Talk to me about backing

The T.O. Show

Buenos Hatches Ese
Okay, I'm trying to line a reel for Baja, and I want to pack as much backing on this thing as possible. I have a little bit of experience with big game salt stuff, but not a lot. As far as I can tell, the best strength to line diameter out there is the Hatch PE backing, but dang it's expensive. So plan B is 50lb gel spun, but I'm reading all this stuff about how the knot strength sucks and it'll cut you, etc. etc. It seems like most of the posts I'm finding here and elsewhere are from 10 years ago or more, maybe when it wasn't really that common. So who has more recent experience with using like 300-400 yards of gel spun? If I tie a double bimini loop with a bunch of wraps is the knot strength really going to be that bad? And who in their right mind would grab their backing while a fish is peeling line from them anyways? I'm not really worried about getting cut... I've never had to put much thought into backing. My trout reels get 20lb dacron, and the salmon/steelhead ones get 30lb, end of story. Edjumuhcate me please...
 
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quilbilly

Big Time Hater
I used the gel spun 50 lb for backing on my tarpon trips. Strong and yes, it could cut you....no knot issues at all for me.
If it is nicked or cut in any way, it could cause failure.
Had an 11 wt break, and gel spun rubbed up against the jagged edge of the broken rod on a hook set, and it was over very quickly.
I still use it for the large capacity on the reel and strength.....
 

TDB

Flounder Pounder
Color is most important. Something that pairs nicely with the head, running line, and reel is must.

I picked up a hot pink backing from the dudes down at Puget Sound Fly Co. that pairs very nicely with a tropical floater that has light blue head and tannish/orange running line. Really captures the colors of tropical sunset and looks fly AF on the reel.
 

The T.O. Show

Buenos Hatches Ese
Dacron. 20# or 30#. I don't trust that other stuff.

You said "talk to me," so I did.
I hear ya. Problem is I can only fit 250 yards of 30lb dacron, and I've seen sailfish take almost that much in about 10 seconds. Not that this is going to be a dedicated offshore rig, but it will dip it's beak in that arena and I'd rather just spool it up the right way and be prepared. 400 yards is my goal and 300 is my minimum, which I can't get out of dacron.
 
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SilverFly

Active Member
Never had a problem with gel spun. I'd go with 65# at a minimum. Not so much for the extra breaking strength as for better handling and abrasion resistance. 65# gel spun (Spectra) is still thinner than 30# dacron. I run 80# and 100# on my offshore reels for the same reasons, even though I'll never apply anywhere near that pressure. Maybe the thinner stuff is vulnerable to nicks but I used 65# Tuffline heavily for years on my conventional casting outfits with zero problems.
 

The T.O. Show

Buenos Hatches Ese
65 lb spiderwire. Probably cheaper than anything marketed to fly fishermen. But again no stretch so keep your fingers away from it. Might go to Sportsman's and see what they have in bulk.
Like this stuff? http://www.spiderwire.com/spiderwir...ealth/spiderwire-stealth/1360932.html#start=1

At that diameter, might as well do 80lb. Is there any disadvantage I'm missing? I'm not concerned about cutting myself on any of this super thin line. If a fish is melting my reel into the backing I'm not going to grab the line, unless there is some other way people get cut that I'm not thinking of?
 

Buzzy

Active Member
Never had a problem with gel spun. I'd go with 65# at a minimum. Not so much for the extra breaking strength as for better handling and abrasion resistance. 65# gel spun (Spectra) is still thinner than 30# dacron. I run 80# and 100# on my offshore reels for the same reasons, even though I'll never apply anywhere near that pressure. Maybe the thinner stuff is vulnerable to nicks but I used 65# Tuffline heavily for years on my conventional casting outfits with zero problems.
For my two warm water saltwater trips I had my reels spooled with gelspun. When I go again, if I get a new reel, I'm probably just going to use Tuffline*. I used it on a couple of my non-flyfishing reels, works great. Yes, if you're stupid, you can get cut with it.

* I haven't priced gelspun to a large spool of Tuffline so don't truly know if there is a savings. One thing to consider if you are spooling it at home, 400 yards is a lot of crankin'
 

SilverFly

Active Member
You're not missing anything. I've been spooled once offshore here in the Pacific northwest. So your concerns about capacity are well placed going to Baja. Just be careful when palming the spool. What scares me is loose line. Getting a finger caught in a loop with even a small pelagic wouldn't end well.
 
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SilverFly

Active Member
For my two warm water saltwater trips I had my reels spooled with gelspun. When I go again, if I get a new reel, I'm probably just going to use Tuffline*. I used it on a couple of my non-flyfishing reels, works great. Yes, if you're stupid, you can get cut with it.

* I haven't priced gelspun to a large spool of Tuffline so don't truly know if there is a savings. One thing to consider if you are spooling it at home, 400 yards is a lot of crankin'
No kidding. I was lamenting that when spooling my Tibor Pacific. It took a full 1200 yard spool of 65# Tuffline.

Edit: I remembered putting 100# on the Tibor, but think it was 65#. Glad this topic came up. I should re-spool it with 80# or 100#.
 
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The T.O. Show

Buenos Hatches Ese
Never had a problem with gel spun. I'd go with 65# at a minimum. Not so much for the extra breaking strength as for better handling and abrasion resistance. 65# gel spun (Spectra) is still thinner than 30# dacron. I run 80# and 100# on my offshore reels for the same reasons, even though I'll never apply anywhere near that pressure. Maybe the thinner stuff is vulnerable to nicks but I used 65# Tuffline heavily for years on my conventional casting outfits with zero problems.
Are you talking about this: https://www.amazon.com/Power-Spectr...38036&sr=1-3&keywords=spectra+line&th=1&psc=1

So why is that so much cheaper? Just because it isn't marketed as fly fishing backing?
 

Jamie Wilson

Active Member
1200 yards is one hell of a lot of backing. I’m missing out on this. Need to pick it up.
@quilbily do you tarpon fish in the states?
 

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