towards the reel- some famous fly guy invented this system many years ago but it still works if you don't mind the line markings.
 
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trev

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A serious question for the spread sheet guys; I have, lets say, two identical reels and to fit these two reels I have 18 spare spools, how do you identify the spools on the spread sheet so that I can tell whats what in my reel bag? or it could 14 identical reels with a spare spool each etc
 

jayr

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A serious question for the spread sheet guys; I have, lets say, two identical reels and to fit these two reels I have 18 spare spools, how do you identify the spools on the spread sheet so that I can tell whats what in my reel bag? or it could 14 identical reels with a spare spool each etc
That's where the label maker comes into play. Either number each spool or identify line, weight, etc.

As an added bonus on my spreadsheets I also copy and paste the various line diagram profiles on the second sheet.
 

WNCtroutstalker

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I made and use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of all of my rods, reels, tubes, and lines including what goes together and what is on what.

As a bonus, the spreadsheet also has enough info that if something were to happen to me my wife would have sufficient info to ID everything and be able to value and sell it all. I figure it's also a good record for insurance purposes.
I also have a spreadsheet.

What's that old joke? "When I die I sure hope my wife doesn't sell my gear for what I told her I paid for it."

To the OP: Perhaps some other manufacturers have started to do this too, but SA and Rio now print the line ID (model and wt) on the tip.
 

original cormorant

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A serious question for the spread sheet guys; I have, lets say, two identical reels and to fit these two reels I have 18 spare spools, how do you identify the spools on the spread sheet so that I can tell whats what in my reel bag? or it could 14 identical reels with a spare spool each etc
For freshwater (where the lines stay on the cassette spools) the multiple spool issue is solved by using cassettes with pin identifiers (Hardy/Greys system) on the casssttes so these aren't spreadsheeted.

For home saltwater I don't use enough different lines for it to be a problem.

For tropical saltwater my lines and reels/spools are spreadsheeted but nothing is permanently spooled, all lines are stored in their original packaging. The spreadsheet is not just about what is spooled on what reel, it includes data on headlengths and weights and my casting notes. Before a trip lines are loaded to reels/spools so I don't need long term memory about what I have on what spool. I do have the same line on the same reel in #6 and #8 versions but I distinguish them by backing colour. My tropical lines are all marked with marker pen barcodes at the reel end unless they are factory lazer marked .
 

trev

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cassettes with pin identifiers
I have no idea what either are. I assume the cassette is some form of interchangeable spool? pin identifiers= no clue
The spreadsheet is not just about what is spooled on what reel, it includes data on headlengths and weights and my casting notes.
This I would expect.
I don't need long term memory about what I have on what spool
So long term for me is about 30 minutes and I'm an hour away from the water. Different backing might work for a few colors but when we think about 15-20-30 possible lines the stuff might have to be custom dyed and we'd still need to pack the list around.

Good information even if it doesn't really help me, it may be exactly what someone else needs, thanks for the detailed reply.

That's where the label maker comes into play. Either number each spool or identify line, weight, etc.
I caught that. Thanks.
 
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original cormorant

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mtboiler

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All of my lines are SA....and are all labeled or marked on the line as well. Try to read that in the garage without the help of reading glasses or magnifying glass. So I went a different route.
Hobby lobby has packages of velcro. I wrap each spare spool with the non 'sticky' side. I use the sticky side to label the spool. I write in Sharpie on the sticky side then it goes in by spool keeper bag. All the 'spare' labels just go in there as well. So, a 4wt Amplitude Infinity has velcro around it with a "4wt INF". A 4wt Amplitude Creek has a "4wt Creek". My old 5wt line I added a sinking leader or skagit head too has a "Old 5 w/ Skagit" on it. When I go out fishing I grab the appropriate reel and sometimes a spare spool. Everything is labeled so I know.
Velcro is cheap and easy to use. Plus you get a lot of the sticky side so it allows me label as many as I want. This last spring I found a couple of old reel pouches at a garage sale. I bought them and put the spare spool I am taking with me in that to protect it.
 

wthorpe

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To differentiate multiple versions of same reel or spool i have relied on that's the newer one and that's the older one that's nicked on the edges. But of course that only goes so far. i have also stumbled into putting different colors of backing on different spools, so for example i now have a Cimmaron blue, Cimmaron Yellow, Cimmaron Orange, etc.
 

trev

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sticky side
Velcro has two sides that stick together- hooks and loops-I'm guessing here, but is your "sticky side" the hooks?
I've wrapped spools with velcro to keep the line in place but never considered writing on the stuff, I put the loop side against the line, and possibly a more economic source is the garden centers where they have long rolls of double sided hook and loop used to support plants and trees, cut to length as wanted.
 

mtboiler

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Yes, sticky is hooks! I just like the width of the Hobby lobby stuff. Don't think it really matters though. Writing on it just made sense to me instead of pulling out reading glasses to read the writing on the line every time I go out.
 

hatidua

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I tend to only string up the reels that are going to be used which allows me to select a line for the specific location I'll be fishing. I store fly lines in Fuji microfilm storage boxes (very similar to the old Rio line storage boxes with the crank hole in them). In addition to marking the boxes, I even mark the manufacture-labeled lines so a quick glance at the sharpie marks on the line instantly let's me at least know what line weight a reel has on it.

boxes.jpg

boxes2.jpg
 

Acheron

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I am surprised by the number of people who take line off their reels. I feel that if I did this I would spend hours each week unspooling and spooling reels. Maybe that only because I don't have spare lines. I do have a couple sinking lines I don't use much.

I don't have a label system yet, interested to see what everyone does.
 

Lamarsh

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I use a label maker on the smallest font, and then trim it tight to the words printed on it so it is pretty small, and then stick it on a portion of the spool that is out of the way.
 
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