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Old 03-27-2014, 06:16 AM
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Default Backing

I have never really needed a feel with backing since I grew up fly fishing for panfish and bass, but am going to start going after some running fish like carp & steelhead. How much backing do I need? Is there anything different between the brands or does the cheap Cabelas stuff work just fine? Looking to spool up an 8 wt here shortly.

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Old 03-27-2014, 06:42 AM
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Default Re: Backing

150 yrds should be plenty. Don't go cheap, too much is at stake if it fails. Just go to your local sporting goods and get a spool of 30# power pro braid or tuf Line XP braid. This is all I ever use. It is very small diameter so you can pack a lot on, has great knot strength and abrasion resistance.

Lots of saltwater, big game fly fishers use these products for their backing with excellent results.
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Old 03-27-2014, 06:58 AM
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Default Re: Backing

Buy a good quality spectra type braid (gel spun polyethylene). It'll last forever, is unaffected by anything. Yes, it's more money, but it's also a one time ever purchase The super thin diameter is nice too.
It should feel a little silky between your fingers, if it doesn't it's not the good stuff.
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Old 03-27-2014, 07:24 AM
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Default Re: Backing

I don't like the gel spun because it can cut your fingers if a fish is pulling it out fast. I prefer dacron.

If you're fishing for trout 50 yd of 20 lb test should be plenty. Think about it: if the fly line adds another 30 yd, how likely is it that you will ever hook a trout strong enough, in an environment big enough, to run more than 80 yd away from you?

Use more than 50 yd if you need it just to fill up the reel, or if you're going to be fishing in situations where you are likely to hook a fish that can run that far and still fight. That's usually in open water or large rivers, for strong, speedy species like bonefish, bonito, salmon, steelhead, tarpon, etc. In that case you might want up to 250 yd, depending on the situation, but I would say 100-150 yd is enough most of the time.

No matter where you fish, choose backing with a higher breaking strength than the leaders you will be using. If you lose a fish you don't want to lose the whole fly line too. I've seen it happen.
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Old 03-27-2014, 08:33 AM
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Default Re: Backing

This is the time of year when you can find tip-up (ice fishing) line at a close out price.
Dacron is dacron so don't worry that it's not "official" backing.
My reels where the backing is unlikely to ever see the light of day have a bare minimum amount of 40# tip-up line on them. Whatever it take to fill the reel.
With bass, pan fish and small stream trout, expensive backing is a waste of money.
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Old 03-27-2014, 09:18 AM
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Default Re: Backing

There's a store on the auction site that sells SA and Rio backing at very reasonable prices... Recently got 400yrds for $20 shipped.

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Old 03-27-2014, 09:47 AM
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Default Re: Backing

Quote:
Originally Posted by james w 3 3 View Post
Buy a good quality spectra type braid (gel spun polyethylene). It'll last forever, is unaffected by anything. Yes, it's more money, but it's also a one time ever purchase The super thin diameter is nice too.
It should feel a little silky between your fingers, if it doesn't it's not the good stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by moucheur2003 View Post
I don't like the gel spun because it can cut your fingers if a fish is pulling it out fast. I prefer dacron.

If you're fishing for trout 50 yd of 20 lb test should be plenty. Think about it: if the fly line adds another 30 yd, how likely is it that you will ever hook a trout strong enough, in an environment big enough, to run more than 80 yd away from you?

I also use dacron BUT there are rare circumstances when more that 50 yards of backing are needed.

As for cutting fingers, you should not have your fingers on the backing ever, even if it is dacron. When you have the entire fly line out of the guides, just the drag of the fly line in the water against a running fish may break your tippet so you actually need to back off on the drag and not add to it with your fingers on the backing. Ir you need to temporarily add drag, palm the reel.

Moucheur is correct in that sometime in the middle of fight with a running trout, we can forget and cut our fingers on the gel spun, so beginners may not want to put gel spun on their reels.

Here's a photo of Gary Borger chasing a foul hooked brown trout on the Madison River in 2012. He had gel spun on his reel so he had 100 yards of backing and he needed it. The gel spun is so thin that it adds very little drag when cutting through the water.

Gary landed the fish 700 yards downstream from where he hooked it well below the the green roofed home you see on the far bank. In this photo he is already over 100 yards below where he hooked the fish.

Here's the story from Gary's blog.

Gary Borger » Blog Archive » Runaway Trout

Click the image to open in full size.

Here's where Gary hooked the fish, in the slick behind the submerged boulder. Notice that the rod tip is bent and the line is tight. I happened to take the photo just as he hooked the fish in his story.

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 03-27-2014, 10:02 AM
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Default Re: Backing

Quote:
Originally Posted by silver creek View Post
As for cutting fingers, you should not have your fingers on the backing ever, even if it is dacron. When you have the entire fly line out of the guides, just the drag of the fly line in the water against a running fish may break your tippet so you actually need to back off on the drag and not add to it with your fingers on the backing.
The finger cutting scenario is actually quite common when youre fighting the fish back in. Many people (including myself) have a habit (almost sub conscious) of guiding the line back and forth with a finger to pack it on the spool in even layers. Really bad scenario if you get all your line jammed on one side of the spool and the fish rips you a new one. If you aren't careful, the spectra under heavy tension can cut into you before you even know it happened. Especially in hot, salty conditions. When your fingers are pruned, youre cut before you feel it. It can be avoided by paying attention to what your fingers are doing. But that can require multi tasking... which can be a lot to ask with a bunch of backing out

My backing cut me one time on a Marlin in Mexico. I continue to guide backing on the spool evenly, but just paying attention has avoided any more ouchies.
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Old 03-27-2014, 10:47 AM
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Default Re: Backing

20 lb Dacron has served me well, but I also use the other lines that have been mentioned. Backing on a fly reel serves another purpose. It makes the reel have a larger arbor so the fly line stays less coiled.

Paul
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:04 PM
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Default Re: Backing

Here's a question for you. How do you determine how much backing you've installed on a reel? Case in point: I just bought a new reel for one of my rods. I am planning to install my own backing for the first time. Is there some simple trick or tool that allows you to gauge how much has been installed? Or do you just install what feels right and if it's too much, remove the fly line and cut some off?


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