Label Your Gear

Marlin DIY: Labeling your rods helps keep things straight when fishing

Marlin tips labels

Marlin tips labels

Labeling or marking your rods serves two helpful functions during a day’s fishing. First, it lets you keep track of any rod that might have a bad spot in the line or a reel whose drag starts developing a problem while fishing. Second, it allows you to put the same rods in the same rod holders to keep your baits or lures positioned in the same spot in the spread via the use of a fixed rigger mark on the line.

When I’m fishing with a set of six 20- or 30-pound-class rods/reels that don’t have any type of rigger mark on the line, I’ll simply number the rods 1 through 6 with a label maker, since it doesn’t matter where each rod goes in the spread.

Fishing heavier tackle, where I do have rigger marks at preset distances on each rod, I use a different marking system. For the rods on the right [port] side of the cockpit I use red electrical tape to mark the rods, wrapping the tape around the reel seat in front of the reel and then wrapping it around the rod’s butt below the reel. I put on one wrap for my short rigger and two wraps for the long rigger. I’ll do the same for the left [starboard] side rods using green tape.

With the tape wrapped 360 degrees around the rods you can just glance at any rod and know where it goes after catching a fish.

On my rods that have AFTCO Storabutts I’ll use a felt-tip pen to put an L on the tape on the long rigger rod, and an S on the short rigger rod. That way I know which butt to put on which rod when reassembling them after storage.

For my center rigger rod I'll do the same taping system with a different-color tape. If you fish three rods per side you could go with three sets of wraps on the butt for the longest rigger rod, two wraps for the middle and a single wrap for the shortest.
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Capt. Randy Baker
Destin, Florida**_