March 20, 2016 at 12:03 am #5004
Question: How many of you have seen your backing fishing for trout? What kind of water were you fishing? How much did you need?
I have seen recommendations for 150 yds of backing for wild rainbows on the Delaware river, and honestly, I don’t believe it. I guess if you have 6X and a stiff fast graphite rod, high CFS, maybe?!?
What do you guys think?March 20, 2016 at 6:20 am #5005
I believe I’ve seen my backing maybe half a dozen times while trout fishing (atlantic salmon fish is a complete other thing). Most of those events would have been while fishing ‘trophy’ brookies in Labrador on Igloo Lake from a boat, and the fish were in the 5 to 7 lb range on a 4wt and 4 lb test tippet. We caught a LOT of large brookies, and only rarely did we see the backing. Mind you, that does not include the times that large northern pike who share the lake, took the trout fly and went well into the backing. Here at home, perhaps two of those times would have been on a tributary of the Miramichi River, hooked to brookies in the 20″ range, 3 wt rod, 3 lb test tippet. In none of the cases with trout would I have needed more than 50 yards of backing; I (like most folk, I imagine) use backing mostly as spool filler.
brentMarch 20, 2016 at 10:02 am #5006
Biggest trout i’ve caught has been on the Taylor River. The only time i’ve seen the backing is when I installed it.March 20, 2016 at 12:38 pm #5007
Backing is one of those things where “it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it”
The mainstem Delaware is one of the places where I’ve needed it, but not 150 yards worth.March 20, 2016 at 1:38 pm #5008
Obviously the lighter the equipment and larger the fish and faster the cfs, one may need backing more than another. Everyone has posted scenarios that I’m sure we have come across, or will in the future. I wish we had brookies here the size you find in Ladrador.
If I were to fish the Poudre with a 3wt rod I’m sure I would see my backing quite often. But I fish it with a med/fast 4wt, so I don’t, but got close one time.
I guess what I’m saying really badly is, if you have a the perfect rod that allows you to land fish quickly and still have the enjoyment of it, you should never see your backing. Too small a rod and too big of fish, you’ll soon see how well your Arbor knot tying rates.March 20, 2016 at 3:14 pm #5009
Doesn’t have anything to do with the size of fish, but rather the size of the water. On the Henry’s Fork ( 400-1200 cfs and 50 yards across everywhere I fish it), and Missouri (slightly narrower, and 3,000 to 5,000 cfs), I see my backing on a regular basis. Hooked fish commonly make 50-100 foot runs, even with added pressure from 4 and 5X. I still don’t really need more than about 25 yards of backing, and usually only get to a few turns of it before I follow the fish. If there are other anglers who are working fish, and I could screw ’em up by following my fish, I’ll pull on it and stop it, or break it off. Usually the latter happens, but so what. I hooked mine, so no since blowing someone else’s chance to get theirs to eat. These are 16-24 inch trout I’m fishing to in those two rivers.
However, I’ve caught 10- and 15-pound steelhead and salmon on smaller streams using 4X, and never even come close to needing or seeing any backing. I have some smaller creeks and small rivers that have some hot fish too, but the fish don’t run from pool to pool, and backing is simply a spool filler.
Its kinda like the ole “which weight rod?” thing. Its the size of the fly, or water, not the size of the fish, that’s the most determining factor. In trout fishing, a two weight and a six weight will work, but better to fish drakes or big hoppers with the five or six, and midges with the two or three. No backing is needed on most small and mid-sized waters, but fish the Henry’s, or MO (Or Clark Fork, Horn, ‘Stone, etc) with some backing.
Yep, better to have it so you don’t forget when you go to a bigger water.March 20, 2016 at 4:56 pm #5010
The comments about the water and the flow make a lot of sense. I played an atlantic salmon last spring in the Main Southwest Miramichi that I estimated to be about 25 lbs (9 wt rod) and I actually saw the arbor on that one, twice. Scared me because there’s no following the fish in this particular location. (150 m of backing). Took me 45 minutes to land and release it. The river there is huge, and spring flows were considerable. On the other hand, my fishing buddy has photos of 42 and 44 lb Atlantics that he hooked and released on the Patapedia, which is a much smaller river and at summer flows, and he never even SAW the backing; took less than 30 minutes per fish.March 20, 2016 at 6:34 pm #5011
I wouldn’t say the size of the fish doesn’t matter. I don’t care how big the water is a 12″ trout won’t get you in the backing.
A 10lb trout will get you in the backing on a small river if you can’t keep up with it going downstream.March 20, 2016 at 9:14 pm #5012
I’ve enjoyed the responses, I have never had a fish take backing in freshwater. Saltwater, yes. And even in those cases, using a very light 7wt and catching 30″ striped bass in a hard flowing inlet during a new moon, they didn’t take much backing either but tippet size was a non-issue.
I’m pretty diligent (obsessive) about my gear and filling a reel to be just right, etc. The main reason I asked the question was just curiosity. I’m thinking about putting a smaller reel on my 5wt bamboo rod mainly for aesthetics. I know I don’t need much backing for the places I would use it, and if I fished bigger water I already have a larger reel with more backing on it that I could use there. I think I would enjoy and fish it more with a slightly smaller, lighter reel too.March 21, 2016 at 9:51 am #5013
I use a reel to balance the rod. I like it to balance right under my thumb. Any more forward than that makes the rod feel clunky. My latest Heddon 9′ rod is a pretty heavy rod at 5.8oz. I use a Medalist reel on it and had to add a lot of weight to get the balance I want. I haven’t weighed it, but i’m guessing it’s 11-12oz. The result is a heavy rod that feel balanced and pretty light feeling for what it is.
Performance has always been more important than looks for me. Although in this case I think the big reel looks just right on the rod.March 21, 2016 at 10:19 am #5015
I’m in the same boat as Creek. I am very particular about the balance of my kit and like my thumb to be the fulcrum. But I also think the line should fill out the reel, so I put on an appropriate amount of backing to hit the point where those criteria converge. Usually it’s pretty easy to manage. I had one combination (a Kineya reel on a Morgan rod) that required some leadcore to bring the balance point back a couple inches. It made a world of difference in the handling of the rod. But usually I buy reels specifically to match a rod.
I fish spring creeks mostly, and medium size freestone streams occasionally. I have never had enough line out to see my backing. Usually I don’t even see the second half of my line until I strip it off to put on a new one. I envy you guys that get to hear the purr of your reel on a regular basis.
DW, what reel are you looking at for your grass stick?
BrettMarch 21, 2016 at 10:35 am #5017
I bought one of the new C&P Medalist reels. I like it better than the original versions, because it can be palmed. I got the 7/8 size, because i’m using a Peach DT 7wt line. I tried a POhoenix silk line, and it didn’t feel right.
Anyway, the reel is huge. I put a bunch of leadcore solder to add weight. Plus, 225yds of backing and the 7w line and the reel is still not completely full. I doubt i’ll ever run out of backing unless I hook into whale.March 21, 2016 at 10:57 am #5018
I am extremely particular about rod balance too. I usually like it to balance around the second cork ring from the winding check with about as much line out as the length of the rod, with the line on the ground, rod strung up, etc. I also don’t mind a slightly more tip heavy feel, but not to the point that the fulcrum moves off the grip and onto the blank. Some rods feel better with less reel – I can feel some rods load better this way.
This rod is a 7.5′ 5wt Penta. I would say it’s kind of a 4/5. I don’t think I’d like a 6 on it. On water, even a TT5 loads it pretty deeply. I have been casting my rods a lot this spring, and picked up some more used reels to get all my lines loaded for use.
I have been playing around with the 5wt with my two heritage Bougle reels. It has always been paired with the 3.25 Bougle with the TT5 line. I also have a 3″ Bougle with a Bamboo special Wulff line in 4wt. The difference in the two reels loaded with line is only .5 ounces, but I like the feel best with the lighter reel. I also happen to like the look more with the smaller reel as well.
Now that I have an 8.5′ WT 5wt, it has taken over the 3.25 reel. I don’t “need” two 5wt reels, but, you know where this is going. I was thinking about a 2 7/8″ Perfect for the 5wt Penta.
I was scrounging around looking for actual reel weights and found a post from Duff on the fiberglass board about a 2 7/8″ Perfect he had/has and loaded with line weighs right around 6 ounces, which is almost exactly the same as the 3″ Bougle reel I have that I like on the rod. That is the agate reel, not the current wide spool which is supposedly a little heavier.March 21, 2016 at 11:05 am #5019
Creek, that is a monster reel, sounds like you are ready for anything!
I agree on the Phoenix lines, and silk in general. They tend to feel at least a line size under what a plastic line of the same rated size feels. As I’ve gotten used to bamboo the past few years my cast has gotten slower and smoother to the point I like the feel of the plastic lines better. I’m going to “upline” some rods with my silk lines and see what I think of them this year.March 21, 2016 at 11:25 am #5020
It was a WF 7wt Phoenix. Maybe a DT would have been better, but I got a swinging deal on the WF line. It shot line pretty good, but I had to hold too much line in the air to really feel the rod. The DT peach feels better. The rod is full flexing, but still has a lot of power in the butt. It’s the first 9′ bamboo rod i’ve ever liked.
I broke my back again two weeks ago. A common problem I have. So, i’ll get a late start this year. Maybe I can get out in a couple of weeks to fish a small pond. I don’t want to try wading until the back is a bit better. I want to make the green drake hatch on the Frying Pan in August for sure. Fishing big dries is always fun.
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