Backing questions

pati

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Joined
Nov 20, 2012
Messages
818
Hi All

Planning a trip to Thingvellir in the coming years (yes I m starting early ;-), but with the lockdown and a young baby the only real thing I can make about fishing at the moment is dream&plan!!!) so need to ensure I have about 200m of backing behind my lines... Now my reels have a capacity of WF8F+155M of 30lb backing, so I guess WF7F+200m of 30lb backing OR WF7F+250m if not 300m of 20lb backing, and I have 4 reels (or spools) to fill.

I know the trick of putting the line first, then the backing and then reversing the all thing, but it does't work for me as I would end up with far too much backing on each spool... In addition buying backing in a 1000m spool is much more economical...

So my questions now:
  1. how do I make sure that from the 1000m spool I only use about 200m on each spool? Is the only solution to buy a 200m spool?
  2. Do you know where to buy 200m spools of backing? (I have seen 50m, 100m, 300m, 5000m, 1000m and 2000m but NOT 200m).
  3. Would you go for 20 or 30lb? Given I have enough capacity on my spools for up to 200m of each, the choice is to be driven by other factors. I see 2 potential factors: the weight (is there a material difference of weight between 200m of 20lb vs 200m of 30lb - I would guess not, but any informed opinion welcome!), then "comfort" obviously in Thingvellir you play the fish on the reel, but on the few occasions when I m taken to the backing here in the UK, it happens that I still play fish by hand, I was wondering if 30lb backing might be more "comfortable" than my usual 20lb as it is a bit less thin. Another one is the quality of the die: I do not want a crappy quality backing with the dye leaking onto my fly lines (had that in the past). That said I do prefer a fluo/hi-viz backing over white backing (but not a key decision factor - price more important).
  4. Given I only need "regular" backing (not fancy Gel Spun or anything), what are the criteria for choosing it? My guess is that it is all the same thing so price should be the only consideration but am I correct?
Grateful for your ideas on the above

Cheers
 

Elwyman

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May 18, 2006
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508
Location
North Wales
Sounds like an amazing place, and reading this below, 200 to 300 metres of backing on a very good quality reel is needed!


You would probably be ok with 20lb backing, but if you can get 200m of 30lb backing on your reel that would be my choice......perhaps you could get a 500m spool and divide it between 2 reels.
 

bonefishblues

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Oct 7, 2013
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3,285
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Near Bicester, Oxon
Buy a 1000m spool, weight, estimate the spool's weight and divide by 5?

In fact I might have the stub end of an Orvis 1000m spool if I go looking
 

glueman

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Mar 21, 2008
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4,118
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on the banks of the A5
Sounds like an amazing place, and reading this below, 200 to 300 metres of backing on a very good quality reel is needed!


You would probably be ok with 20lb backing, but if you can get 200m of 30lb backing on your reel that would be my choice......perhaps you could get a 500m spool and divide it between 2 reels.
It is a massive at of water containing some big trout. Iceland makes Norway look cheep,it is an expensive country a bottle of cheep plonk can set you back £50
 

loxie

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Apr 25, 2016
Messages
750
Don't mess about, 200m is pushing your luck if you hook a really big one. I used 300m of 30lb gelspun and saw the spool 4 times. I probably wouldn't go back but if I did I'd use 400m of 20lb gelspun and I wouldn't consider not using gelspun.
 

original cormorant

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Jul 3, 2016
Messages
1,355
Lots of points there. First, backing capacity is normally stated in terms of Dacron/Micron and typically a reel will accommodate at least 50% more of braid/gelspun. Micron is the brand name for Cortland dacron.

There will be some who say "it's all braid" (as in "it's all mono" in discussions about mono v fluro) , but when I say braid I mean spectra/dyneema polyethylene braid.

Gelspun is a label applied to braids marketed for fly line backing and is sold at a huge premium over dacron and braids not marketed as flyline backing. This link will give you a good understanding but only mentions powerpro as a generic braid.


You can buy braid very cheaply - see Sema braid on the GAC website, so buying 1000 metre spools for economy may not be significant factor. If buying braid you need to get a much higher rating than for dacron. 58lb is a good bet for handling.

The dye on dacron/micron always bleeds - but not for braids.

Vision produce a hybrid dacron/braid sold in 200 metre spools. (I have a couple of spools with it on as I got it free with the spools)

Braid can be joined by loop to loop biminis or hollow braid (not all braid is hollow) can be blind spliced.

I consider the "trick of putting the line on first" to be a really stupid idea, because not only does it take a lot of faffing and time, but it also significantly understates the amount of backing the reel will hold. You cannot wind backing on top of a flyline with sufficient tension to establish a reasonable estimate of the backing the reel will accomodate.

Backing needs to be wound on under tension so that upper layers won't dig into lower layers when flighting fish as this will cause jams and lost fish. It needs to be hard and not at all spongey when squeezed. If you ignore everything else I've written don't ignore this point.
 

PaulD

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Feb 11, 2020
Messages
2,009
Location
South Northants
Hi All

Planning a trip to Thingvellir in the coming years . . .
. . . then "comfort" obviously in Thingvellir you play the fish on the reel, but on the few occasions when I m taken to the backing here in the UK, it happens that I still play fish by hand, I was wondering if 30lb backing might be more "comfortable" than my usual 20lb as it is a bit less thin.

20lb = 30lb . . . it makes very little difference. I still have the scar on my right index finger where a big Rutland brown 'dug in' my 30lb Stren backing after making off, towing a leadcore.
 

pati

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Joined
Nov 20, 2012
Messages
818
Don't mess about, 200m is pushing your luck if you hook a really big one. I used 300m of 30lb gelspun and saw the spool 4 times. I probably wouldn't go back but if I did I'd use 400m of 20lb gelspun and I wouldn't consider not using gelspun.

How do you keep them hooked with 200m plus of backing and line “out”?

The local guides I spoke too told me 100 is the minimum but go with 150-200m in case of the one big cruiser... Quite interesting to have your experience “in the flesh”! Any other reason than capacity for recommending gelspun?
 

bonefishblues

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Oct 7, 2013
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Location
Near Bicester, Oxon
How do you keep them hooked with 200m plus of backing and line “out”?

The local guides I spoke too told me 100 is the minimum but go with 150-200m in case of the one big cruiser... Quite interesting to have your experience “in the flesh”! Any other reason than capacity for recommending gelspun?
To extend that further, what gear is being used to fish for these fish? Rod weight, tippet test, fly size/gauge?
 

pati

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 20, 2012
Messages
818
Lots of points there. First, backing capacity is normally stated in terms of Dacron/Micron and typically a reel will accommodate at least 50% more of braid/gelspun. Micron is the brand name for Cortland dacron.

There will be some who say "it's all braid" (as in "it's all mono" in discussions about mono v fluro) , but when I say braid I mean spectra/dyneema polyethylene braid.

Gelspun is a label applied to braids marketed for fly line backing and is sold at a huge premium over dacron and braids not marketed as flyline backing. This link will give you a good understanding but only mentions powerpro as a generic braid.


You can buy braid very cheaply - see Sema braid on the GAC website, so buying 1000 metre spools for economy may not be significant factor. If buying braid you need to get a much higher rating than for dacron. 58lb is a good bet for handling.

The dye on dacron/micron always bleeds - but not for braids.

Vision produce a hybrid dacron/braid sold in 200 metre spools. (I have a couple of spools with it on as I got it free with the spools)

Braid can be joined by loop to loop biminis or hollow braid (not all braid is hollow) can be blind spliced.

I consider the "trick of putting the line on first" to be a really stupid idea, because not only does it take a lot of faffing and time, but it also significantly understates the amount of backing the reel will hold. You cannot wind backing on top of a flyline with sufficient tension to establish a reasonable estimate of the backing the reel will accomodate.

Backing needs to be wound on under tension so that upper layers won't dig into lower layers when flighting fish as this will cause jams and lost fish. It needs to be hard and not at all spongey when squeezed. If you ignore everything else I've written don't ignore this point.

Thanks agree on many of your points (especially the last one on tension). Will read the link and revert here with questions!

Assuming I need up to 1600m (cf 400m recommendation from Loxie above) of gel spun to split into 4 spools, what would be your most economic recommendation?

Thanks
 

pati

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Joined
Nov 20, 2012
Messages
818
To extend that further, what gear is being used to fish for these fish? Rod weight, tippet test, fly size/gauge?

Based on my research, 6wt is the minimum recommended, I will use a 7wt but some locals seem to use 8wt and sometimes 9wt depending on the wind....
 

BobP

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Oct 28, 2007
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Wiltshire
I've seen the place and it makes Chew, Grafham, Rutland and all the other reservoirs combined look like a village pond. Awesome place and close by is the site of the earliest and longest continuous running Parliament which is right beside the gap between two tectonic plates. Nearby, too, is the Drowning Pool where miscreants were appropriately dealt with. Last time the plates moved was 2011 when it opened up by 1.5metres in a very short time. Bear in mind too, that there are 4 very active volcanoes that are overdue to go pop anytime. You'll get about two hours notice to get the hell out.

I was guiding a couple of chaps on the Test two years ago who had just been there & showed me photos of browns pushing the 20lb mark. With fish like that around I'd be inclined to go for the 30lb stuff, or better still see if the guides can supply local gear.
 

sean freeman

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Dec 4, 2010
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1,182
Location
Manchester
I’m going this year covid permitting and was told by the locals that 200m of backing is plenty, tougher decision is deciding between a #7 or an #8. The best beats are the ION ones which cost about £4000 for three days in peak season, their beats are full of thermal hotspots that draw the fish in.
We’ve gone with Fishpartner in June as that’s when the char start moving in closer to the shore and I’d quite like a go at a few of the bigger char amongst them.

A local guide said the outfitters don’t want people to know that the biggest fish caught on the lake each season come from the national park beats in April/May and then again in September, these beats are way cheaper. He proceeded to show me numerous fish close to 100cm and a fair few over that! He fishes a Sage X 9’ #8 or a Sage Spey rod for longer casts with bigger flies, looked like challenging fishing.
 

loxie

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Joined
Apr 25, 2016
Messages
750
How do you keep them hooked with 200m plus of backing and line “out”?

The local guides I spoke too told me 100 is the minimum but go with 150-200m in case of the one big cruiser... Quite interesting to have your experience “in the flesh”! Any other reason than capacity for recommending gelspun?
There isn't much you can do. You need luck mostly. Of the four that spooled me 3 pulled out and I landed one.

gelspun is very soft, which I like, but mainly its capacity.
 

loxie

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Apr 25, 2016
Messages
750
Based on my research, 6wt is the minimum recommended, I will use a 7wt but some locals seem to use 8wt and sometimes 9wt depending on the wind....
I used mainly a 7wt for lure fishing and a 6wt for nymphs. 12lb nitlon tippet for lures, 8lb for nymphs. I used a 9'tapered nylon leader and a slow inter for lures and a floater for nymphs. Have a look at Frontiers piece on the Ion hotel for ideas.
 

pati

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Joined
Nov 20, 2012
Messages
818
I’m going this year covid permitting and was told by the locals that 200m of backing is plenty, tougher decision is deciding between a #7 or an #8. The best beats are the ION ones which cost about £4000 for three days in peak season, their beats are full of thermal hotspots that draw the fish in.
We’ve gone with Fishpartner in June as that’s when the char start moving in closer to the shore and I’d quite like a go at a few of the bigger char amongst them.

A local guide said the outfitters don’t want people to know that the biggest fish caught on the lake each season come from the national park beats in April/May and then again in September, these beats are way cheaper. He proceeded to show me numerous fish close to 100cm and a fair few over that! He fishes a Sage X 9’ #8 or a Sage Spey rod for longer casts with bigger flies, looked like challenging fishing.

Hi Sean,

I won’t go to the ION beats as I can’t afford it, I will be taking a much bigger gamble on the cheaper beats with a high likelihood of blanking but at least I ll be able to dream about one of the biggie when wetting my line!!!

Let me know how it goes for you!

Recommended hooks for dries: Ken Sawada terrestrial and Ken Sawada midge for super small dries: very light yet tough and won’t open!

For streamers I like Gamakatsu Bs10
 

squimp

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May 18, 2008
Messages
1,065
I would use a saltwater style reel and 250 plus metres of 50lb gel spun. I would use a minimum 7wt, more likely an 8. At Jurassic I used a 9 as it was SO windy.

I measure mine down a field with a 100m tape. Failing that pace it out.

to get it on the reel ~I tie one end to a fence post and the other end to the spool. Then wind it in walking slowly towards the fence post. Do the drag up tight! Make sure it is under serious tension and neatly spread across the spool. I actually invert the reel so I can watch the line lay more easily.

I buy my gelspun on bulk spools. The Chinese (power pro) stuff is okay and very cheap.

I used coarse fishing hooks for my flies when I went to Iceland (not lake T). Strong and cheap.
 

Hardrar

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Joined
Feb 6, 2011
Messages
1,015
Location
North Yorkshire
Hi All

Planning a trip to Thingvellir in the coming years (yes I m starting early ;-), but with the lockdown and a young baby the only real thing I can make about fishing at the moment is dream&plan!!!) so need to ensure I have about 200m of backing behind my lines... Now my reels have a capacity of WF8F+155M of 30lb backing, so I guess WF7F+200m of 30lb backing OR WF7F+250m if not 300m of 20lb backing, and I have 4 reels (or spools) to fill.

I know the trick of putting the line first, then the backing and then reversing the all thing, but it does't work for me as I would end up with far too much backing on each spool... In addition buying backing in a 1000m spool is much more economical...

So my questions now:
  1. how do I make sure that from the 1000m spool I only use about 200m on each spool? Is the only solution to buy a 200m spool?
  2. Do you know where to buy 200m spools of backing? (I have seen 50m, 100m, 300m, 5000m, 1000m and 2000m but NOT 200m).
  3. Would you go for 20 or 30lb? Given I have enough capacity on my spools for up to 200m of each, the choice is to be driven by other factors. I see 2 potential factors: the weight (is there a material difference of weight between 200m of 20lb vs 200m of 30lb - I would guess not, but any informed opinion welcome!), then "comfort" obviously in Thingvellir you play the fish on the reel, but on the few occasions when I m taken to the backing here in the UK, it happens that I still play fish by hand, I was wondering if 30lb backing might be more "comfortable" than my usual 20lb as it is a bit less thin. Another one is the quality of the die: I do not want a crappy quality backing with the dye leaking onto my fly lines (had that in the past). That said I do prefer a fluo/hi-viz backing over white backing (but not a key decision factor - price more important).
  4. Given I only need "regular" backing (not fancy Gel Spun or anything), what are the criteria for choosing it? My guess is that it is all the same thing so price should be the only consideration but am I correct?
Grateful for your ideas on the above

Cheers
I use braid, more strength for any given diameter, won’t cut on sharp rocks and about 3 times the strength of Dacron for any given diameter. It’s also much cheaper and available in a wide range of colours.
80 pound braid is thinner than 30 pound Dacron backing. It spools much neater too (less fluffy)
 

Elwyman

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Joined
May 18, 2006
Messages
508
Location
North Wales
Most fly lines are built on 30lb core, so 50lb backing would be poinless. Base on what the guide said, I'd be inclined toward #8 gear for lure fishing and #7 for dries and nymphs.
 
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