Confession time. If you had looked at my rods and reels before I joined the Elite Series in 2015 you would have never guessed I was a professional angler. It was the biggest mishmash of rods and reels you have ever seen. Looking back I can now see how negatively that affected me as I fished tournaments. Thankfully I have “seen the light” and now have a very organized collection of fishing rods and reels. And that collection helps me catch more fish.
There are three main components to my rod and reel organization: reel speed, line size, and rod length/action. When I approach a cast on the water I need to account for those three factors to maximize my opportunity to catch a fish on that cast. Being able to quickly adapt the rod, reel, and line to a setup that will allow me to make the optimal cast, present the bait properly, set the hook, and then land the fish is crucial. Here’s how I do it.
Reel gear ratio identification
I use Concept A, C, and E reels from 13 Fishing in four different speeds. On each different reel speed I use a different colored handle nut. 5.3:1 for cranking reels (black), 6.6:1 (gold), 7.3:1 (blue), and a high speed 8.1:1 (silver). 13 Fishing is the best on the market for rod and reel customization. For more information on all the options visit http://store.13fishing.com/c/trickshop
I create a little cheat sheet as I set up the reel modifications and store it in my boat. After about two weeks of using it I will have it committed to memory and be able to make changes in no time off the top of my head.
Line size identification
To quickly identify line sizes I use different colored spools. Each line size (10, 12, 15, 17, 20 and 25) is spooled on a different-colored spool, the corners of which are clearly visible when properly spooled. The colors are also added to the little chart and take very little time to memorize.
I also keep extra reel spools of line with me in the boat and store them in a dry box. When the need arises to switch out the line strength but keep the gear ratio and rod action the same popping in a new spool is much quicker than sitting down and changing out the line. On the 13 Fishing reels I can pop in a new spool and retie in a mere fraction of the time required to take the old line off and put new line on. I also avoid having a pile of old line lying around in the boat.
As factors like water clarity and weather change it is often necessary to go up or down in line size. Being flexible enough to make these changes quickly is one of the ways being more organized has allowed me to catch more fish.
Rod length/action identification
Rod length and action is the final piece of the puzzle and there are a couple good ways to organize rods using Rod Gloves. The first is buying all the exact same color Rod Gloves and writing the length and action (7H, 6-10MH, etc.) in big block letters on the bottom of the sleeve with a black marker. The other way to do it is buy Rod Gloves in enough colors for each different rod. For example, a red Rod Glove would be for Medium-action, 6-6 rods, blue for 7MH, etc. I take the latter approach and add the colors to the little chart in the boat.
You could get by with using nail polish to color the spools of your different rods and perhaps colored tape to identify your reel speeds but I would personally encourage taking a look at the options from 13 Fishing.