Backing question for bones [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Backing question for bones

05-21-2005, 06:18 PM
I got a backing question for everyone.

I'd like to plan a bonefish trip next year to Florida Keys and currently have a Teton Tioga Mag 8 reel on my carp and bass rig. It is about maxed out with 100yds of 30# SA dacron backing. How much backing do I realy need for Florida bones, assuming a might catch one! I posted another thread on the gear forum asking advice on how much capacity I might gain switching to gel spun. Also, can I get away with 20#, that would probably give me another 50 yds or so.

Thanks for the advice.

05-21-2005, 09:07 PM
Backing consideration is effected by three things: size of fish, tippet strength, and ability to chase them. If you are going DIY I would definitely increase backing cap as much as you can. You won't be able to give chase easily while wading. Even if you are being guided I'd still probably try to upgrade. Those fish aren't small and will easily pull off a hundred yards. I don't know about you, but I for one would hate to lose my first bone (or any thereafter) that way.

If you switch to gel spun you should probably be able to add at least another 3rd of the length you have now. Alternately you could switch to 20# which is plenty strong enough for bones and should also significantly increase the capacity.

A few notes, if you switch to gel spun find a way to tie the end to the spool housing itself instead of simply around the arbor. Gel spun is very slick and with a big fish on and heavy drag I've heard about the whole thing slipping around the arbor. If you tie it to the reel itself - say through one of the portings - this can't happen. I heard about this from a flyshop friend who saw it happen at Ascension Bay while someone was fighting a permit. Every time they tried to turn the handle the backing would slip on the arbor. Very frustrating.

Also, research what knots to use in that stuff. Again, since it's so slippery standard knots can slip out. I tie Bimini Twists in the end of mine and then use a Double Surgeons to double that loop again. Then I have four strands to connect to the loop in my fly line. If you do this, by the way, use that trick where you twist the loop to make and X where they overlap. Simply run the backing loop through the fly line loop and pass it over the reel as usual. Then pass it over the first. When this is seated properly there is no chance of the slick gel-spun slipping and forming a girth hitch, which is a cutting knot.

Finally, make sure you pack it on as tight as you can when you're spooling up. If you take it to a shop they'll know about this and do it right for you. Again the slickness causes a problem by allowing the line to "cut" into the rest of the spooled line when the pressure is on. The line jams and, "ping" ,no more fish.

As for tippet stregth, I wouldn't go lighter than 12#, and would probably stick with 14# if the fish are running big.

Good luck down in the Keys and let us know how you do.

Tight lines,

05-21-2005, 09:54 PM
gsp is not cheap at any fly shop i think it is 30 bucks for 300 yards or more. i go with a brand called tuff line xp in hivis yellow they sell 300 yard of 20,30,50,60, pound for around 20 bucks at cabelas. and i spool it my self no problems. the answer to the 20 pound question is yes. funny thing is you can fish for marlin with 20 pound and 12 pound leaders. only reason they use 30 is the breaking strength of the leader is 20 pound and 16 pound. this gives a safty factor for not loseing the line. this is why a lot of people will use 20 pound for bones because you are useing a 6-12 pound tippet depending how you feel and what fly you are using. usaly i set the drag at 20% the breaking strength of the smallest tippet at the reel just pulling line of with a spring scale.

good luck to you and screaming drags stonefly1013.........

05-22-2005, 09:17 AM
For me standard rig is 20lb backing with 12lb tippet.
I normally use Tibor Everglades reels and you can get approx. 200yds of backing onthe reel. If you were fishing anwhere else then I would say that 100 yards of backing is OK but in the Keys you can get into fish upto 15lbs.
It would be a total disaster to be spooled by a fish of a lifetime.

Having said that I have caught a few bones over 12lb and have always been OK with backing and it has never looked as though I would be spooled.

Good luck


nevada caster
05-23-2005, 12:03 AM
there ae some problems in using gel spun. Thes have been thoroughly hashd out on Dan Blanton's web site <direct link to dan's site removed>.
It is slick, and many knots wont hold, it will spin on the arbor, and it is brittle: you
must retie your knots from time to time, and you should oversize it. That is use 30# when you actually want will still be able to put a lot more on

05-23-2005, 08:13 AM
I'd be very wary of having only 100 yards of backing for bones. They can easily rip off that much line in one run. Minimum I'd have is 150 yards. Hopefully with gel spun you can get at least that much on the reel.