Fly Line Backing:
Since the standard fly line is only about ninety feet long, hard fighting, fast moving
species of fish can strip your reel of line quickly and that is where the backing comes into
Normally, backing line is made of braided Dacron that doesn't rot or mildew. Other
material, such as Micron, is also used. Both are better than monofilament that may
present problems by coiling.
Even the smaller size fly reels need some backing to fill the spool. The amount of backing
needed is determined by the size of the fly reel and the weight and length of the fly line
that you intend to put on the reel.
Fish that make long, hard runs demand larger amounts of backing. Small fish would
rarely strip your reel past the end of the fly line and the backing’s main purpose is to help
fill the reel spool.
The manner in which you put the fly line backing on a fly reel used for strong, hard
fighting fish is very important. In essence, it is essential that you put the fly line backing
line on very tight. This prevents the running fly line from cutting or working its way down
into the backing line. Lots of pressure during a long fight can do this and destroy the
backing line. It cannot be spooled on the big saltwater fly reels or salmon and steelhead
reels in the same manner as you would spool backing on a reel used for panfish.
Most trout fly reels require about fifty yards of 20-pound backing. Dacron fly line backing
is used most often on reels used for trout fishing.
Steelhead anglers like to us a lot more than that. Most steelhead fly reels are spooled
with 175 or more of 20-pound backing. Some prefer 30# test backing and in this case,
less would be necessary.
Bonefish, permit, tarpon, and other larger size gamefish require even more backing. It is
common for reels to be spooled with 200 to 250 yards of 30-pound test fly line backing.
Gel spun fly line backing is usually preferred for this type of use.
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