Can you have too many lines?

Can you have too many lines?

Tracy&James | Sunday, 23 August 2020

This week Tracy and I have been moving the last of our fishing tackle between houses. We’ve been having a bit of a clear out at our southern place which has required a couple of trips to the local recycling centre, in these Covid-19 affected days, trips there have to be booked in advance almost making it feel like an attraction. We’ve been quite brutal when it comes to getting rid of household items, however when it comes to fishing related items I think I’m a bit of a hoarder.
Certain things have been easy to get rid of e.g. a broken net, buckled after lifting a hefty carp, was never going to get mended, and a large stockpile of leader material. For some reason I found I had spool after spool of 5lb line of various makes. Now this is slightly odd because I don’t use 5lb tippets; it’s too light for reservoir fishing or summer carping, and it’s too heavy for river use, certainly on the rivers I fish anyway. The fact that I don’t use it probably accounts for why I had so many spools left over, it doesn’t explain where they came from in the first place though unless I’m hypnotised into buying them every time I step foot in a tackle shop.


The spools of leader material were found in the same box as a load of fly-lines.  I suspect we all have quite a lot of fly lines, but it’s struck me during our clear out just how many Tracy and I have.  For our fishing we have outfits in the following weights; #3, #5, #7, #10 and #12.  However that’s by no means the end of it as we also have our additional ‘casting’ outfits – ST27, T38, S55g etc.  That’s already a lot of lines before I even consider the options I give myself.  As an example I’ll describe the contents of my casting bag that I took with me today for a short casting session; firstly the trout reels containing a #5 MED distance line, a #5 MED accuracy line (these have different leaders nail knotted to the front), a #5 Ballistic Pro Performance (reserved for competition use only) and a #5 Ballistic Pro Performance for practice (also in a box in a side pocket I have the #5 Thunderbolt line that I’ve started assessing after a recent conversation with a fellow caster).  In comparison, I’m light on #7’s just carrying a MED and a Ballistic Pro Performance for use in different weather conditions (incidentally, any line that I cast in competition I weigh on a high precision balance in work, so I know I’m going to be ok when it comes to any scrutineering at the BFCC etc.).  Then on to my ST27 lines, here I have my short head, medium head, long head and stupid long head, all weighing in individually between 23 and 26.8g.  In a cassette reel case I have Tracy’s S55g line plus two options for me, along with a T38 line that’s in very good condition (unlike some I’ve seen).  I also have a 55g line which I’ve yet to try that’s still in its original wrapper in the side pocket.  Whilst delving into the side pockets (my casting bag has 3) you’d find my #5 shooting head training lines; as heads go these are long, very long and hero long.  So by a quick finger count I make that 18 lines that are purely for casting.

With the casting lines as well as the fishing lines, I suspect you can guess that I found a lot of spools/boxes during our house purge.  The trouble is that I now have very little idea of what line is in which box.  As I mentioned above, I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to fishing stuff, so often when a new line is loaded on a reel, the old one is ‘collected’ on the spool that I’ve just emptied.  I do this because event wrecked, cracked lines can be cut into shooting heads for practice.  I even keep some running lines, especially from #5s as for fishing, I’d rather use a head with a plastic running line than nylon (I graft the head/running line together making sure I’ve securely knotted the cores).

Given my confusion you won’t be surprised to hear that I didn’t find any fly lines that I thought I could get rid of.  As such, they’ve all been transported to our northern home where, no doubt, a lot of them will sit in the back of a drawer for a couple of decades or until a whacky idea pops into my head that requires a specific profile to be made up.

Only two weeks to go until the UK casting championships in Millom, Cumbria.  By then I need to decide which lines I’ll be using in the ST27 and S55 events – either that or just perform a lucky dip out of my casting bag.

All the best, James.