When I get back to WNY from Sweden, more than likely I will have a brand new Allen Alpha II and Xa 8wt, as well as some Allen fly line waiting for me when I get back, depending on the release date of the rod and shipping and all.
This will be the first fly rod of my own and more than likely I'll be breaking it in by casting at carp or bass or whatever bites! I have a nearby pond, the contents of which I am unsure of, but I will certainly aim to become acquainted with starting in mid August. I know that it is loaded with carp though, which are something that after hearing people talk about them on the forum I am certainly interested in pursuing.
Unless Allen Fly Fishing surprises me and the reel shows up with the fly line I ordered already spooled on there with backing (which wouldn't be entirely unexpected, so far their customer service seems downright amazing and I've probably spent hours annoying Justin on the customer service chat), I am in the market for a 9/10 spool worth of backing. Does anyone use multiple colors on their backing to know how much backing has paid out? Is there such thing as multi-colored backing or has anyone dyed it? Is this a completely psycho idea? I would imagine that using a number of different colored backings would be dangerous because it would mean more knots and more possible fail points. Furthermore, is there any consensus floating around the forum of best backing? I searched the fly line sub-forum but did not see a whole lot on backing and such, though this may be begging for mod relocation!
You can buy multi colored super braided lines that are used for the Dendoh type line counters for deep sea fishing. Expect to pay around $50 for a 300 yard spool.
Daiwa Samurai Multi Color Braid (formerly Saltiga Boat Braid) is popular with the saltwater and Spey crowd in my region. It lays down flat, and the 55 pound test braid has the diameter of 10 pound test monofiliament or 12 pound test Dacron backing. It is really skinny. Since it is not gel spun fiber, it is not very abrasive.
When using a braid that has the diameter of 12 pound test Dacron backing, look to gain a third to a half more capacity than that of 20 pound test Dacron and almost double that of 30 pound test Dacron.
Location: White City (tad north of Medford) Oar-E-Gone
Re: New Rod and Reel Set-up/Backing Question
Doubt spending the money for multi colour backing is worth the trouble. Just take 30# and mark it at what-ever lengths you want with a black marker pen. Much beyond 100 foot is a bit of a waist of time.
Reason for that is your spey line is going to be at least 120' (slightly longer if you're using a Scandi or Skagit head (with shooting line behind). Once that's out the tip top, even with just 50 yards of backing gone, the fish is now close to 300 feet away. Unless you've got a boat to chase him ... he's history.
Or end game if you will, 125 yards of backing is more than enough for fishing, the rest is just filling up your reel spool.
Thanks for the informative reply Dennis, and I appreciate the honesty, sometimes I get an idea or two that verges on the psychotic.
Silver, the practical application is inspired by experiences with tarpon, where it's nice to know how far the tarpon is from the boat after it feels like it just peeled 300 yds off your spool. I figure if I'm not paying a whole lot more and the performance is no different, the awareness and the ability to track progress might be useful. In deeper water, a combination of the horizontal distance from angler to fish combined with the coloration would allow for an approximate depth the fish is running as well. What can I say, I like math! *Note, I already mentioned ideas verging on the psychotic....*
Location: Lake of the Woods/Rainy River Minnesota Canada border
Re: New Rod and Reel Set-up/Backing Question
Originally Posted by gatortransplant
Does anyone use multiple colors on their backing to know how much backing has paid out? Is there such thing as multi-colored backing or has anyone dyed it?
Yes I bought some just for that reason. It's 30 lb. Suffix metered tip up line. Looks and feels exactly like 30 lb backing except it goes from black to white every 5 feet. I decided it might be a good idea when I figured out how to catch Lake Sturgeon with a fly rod.
Yeah, I saw that picture of that big lake sturgeon you hauled in, that had to be quite the fight! In situations like that when it feels like the fish is hauling you into the deep you want some indication that you might be swaying the battle in your favor every once in a while, even when you know your rod has the backbone. I'm hoping I get a chance to test the rod against some big 'uns in saltwater off west florida sooner than later, but until then it will be steelhead, salmon, and carp testing the new rig!
Since this is your first set up, I think you might want to consider 240 yards of 30 lb Dacron or Micron backing for the 9/10 size reel. Depending what Allen uses for measuring backing capacity, spools will tend to hold more Dacron line than Micron, (reels that hold 250 yds 30 lb Dacron hold around 200 yds 30lb Micron with the same fly lines)
The reality is that most fish you'll be using it on in freshwater-- smallmouth and largemouth bass, carp even pike and musky if you run into them, probably won't take you off the fly line much less deep into your backing. And if you are fishing for Steelhead which might take you into the backing, or hook into a big king salmon and it takes off on you downstream, the limiting factor is not likely to be the amount of backing, but the twists and turns in the river and the ability to stop it in swift current.
And many fish you'll run into in saltwater with your 8 weight-- redfish, seatrout/weakfish, striped bass, bluefish, etc won't test your backing capacity either. The exception might be permit, trevally, and small tunas, but even the small tunoids some fish for up here in the northeast with an 8 weight rod like bonito and albies, (in the NE they're actually False Albacore) rarely take more than 75 yds of backing. The odd big tarpon or shark that you run into on the flats could also spool you of every inch of backing, but normally you'd be using a heavier stiffer rod in 11-12 wts, and sometimes 10 wts. But in many instances if you're targeting these types of fish you'd probably be fishing from a boat and could chase them. This is also true for other fish you might run into off shore in Florida like Mahi, blackfin tuna, where an 8 weight would typically be considered undergunned as a fish fighting tool (primarily due to the comparative lack of stiffness in the blank).
The key to whipping most strong fish will be in your ability to apply maximum pressure with the rod rather than the amount of backing capacity in your reel.
So in most cases the main role of the backing will be to fill up the diameter of the spool so that the fly line is not wound around a small diameter arbor to reduce the likelihood that the line takes a set in tight coils, and to be able to take more line in with each crank.
You can usually tell just by looking at the spool whether you are in danger of being spooled, but if you want to get some indication, get a couple different colored permanent waterproof markers (Sharpies etc) and make large 24" stripes on your backing at designated intervals (every 50 yds? ) so you can easily see them as they smoke off your reel
If you don't want to keep track of what color means how much backing, you can also make 24" bands using 1 (or more) colors, 1 band of 24" at 50 yds, 2 24" bands next to each other at 100yds, 3 24" bands at 150 etc. so you'll know how much backing is out. You can tie one end to a kid an let them run around on a football field to measure the yardage. As backing goes out you'll se 1 dash at 50 yds, 2 dashes at 100 etc.
There are other types of line that will let you get much more backing on your reel like Gel Spun lines that are stronger with a much smaller diameter. Although some folks use them, aside from being more expensive, I think they'd be a very bad idea for someone just starting out--- their very thin diameter and hi strength can cut you very badly if for example the line loops around your finger, or if your standing in a stream with a lot of fly line out and wet fingers all day. And the thin diameter may work it's way between parts of the reel where it's not supposed to go and jam the spool. It's also a bit more difficult to tie reliable knots than either Dacron or Micron.
Hope fully this helps, but keep asking questions if you have them.
Thanks Mark, you answered my questions plus ones I hadn't answered yet. The cap. on the Alpha II is 240 of 30#, and since the area that I will be fishing for both steelhead and salmon has some pretty long runs, I'll prob fill it close to capacity. I know that if I don't, with my luck I'll get some fish that manages to take it just to capacity and pop off. The warning on the gel spun is something I hadn't thought of and very useful. I'll take some time to learn more and get experience on the water before heading that way. Just getting used to what an 8wt rod can do as compared to my standard spinning rod or my tarpon spinning rod will be interesting. I do know that next summer I want to get after some tarpon on the fly, we'll see if I get over ambitious with the 8wt.