Gel spun vs. Dacron backing [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Gel spun vs. Dacron backing

05-21-2005, 06:10 PM
I have a backing questions for everyone. I have a Teton Tioga Magnum 8 that I currently use for freshwater bass and carp, but would like to plan a bonefish trip in the near future. The reel is about maxed out with 100yds of 30# SA dacron
backing and 8wt line. How much extra capacity would I get if I switched to gel spun? Also, do I need 30# for bones or would 20# be OK?


05-21-2005, 07:53 PM
You would get "a lot" more backing with GSP. Sorry, I can't quantify what that actually means. However, I have over 300 yds of 50# GSP on my Abel 3Ns.

Here's the kicker, I wouldn't spool any of my reels with GSP again with one exception. The exception would be fishing for blue water species and it would be only to minimize line drag through the water to keep the tippet from breaking.

I find GSP to be extremely un friendly. You have to really be careful with wet fingers and taught backing. It's really sharp and will cut the snot out of you if you are not careful. Also, the best knot I have found to go from backing to fly line is the double bimini which can be a bit tricky to learn.

My recommendation is to do some research and find out which 20# backing has the smallest diameter and then try and get 200 yds on your reel. Twenty pound is heavy enough for any bonefish that swims and you will be much happier in my opinion with the dacron.


Salmon Chaser
05-21-2005, 10:57 PM
If we can land large Atlantic Salmon, Steelhead,etc on 6lb test leader,,, WHY do you need 30lb, or even 25lb backing on a reel?? If a fish takes off with 10' leader, 90'-120' of fly line, do you think that the tension will be enough to break the backing??? No!
200 yds of 18lb backing and a full line is more than enough. IMO
Salmon Chaser

A second thought,,, would gel spun when wound back tightly to the reel have the ability to crack the arbor as would mono??

05-21-2005, 11:12 PM
i have to agree with s.c. the reason for this you do not need that much force to stop a fish not even a big bone fish. this is why i always pre set my drag at 20% of the breaking strength of the smallest tippet. i.e. 2 pounds of drag for a 10 pound tippet that stiped from the reel with a spring scale not tested throught the guides.the guides add drag presher over the 9 foot etc.. lengths wich cause more resistance. if you check you other post i wrote the same thing.

good luck and tight lines and a bunch of time on the water stonefly1013........

05-22-2005, 06:19 AM
I am a big fan of GSP backing, but I normally use 'regular' GSP fishing line, such as Spectron or Powerpro over the more expensive, and IMHO inferior GSP sold as fly line backing. Some if these lines, such as Fireline or Stren, are made for maximum strength, and will cut like a bandsaw. They don't have a use on fly reels. Spectron and Jerry Brown are thicker (for a given strength) and designed to minimize burying and abrasiveness. If one's worried about getting cut by GSP, Spectron would be a good choice. Airflo makes (or used to make) a flat GSP backing line, which looked like a tiny tape. This stuff wanted to lie flat so it would not cut or bury, but it generated lots of drag in the water (you guessed it) since it wanted to move flat through the water.
While pelagic fishing, one should have a stripping glove handy for linefeeding GSP back on the spool. For bonefishing, c'mon.

I think backing should have a higher breaking strength than the fly line, just so the leader snaps first. Again, not so much of an issue with bonefishing but a good rule of thumb to follow. Besides, 20# GSP will cut and bury that much worse. Also, abrasion resistance of GSP under tension is very poor. This was demonstrated to me by stretching some 80# GSP at 20# tension, and then dropping a razor blade on it. Just a box cutter razor blade, by itself, dropping from less than 1', will easily cut 80# GSP.

Finally, my dacron seems to rot, i.e. becomes very easy to break after a couple of years on the spool, and I'had continual issues with mold growing on it.

I used to think 150 yds was enough backing for bonefishing, but this last trip had me sprinting across a shin-deep flat with 'bout six wraps of backing on the reel. It's 200 yds for me from now on.

05-22-2005, 08:28 PM
there are many threads discussing this on this web site. Do a search.
I am not a big fan of trying to make a small reel "big" with gel spun. You usually wind up with a very small arbor, and for bones, I like a rapid retrieve.
I am not a big fan of 20# gsp, because it tends to bury into it's self if you are not careful. Fifty is stronger than your fly line, and what I prefer.
As for the "dangers"....I am not convinced. You would have to do something unbelievably stupid to hurt your self with gsp. I have been using it for close to ten years, and I can't even think of a scienerio that would lead to an injury. But you never know when Darwin will show up.
Do a search.

05-23-2005, 07:43 PM
I can't prove this (yet), but I've heard Cortland has some of the smallest diameter 20lb dacron backing around. Might be worth checking into...