Line Marking Shorthand

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Clever Stuff Photo by Louis Cahill

I’m told that Lefty Kreh came up with this, but I learned it from my friend Rick Whorwood.

It’s a great idea, who ever thought of it. As fly lines get unspooled and respooled it easy to lose track of exactly which line is which. This simple short hand system for keeping up with line weights is a life saver.

Mark the line on each end with a sharpie. Heavy blocks represent a value of five and thin lines represent a value of one. Just like “V” and “I” in Roman numerals. So a heavy block and three lines means this is an eight weight line. Couldn’t be simpler. Mark both ends so you can quickly identify a line whether it’s on the spool or on the reel.

I’m sure this will be old news to many of you but if this is the first time you’ve heard of it, you’re going to love it.


Louis Cahill

Gink & Gasoline
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17 thoughts on “Line Marking Shorthand

  1. Hey Louis,
    Thanks for mentioning my name, it was Lefty who I got the idea from !
    If you get a minute check out my Facebook Page, April and I did a Spey Drift School yesterday, I have a lot of respect for that lady. It was F%&*en cold and windy, she spent the whole day in ice cold water, coaching the boys into fish.
    We had so much fun !!

  2. I just learned this trick from Joan Wulff’s latest book, earlier this year. As a matter of fact, I read it in a preview of the book. I thought it was so clever, that’s what convinced me to actually purchase the book.

  3. This is a great idea for weight forward lines, if how ever you use double tapered lines you can mark them by using another set of marks back to back.

    eg. – – – — — – – –

  4. Pingback: Tippets: Endangered Spawning Grounds, Fly Box Field Tests, Jewelers for Bristol Bay, Line Marking Shorthand | MidCurrent

  5. Pingback: Tippets: Endangered Spawning Grounds, Fly Box Field Tests, Jewelers for Bristol Bay, Line Marking Shorthand - Skiff Life - Flats and Back Bay Fishing

  6. My experience with this system is that the marks (even after thorough drying) may bleed onto other parts of the flyline when wrapped on reel or storage spool. Maybe some coating over the marker, or coated thread wraps instead of marker?

    • That’s interesting Will. I have not had that problem but I can see it happening. I’m sure the exact line has something to do with it as well.

      BTW, my wife has some Littlejohns in her family. She was very excited to see your name. She says hi.

  7. Bob Clouser has it in his book too.
    But then Bob is Lefty’s right hand man. Reminds me that I need to do this some day.

    Now how do you shorthand sink-tip, sinking, and the sink rates?

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