The Purpose of Fly Reel Backing & How Much You Need

The Purpose of Fly Reel Backing & How Much You Need

An excellent life lesson is to be better safe than sorry. Applying that lesson to fly fishing means you should have some backing in your reel. Learn the purpose of fly reel backing and how much you need so your catch doesn’t escape with your lure.

What Is Fly Reel Backing?

Fly reel back is the strong, thin line on the back end of a fly line. Its purpose is to give anglers insurance that they can reel in their catch if they are fighting with the fish. As some species of fish are more aggressive than others, it’s vital to have that extra line if things go awry.

Do You Need Fly Reel Backing?

Is fly line backing necessary with all the gear you need to fish? Like so many things in life, it depends on the context. Most fly lines are around 100 feet long. Assuming your casts cover 30 feet, you’ll still have an additional 70 feet of line to work with.

Small trout or sunfish won’t put up much of a fight. Hence, the leftover line should be plenty to reel them in. However, if you’re big game fishing, you will want some backing line to give you the ammunition you need. For example, a fish may take the bait and run off for 150-200 yards. If your line is only a 100-foot line, you can say bye-bye to the potential catch of your life.

A fish can quickly run through the standard 100-foot line with the current in its favor. Plus, if you got you in a battle on a boat, it can be challenging to finish the job due to obstacles in the way like trees and rocks. Use this as a quick guide on what you need:

  • Small trout – 25-50 yards
  • Regular trout – 50-100 yards
  • Big trout – 150 yards
  • Large carp and salmon – 250 yards
  • Ocean fish – 300 yards

What Is Fly Reel Backing Made Of?

There are two types of material for backing: thermoplastic polymer (PET) and ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE). You likely encounter PET every day when drinking water from plastic bottles. PET is helpful for fishing purposes, but it’s not the best for the environment.

UHMWPE is more potent, seeing as it’s in bulletproof vests. Therefore, if you want the best in the business, grab some UHMWPE or gel-spun poly. The cost of the backing line adds up, so you might want only to use a fraction of it and combine it with the older line to get the biggest bang for your buck.

This concludes your lesson on the purpose of fly reel backing and how much you need. Check out Ed’s fly shop for all your fly fishing needs, including the backing line. Find a price that’s better than ours? No worries! We’ll match it. If you have any other questions, please reach out because we’re here to help.

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