If you’ve spent time on the water chasing large fish or watched any number of fly fishing videos on the web, you’ve probably heard the phrase “the fish is into my backing”, or some phrase with a similar sentiment. What is backing and what purpose does it serve?
Fly line backing, or just backing as most anglers refer to it, is essentially a buffer between the fly line and the fly reel. Most fly lines are somewhere in the 100-foot range (some are shorter some are longer). If an angler hooks into a big fish that decides to run, sometimes 100 feet of fly line isn’t enough to turn the fish around and start reeling it in.
Backing is a strong, thin section of line that connects the fly line to the reel arbor, typically 100-200 yards in length. If an angler happens to hook a fish strong enough to take out his/her complete fly line, backing acts as an insurance policy by providing the angler with 100-200 more yards of line to play the fish.
Backing also serves a second purpose: it fills up your fly reel. This is important because without backing, one turn of the reel would pick up up significantly less fly line. Without backing, you’d spend more time fighting fish instead of reeling efficiently and quickly.
We carry a variety of backing options including Rio, Cortland, Hatch, PowerPro and more. These brands have a variety of products from gel spun backing to dacron and everything in between. In our recent backing shootout, we determined that PowerPro HollowAce 40lb backing is truly the strongest on the market. That being said, it’s also the most expensive. If you’re fishing for trout or freshwater species, HollowAce is unnecessary. 20lb Dacron handles smaller freshwater species adequately and is drastically less expensive and lighter.
Hatch Premium Backing is another solid backing option. Hatch is loved by inshore anglers and bluewater anglers alike for its incredible durability and fish-stopping strength. Hatch Premium Backing is a PE backing which means it has a smaller diameter than Dacron and is much stronger. Hatch backing is also finished with a coating that makes it burn-free so you don’t have to worry about the backing tearing up your fingers when you’re fighting that bluewater fish of a lifetime.
Cortland makes some great backing options too. Cortland Gel Spun Backing is one of the best Gel Spun options on the market. Cortland Gel Spun is made with super-high-strength gel-spun fibers that are braided to exact specifications. This means that Cortland Gel Spun fits perfectly on a reel behind any saltwater fly line.
Regardless of which backing is best for your type of angling, you can find the very best options on the market right here. Get backing from top brands and the strongest stuff in the game right here with FREE SHIPPING. Shop Now!