A fly line backing is basically a regular fishing line that sits between your fly line and the reel and acts as a reserve line, just in case a fish is strong enough to pull all of your regular line off.
How to Choose Fly Line Backing
Firstly, you want to choose an appropriate weight. Most backings come either in 20 lbs or 30 lbs. 30lb backing is great for heavy-duty applications, such as fishing Alaska salmon, or it can be used for lighter applications when you don’t need too much line to fill your spool.
Also, think about how much backing you want. Obviously, you need to consider the capacity of your fly reel first. But it should also be selected according to the size of fish that you're planning to catch. If you're targeting smaller fish, 75 to 100 yards of backing should suffice. However, if you're planning to reel in larger fish, like salmon or tuna, you should consider using a fly reel backing of at least 200 yards.
Next, consider the material of the backing. Most backings are made of either Dacron or braided Spectra (aka Gel Spun). Dacron is soft, supple, and slides very nicely, while Spectra is thinner and stronger but harder on your hands.
At GRITR Outdoors, you’ll find backing from Scientific Anglers, Cheeky Fishing, and other trusted brands.
Tying Backing to Fly Line
- Start by laying your fly fishing line and backing out on a flat surface. Make sure the ends of each line are lined up next to each other.
- Take the end of the backing that you'll be tying to your fly line and form a loop about six to eight inches from the end. Hold the loop against the fly line so that the end of the loop is a few inches above it.
- Using your free hand, wrap the end of the backing around both your fly line and the loop you just made, making about six turns. You can use a nail knot or a double surgeon's knot for this step.
- Next, thread the end of the backing through the loop you made earlier. Be sure to hold both ends of the backing to prevent it from slipping.
- Slowly pull the backing end until the loop closes and the knot tightens. You can also add some saliva to lubricate the line and make it easier to tighten the knot.
- Do the same on the other end of the backing to attach it to your reel.