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  1. simple questions (not for me)

    ok when setting up your line etc. is it necessary to have backing? (why)
    after you have your fly line on then you attach a leader. do you then need a tippet also?
    if these questions seem simple remember i have never set up a modern fly set and i am just not sure.
    thanx in advanc

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Merrimac, MA

    Default Re: simple questions (not for me)

    Quote Originally Posted by porkrind View Post
    ok when setting up your line etc. is it necessary to have backing? (why)
    after you have your fly line on then you attach a leader. do you then need a tippet also?
    if these questions seem simple remember i have never set up a modern fly set and i am just not sure.
    thanx in advanc
    Hi Tom,

    Backing serves several purposes on a fly reel. First, if you land a good sized fish, it's apt to want to run on you; rather than simply letting you reel it in from the point where you hook it. In this case, when the fish runs, you can run out of fly line quickly (even though they're about 90' in length) and when you do, you don't want to slam on the breaks with the fish because with that strain you're apt to break off your tippet or leader and loose the fish. So, the backing, effectively, provides you with more line with which to play the fish. Backing is also a lot narrower than fly line, so you can get a much longer amount of backing on a reel than you can fly line for any given diameter since you will eventually fill up the spool and won't be able to add any more backing or fly line. One a per foot basis, backing is also a lot cheaper than fly line, so there's also an economical advantage to using backing. For example, for a 5 wt. line, the amount of backing can very, but should probably be 50 yards minimum and up to 150 can't hurt you. With the math, that gives you 90' + 150' = 240', up to 90' + 450' = 540'. Seems like a lot of effective line, but there will be days; hopefully many of them, when 90' just won't do the job for you.

    Initially, before the advent of large arbor reels (reels where the diameter at the base of the spool is large; say greater than 3"), backing provided a means to effectively generate the physics of a large arbor reel. Simply, as you wind on backing the effective spool diameter increases. When you've finished putting on the backing on a standard arbor reel, the backed spool diameter has increased, usually to the point of what we would today call a mid-arbor reel. This becomes important for several reasons. The first is that it makes it easier to pick up your line if you have a larger effective diameter spool, since if you put the fish on the reel, then one turn of a larger diameter spool pulls in more line than one turn of a smaller diameter spool. Also, fly line doesn't like to be wound around a small diameter spool, because it has a certain degree of "memory"; meaning that it will want to stay in the shape of the spool and this "coiling" will have a negative effect on casting unless you stretch the line before you start fishing. So, a larger arbor spool doesn't induce as much memory into the line as a smaller arbor spool.

    No, you don't need a tippet at the end of a leader; particularly if it's a new leader, as long as the end of the leader matches the fishing conditions that you plan to encounter at the stream. But, a lot of people (myself included) will tie on tippet so that they can both get a better presentation and prolong the life of their leader. Leaders are much more expensive than tippet on a per foot basis. Tippet also allows you to fine tune the presentation of your fly, so that it hits the water like a natural insect falling out of the sky. Say for instance that your'e fishing a 9 ft. tapered leader that ends in 4x material. That day, you plan to fish for relatively small fish on runs where ripples on the water would be noticed by the fish and might spook then. In this case, you can tie on 2-3 feet of 6x or 7x tippet, tie in your fly; which for the conditions that I'm describing would probably be a #16 or smaller dry, and be able to present the light fly and tippet gently on the water just like the natural insect.

    There are additional rationales for using both backing and tippet. Hope this helps.

    Have fun!

  3. #3

    Default Re: simple questions (not for me)

    good detailed answer from pocono. i think the main reason for NOT using backing is 1) you don't know any better or 2) you have a special reel (sentimental value and/or/with a small line capacity) and cannot get more than a full line on it.

    for tippet, for me, it lengthens the LIFE of a leader and is much cheaper. or see number 1 above. :-)

    here's something which might help:

    Fly Fishing Knots Fly Fishing Info Center

    fresno, ca.

  4. Default Re: simple questions (not for me)

    hey thanx for the reply. now to burden you with another couple of questions. as to the weight of the backing, does it vary with the size of the fly line(fi 6 weight takes what weight backing). i think i understand the leader concept and have ordered leaders from a forum member here.
    now as to tippets, can i simply tie on my own from some mono etc that i have already ( for ultralight etc), 4 pl test for instance

  5. Default Re: simple questions (not for me)

    to ezamore----thats a super web site i saved that and will use the knots etc \
    thanx all for the replies.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: simple questions (not for me)

    For backing 20lb dacron or micron is pretty standard, and would be used for freshwater reels. The exception would be saltwater reels 10 weight and up would generally use 30 lb.

    Your fishing mono might work OK for fishing stuff like weighted woolly buggers, or poppers but for fishing most stuff (dry flies, wet flies and nymphs) you'd generally want to use tippet- it's limper than regular mono, and it's the thickness (not necessarily the lb test) that makes the fly turnover and lay out properly at the end of a cast. Generally you'd add about 2' of tippet to the end of your leader.

    Tippet comes on a spool and is not tapered. You can buy monofilament or Fluoro. Go with the mono, (the Fluoro is much more expensive and tougher to seat knots. Down the road, if you fish really small flies in size 20 or fish for really picky fish in clear spring creeks you might want to try fluoro, but it's not necessary for most fishing.)

    The tippet is rated in "X's" which correspond to the diameter of the tippet. Generally you'd try and match the size of the tippet (the X rayting) to the size of the fly (hook size). A rough guide is hook size divided by 3 = X tippet---- so a fly on a size 12 hook would take a size 4X tippet, a size 14 fly would take a 4X or 5X tippet etc. This will help get good presentations (so the fly doesn't collapse in a heap of leader or tippet at the end of the cast), and on really small flies, it'll let you get the tippet through the eye of the hook. And as others have mentioned it keeps you from hacking up the more expensive tapered leader as you change flies.

    Hope this helps.


  7. Default Re: simple questions (not for me)

    One other thing that might help. Different manufacturers have a little different weight for their leader/tippet, but for the most part:

    start with "9" subtract the "X" and that gives you a rough poundage.

    ex: 9 - 4X = 5 lb. Like I said, companies differ, but a rough idea.

    And YES I use regular mono/fluoro instead of tippet.

    peregrines is right that the diameter is a bog difference. 5X tippet is a smaller diameter that 4 lb mono or fluoro. Just take that into consideration.

    If you have a 7 1/2' 5X can attach 4 lb mono or fluoro. It will work just fine and is a less expensive way to do it.

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