Gel-Spun Backing [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Gel-Spun Backing


JErwin
04-02-2003, 02:03 PM
Hello-
I've got a few reels that I need to put backing on. One will be used for saltwater applications (reds and bones), the others for steelhead. I know gel-spun backing takes up much less space on the reel, but I've also heard that it will carve your hands to pieces. I have always used 20 and 30 lbs. dacron in the past without any trouble, but one of the reels that I would like to use for steelhead is a touch small; I suspect it will only hold about 100-125 yards of 30 lbs. dacron and an 8 wt. SA Steelhead taper. Can anyone comment on the relative pros and cons of gel-spun vs. dacron, other than diameter? Thanks,
JE

flyfisha1
04-02-2003, 03:23 PM
Originally posted by JErwin
...Can anyone comment on the relative pros and cons of gel-spun vs. dacron, other than diameter ...

THE PRICE!!! :eyecrazy:
Low-diameter 30-lb. dacron or other such braided backing retails for around $0.08 per yard; gel-spun, such as from Orvis, in the same weight class is nearly twice as expensive at around $0.15 per yard. Certainly, gel-spun is very strong and very thin, allowing you to load much more backing on the same spool than when using regular dacron. For saltwater, I typically use the low-diameter 30-lb. dacron on my reels, which allows me to get about 20% more backing on the spool than when compared to using 20-lb. dacron; the trade off is a few dollars, but it's worth it to me. I just can't bring myself to spend $45 for 300-yds. of backing! As for abrasion and wearing a groove into the line guides and your hands, gel-spun can do it quite easily when the fish is peeling out and the spool RPMs are high; one way to help avoid getting sliced is to wear sun gloves or (preferably) gloves with fingers. As for the guides, the stronger materials in use today, such as TiCH, are pretty wear-resistant compared to some of the older materials, so the length of time it takes for the guides to show wear should be lengthened substantially.
Something else to remember is that the smaller the diameter of the backing, the easier it is to get the backing trapped under itself unless you're somewhat meticulous about level-winding the line onto the spool, or aren't fishing for anything that fights like a bear and/or makes speed-breaking runs.

JErwin
04-02-2003, 03:36 PM
Thanks. That helps a lot. I hadn't looked at the prices.

Eddie
04-02-2003, 05:26 PM
There is alot of info on gel spun backing if you do a search.
gel-spun can do it quite easily when the fish is peeling out and the spool RPMs are high; I don't know anyone, nor have I heard of anyone EVER hurting themselves with GSP backing while flyfishing.
I have also never met a flyfisherman that is into their backing so much that the guides have been grooved. Maybe with really cheap guides.
GSP backing has its plusses and minuses, but many of the percieved minuses are based on myth.
on the minus column: knot strength, cost, need to wind on tightly.
In many circumstances it is excellent. I use it on many of my reels.

flyfisha1
04-02-2003, 06:16 PM
Originally posted by Eddie
...gel-spun can do it quite easily when the fish is peeling out and the spool RPMs are high; I don't know anyone, nor have I heard of anyone EVER hurting themselves with GSP backing while flyfishing...

In defense of that point, I do know someone that got sliced by the backing (gel-spun) when he hooked into, what I believe was, a modest-sized blackfin about 5 miles off-shore in the Keys. It can happen, just be aware of the possibility and keep your fingers free of the backing when the animal on the business end of the fly decides to head further out to sea.
This is not to say that dacron can't cut you, but I've hooked into and landed quite a few fish that take off on first runs and haven't had the misfortune yet to have it happen to me while using low-diameter dacron.

JDJones
04-02-2003, 06:33 PM
The stuff that flyfishha1 is refering to is, I think, Cortland Micron. It is smaller then regular 30# dacron even though it rated at 30#

Eddie
04-02-2003, 08:47 PM
Chris, I stand corrected. GSP backing is not for everyone.

MarkS
04-04-2003, 09:37 AM
Hey guys,

I've always wondered about the utility of the GSp for inshore applications. I have heard the this is a more brittle material than dacron and therefore perhaps not so useful if you might be around fish that head for docks, rocks, clams, mussels etc where a break-off might be more likely with a more abrasion sensitive material.

Anyone have experience on this?

I like the idea for offshore work, but have not had this concern addressed re-inshore stuff.

Thanks,

mark

Pat Bahan
04-07-2003, 07:27 PM
Gel Spun will saw through the dock so don't worry about it. It's tough. I've been converting my backings to Gel one at a time as needed. It can slice you a bit easier than dacron. (use the drag, don't be the drag) I usually get that message pretty quick. (besides what's fishing without sore hands?)
Obviously what you fish for and what size of outfit is going to impact the amount of time you spend in the backing. I don't get into the backing a lot fishing for bluegill and crappie. Stealhead, salmon, big cuda, and tarpon get you in the backing, and a decent tarpon will bloody well keep you there a LONG time.
Anyway if you think you need the extra yardage, don't be afraid to use the Gel. Hooomm,, Maybe you really need a new reel or two with larger capacity.?.?.:hehe: