How much backing to put on?

Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by Idaho Mike, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. Idaho Mike Member

    Posts: 34
    Boise, Idaho
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    So I'm about to spool up my first reel for spey fishing, but I'm not sure how much backing I want to have put on. How does one calculate that out if the manufacturer only has standard line specs? I will be putting 30# backing on. Here is what I have:

    Abel Super Series 11/12N (11wt. - 300 yds) or (12wt. - 250 yds)
    Airflo Ridge Line Shooting Line 30#
    Airflo Skagit Compact 600 grain

    Suggestions? Thoughts? I'm very new to the spey game, so any feedback greatly appreciated, thanks!!
  2. macSuibhne Member

    Posts: 41
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    I've always believed that you should put on as much backing on as possible such that when the running line and the head are added nothing is rubbing the frame. Any competent fly shop should be able to spool you up and they usually do it for free if you're buying the running line and head.

    As far as I know, there is no downside to "more" backing.
  3. jeff bandy Make my day

    Posts: 2,192
    Edmonds, Wa.
    Ratings: +250 / 1
    Just remember, it won't be organized when landing the big one. Leave a little for sloppy stacking. It would be pure luck if you get more then 100yds of backing plus your fly line out and somehow manage to land the fish.
    Bob Triggs likes this.
  4. Robert Engleheart Robert

    Posts: 1,145
    Lemoore, CA
    Ratings: +111 / 0
    Put it on backwards:
    1. Flyline to reel arbor, followed by running line, then backing. When you've filled the reel or put on as much as you want, take it off and put on in reverse order.
    2. What Jeff Bandy said above.
    Josh Smestad and Bob Triggs like this.
  5. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,676
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,725 / 0
    WHAT?! But, but I have heard you need at least two to three hundred yards of backing if fishing for steelhead.:eek:

    What Robert said works very well.
  6. _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

    Posts: 1,898
    Skagit River
    Ratings: +643 / 0
    Look man, this is really very simple:

    The volume V1 of space in the spool is given by:
    r1= 2"/2 = 1
    r2 = 1.12"/2 = 0.56
    depth = 5/8" = 0.625

    V1 = Pi*(r1^2 - r2^2)*depth
    V1 = Pi*(1^2 - 0.56^2)*0.625
    V1 = 1.3477" cubed
    Evan Salmon and xdog like this.
  7. macSuibhne Member

    Posts: 41
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    With all due respect some of this is just negative hyperbole...if not borderline silly.

    If any kind of judgement is used when a person buys and loads a fly reel, it will be nearly impossible to get 1000 yards (or even 300 yards) of backing on a reel along with r-line and head. A more reasonable guess would be 150, maybe 200 yards.

    But if I had the choice of 100 yards versus 150 yards and could store it all without overloading the reel I'd go with the higher amount and the higher test rating. If for no other reason than it will allow the reel to take up line faster...adding to the diameter of the arbor; but also because I have, while fishing for steelhead, had occasion to hook up with the odd chinook.

    Some might not have any desire or expectation of landing such a fish but, depending on the time of year, I'm not one of them. When a hook-up of this kind occurs, my only hope is that I can turn the fish before tidewater.

    [IMG]
  8. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,676
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,725 / 0
    It was a joke...........
  9. macSuibhne Member

    Posts: 41
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    No offense intended then or now...but my response was just to outline why, at least for me, the joke fell flat.
  10. _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

    Posts: 1,898
    Skagit River
    Ratings: +643 / 0
    What about my joke? :)
  11. zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

    Posts: 3,126
    Moses Lake, WA
    Ratings: +956 / 1

    In a previous life I talked your language.
  12. macSuibhne Member

    Posts: 41
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    I chuckled...uncertainly. I hoped it was a joke because otherwise I didn't have a clue.
  13. _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

    Posts: 1,898
    Skagit River
    Ratings: +643 / 0
    Heh heh...I don't have a clue either! It's amazing what you can google up! :)
  14. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,676
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,725 / 0
    Not the first time my jokes fell flat nor will it be the last. Get used to it.
    underachiever likes this.
  15. fredaevans Active Member

    Posts: 3,115
    White City, Oregon, USA.
    Ratings: +118 / 0

    My general 'rule of the thumb (with spey lines of any kind) is take the single hander designations (and subtract 2 for a spey line. Or to put that another way if the reel guy says this will hold an 8wt line and 200 yards of 30# backing you're probably looking at a 6wt 2hander line and 150 yards of 30#. Couple of straight forward reasons for this. First 1hander lines are normally 90' long whereas the typical 2hander will be 120 (give or take a tad depending upon the type of head system). Secondly a spey line is going to be 'fatter' than one hander line. The numbering system of one to the other have no cross reference.
  16. Gregor 42 New Member

    Posts: 7
    Rothesay. New Brunswick
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Absolutely the foolproof method. If you don't have a line winder, you can always use a variable speed drill with a dowel or another reel to take it off and reversing the procedure. A bit more more work but well worth it. You'll be sorry if you cut your backing and find out you should have used more. Yes you can splice it, but the fewer knots/splices the better imo. Just remember not to fill the reel completely because when everything is wet for one thing, it will take up more space.

    I even had a fly shop put backing and line on a reel for me and they guessed the amount of backing, spliced it to the fly line(quite an elaborate splice by the way) spooled the fly line and didn't have enough room.They missed the fact that the line was 110 feet instead of 90..........had to redo the whole thing.

    Good luck.
  17. Gray Ghost Member

    Posts: 137
    Flowing Waters
    Ratings: +20 / 0
    I also like to set up all my reels with a 6" Blind Splice Loop at the end of the 30lb. Dacron backing for easy loop to loop line changes.

    http://midcurrent.com/videos/tying-the-blind-spliced-loop/

    GG
    fredaevans likes this.
  18. Gregor 42 New Member

    Posts: 7
    Rothesay. New Brunswick
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    That's what I use now as well. Goes through the guides very smoothly when the fish take you into the backing, which is most of the time with my Atlantics anyway.
  19. Nooksack Mac Active Member

    Posts: 1,942
    Bellingham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +108 / 0
    As Englehart explained: the way to get a perfect fit is to first load the line and then the backing onto the reel, in reverse order. You won't know exactly much backing you have, but so what? To do this, you should have a few empty spools, on a large, cheap reel.

    And how much backing is enough? The majority of steelhead and salmon I've caught took out no backing. But occasionally, in the course of your angling career, you'll meet a strong, antsy fish that will completely change the run length average.
  20. Evan Salmon Member

    Posts: 217
    Moses Lake, WA
    Ratings: +18 / 0

    You were joking? You mean I memorized that for nothing? Man, I melted down two calculators trying to figure out how much to put on my CLA!