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Saltwater Fly Fishing Bonefish, Tarpon, Redfish, Permit, False Albacore, Striped Bass, etc...

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Old 04-21-2017, 10:02 AM
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Default Saltwater Bonefishing and backing

How much 30 lb backing would be enough for a 7-8 wt saltwater reel; using it for bonefish?
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Old 04-21-2017, 01:41 PM
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Default Re: Saltwater Bonefishing and backing

As with most of these types of questions, it depends. Where are you fishing? In the Keys, I would want 200yds of backing even though you'll rarely need it. In Belize or Mexico you'll rarely see more than 100yds and most of the time not even that much. In the Bahamas, it depends upon the island and area fished, but it'll be between the other two I mentioned. You prepare for the best fish you're likely to see knowing that it's unlikely you'll ever hook into the best fish available. A trophy fish in Belize/Mexico is usually about six pounds, whereas that's not even the average fish size in the Keys.
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Old 04-21-2017, 01:47 PM
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Default Re: Saltwater Bonefishing and backing

That would be a dream trip for me, don't run out of backing!

Good Luck! & Welcome to the Forum!

Denny
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Old 04-21-2017, 03:54 PM
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Default Re: Saltwater Bonefishing and backing

You would rarely need more than 150 yd for most bonefish. However, you don't really need 30# backing for bonefish either, and you don't need tippets heavier than 16#, so I'd say better safe than sorry. If you can't fit 200 yd of 30# on your reel, try 200 yd of 20# instead, and just use tippet rated 16# or less. The tippet will break before your backing does.
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Old 04-21-2017, 08:56 PM
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Default Re: Saltwater Bonefishing and backing

I agree. However, if your reel can hold 200yds of 30# I'd use it. Lots of mangrove shoots, coral, and whatnot that can nick your backing. 30# will simply last longer for that reason. The few times I used a six weight in Belize I would then use 20# (or a gel spun) to simply get more room. Otherwise I almost always used 30#.
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Old 04-21-2017, 10:47 PM
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Default Re: Saltwater Bonefishing and backing

Always fill the spool with your BRAID backing....not dacron as it rots.I use a 300yd.spool of 50lb.Yellow TufLine on all my 7/8 reels because 1) it's great value 2)it's highly visible,allowing you to track your fly on a clear flat3) it fills the spool perfectly including the addition of any popular 7/8wt.line like Rio's Bonefish or Redfish 4) While you certainly don't need 50lb.backing for Bonefish it's easier to handle and tie knots like Bimini's with....30lb.would also be fine in this case btw,and pack it down tight by hand using a leather gardening glove.
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Old 04-22-2017, 08:57 AM
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Default Re: Saltwater Bonefishing and backing

I read this a lot, especially from Oz anglers. When I was in the fly reel business, I did a very thorough check on that claim about the time that gel spun first started to become popular, which was the early 1990's. I was told by several people in the dacron business that the material does NOT rot. If not dried reasonably well it can develop a bit of mildew, but so can braid for that matter. I have dacron backing on some reels that's been on for decades and there's no sign of either rot nor mildew. Braid has it's own issues, not the least of which are knots. If you do enough research you'll find that the bimini is not a particularly strong knot in braid. In fact, Sport Fishing Magazine did a thorough test of biminis in braid and found that the strongest Bimini was the one tied with exactly twelve turns. The common perception that twenty turns is good for mono or dacron so simply increasing that to forty or more turns for braid will provide a stronger knot was proven to be incorrect. Twelve turns was was definitely stronger than forty. Other testing I've found and read suggests that a true triple surgeon's (which is SIX times through) is actually stronger in braid than any Bimini. I believe Lefty Kreh was one of the guys who proved that.
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Old 04-22-2017, 09:53 AM
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Default Re: Saltwater Bonefishing and backing

Sir,my point about using thicker braid was that it was EASIER to tie knots with, and used the Bimini Twist as an example.Nowhere did I discuss the merits or otherwise of that actual knot,however I've used a long Bimini then doubling that over with a triple surgeons knot as a loop to loop connection for many years without any failures,and I only fish the salt.Dacron,like Monofilament is subject to deterioration over time due to the effect of UV rays...it also holds moisture like Monofilament.IMHO the only advantage of Dacron is that it's cheap by comparison,and not one person I know uses it as backing on a saltwater reel.
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Old 04-22-2017, 10:10 AM
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Default Re: Saltwater Bonefishing and backing

Some great responses here, should be more then enough info to be able to fill your reel. As mentioned, the real answer is based on where you are going to fish. Most bonefish around the world are not going to take out more then 100 yards, especially if you are visiting Mexico or Belize. However, I will say this, as long as your reel can comfortably hold the backing I would add enough to make sure you will be able to handle the exceptional fish. If you hook the fish of a lifetime you want to make sure you don't run out of backing. There are enough ways to lose fish, lol Two examples I can give. Once I was fishing the coast line of the southern Yucatan and hooked into a very large jack. Fight of my life, did he take 200 yards? Not sure but was probably close. Another time I was fishing in Belize, eight weight, small bones, no problem. The hooked a large permit, totally unexpected, but there you go. So, fill your spool for the unexpected as well as the norm. Hope that helps and good luck.
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Old 04-22-2017, 11:01 AM
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Default Re: Saltwater Bonefishing and backing

In selecting a flats fishing (or any other) reel, balance, performance and capacity for the habitat in which it will be used are my criteria. For bonefish my practice is minimally 150, preferably 200 yards of #30 Dacron in a high-vis color. No, I have never seen my doubled arbor knot once tied and spooled up and, though it would provide a moment of excitement, I never want to. If a fish has a mile of backing off your reel, its time to start the engine. Why #30 rather then 20 Dacron? Increased abrasion resistance to gnarly mangroves and, e gad, coral, superior knot taking (I tie my backing to fly line Bimini with 50 twists) and most important of all, handling. Of course, I don't suggest you grab any baking with your hand during play but one does have to aid uniform and level retrieval of backing guided a little with an adroit finger. I know hollow braid has its advantages in big game tarpon and tuna fishing but Dacron is far kinder to your fingers and I have never experienced "rot" or any degradation even on older reels (my oldest bonefish reel, a Frank Catino, cork, draw-bar dates back to my greenhorn flats fishing years in the 1980's).

Some use braid to expand the backing capacity of their reel to acceptable yardage. If that is the case, one has selected the wrong reel.

Rinse your outfit, especially the reel, down before cocktails and conch fritters every evening during a trip and upon returning home, separate spool from housing and soak in warm water, rinse and soak again to get any imbedded salt dissolved out and then air dry for at least a week before any requisite lubing and cool, dry, dark storage.
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