How Much Fly Line Backing Do I Need?

Most anglers don’t know how much fly line backing they should use. Some put more than enough backing on their reels, while others barely utilize this essential gear. Consequently, they fail in landing fish and later wonder how much fly line backing do I need?

In essence, it depends on various factors, including the fishing situation, reel’s size, etc. For example, if you tend to fish with a 3 to 5-weight reel, you need to put approximately 25 to 50 pounds of backing.

On the contrary, if you want to catch large fish, you may need to use up to 300+ yards of backing. Below, we have shared everything about fly line backing to help you understand how much fly line backing you would need based on various criteria. So, let’s read.

Related post:

Do I Really Need Fly Line Backing?

Except for some exceptional cases, you won’t necessarily need fly line backing during fly fishing. If we talk about the purpose of backing, we need to say that its primary goal is to help you fight fish when they pull tons of lines from the reel.

Specifically, fly line backing provides additional lines when your main fishing line runs out. It works similarly to insurance, and it saves you from line-cutting while fighting with fish.

So, considering this fact, you should put a fly line backing on the reel if you wanna catch bigger fish. Otherwise, you don’t need any added fishing gear.

How Much Fly Line Backing Do I Need?

It entirely depends on the size of the fish you want to catch. Usually, most fly lines tend to be 90 to 110 feet long. Therefore, 60 feet of fly line will still be on your reel if you cast 30 feet of fly line.

If you are out on the water to catch small fish like brook trout, panfish, etc., 50 feet of fly line will be sufficient.

On the contrary, if you intend to fish for a big fish like the freshwater carp, salmon, and more, you should have an additional fly line backing of about 110 feet long.

However, 110 feet of fly line backing can’t save your day because a big fish can easily pull such a long line with the help of the water current.

Again, sometimes, you can encounter troubles, especially while fishing from boats. Your hooked fish can take your line close to trees, rocks, or other objects and pull out a whopping amount of line from your reel.

So, how much fly line backing will be ideal to go with? The simple answer to the question is that your fly reel should have as much fly line backing as possible.

And while putting, you need to remember that your backing shouldn’t touch the reel frame. Try to keep at least ¼ inch clearance between the fly line backing and fishing reel frame.

Otherwise, your line can get damaged when coming in contact with the frame during reeling in.

Anyway, below, we have shared an estimated fly line backing’s length depending on the fish type. Let’s check it out.

The Ideal Backing Length Based On The Fish Type:

You should put 25 to 50 yards of fly line backing on your reel for small trout and panfish. And for average trout, 50 to 100 yards of backing will be perfect.

Speaking of the big trout and steelhead, you should utilize 150 yards of backing to catch such fish. And for salmon, you need to use 250 yards of dacron backing. You can find this kind of backing on this website.

Last but not least, for tarpon and other ocean fish, you should look for fly line backing with a length of at least 300+ yards. So, these are all about the fly line backing’s length depending on various fish.

When Should I Use Different Fly Line Backing Types?

Dacron is an ideal option for targeting fish that won’t run more than 300 feet of line. This fly line backing tends to be cost-effective and is effortless to put on the reel, and more importantly, it doesn’t take up so much space on the reel.

However, if you want to use dacron backing, we recommend this one as it can outperform its competitors with its service.

Now, let’s talk about the backing you need to put on the reel if the fish you are after can pull out more than 300 feet of line. And that is the gel-spun poly backing.

This backing type will cost you more than a dacron, but it is worth the price. Anyway, you can easily get the best quality gel-spun poly on Amazon.

How Much Fly Line Backing Do I Need For Freshwater Fishing?

Usually, most anglers try to put around 100 to 125 yards of backing on their trout reels before heading out for freshwater fishing.

Like the salmon, trout, and musky, freshwater fish don’t pull out more than 100 yards of backing. So, if you install a fly line backing with such a length, you will be safe.

Now, let’s talk about what other benefits you will get from using a backing.

Well, a fly backing line will increase the arbor size, which will speed up your retrieval process and keep the line memory issue to a minimum.

How To Put Backing On Your Fly Reel & Tie It:

After selecting your preferred backing, you need to put it onto the reel and wind it on evenly and with the required tension. You will help prevent the backing from slipping inside the spool by doing so.

Below we have demonstrated the entire process, and we recommend you go along with the procedure. So, let’s get started.

To begin, tie the backing twice: once to the reel and once to the end of the fly line. FYI, when you connect the backing to the reel, it automatically ties to the arbor, which is, in essence, the reel’s center area.

After tying the backing to the reel, you need to use an arbor knot, which most fly fishers utilize to secure the backing. Here’s how you should tie such a knot.

First, wrap the backing around the arbor. Afterward, grab the line’s end and make a loop around the line’s long part. Insert the tag end into the loop, then tie the knot. This type of knot is known as the slipknot.

However, you need to create a knot at the end, and loop this knot around itself and tighten it. After that, pull the line’s long end away from the arbor until two knots come closer and get jammed. That’s how you tie the backing using the arbor knot.

To tie your backing to the reel, you can also choose different tying techniques, including nail, blood, loop to loop, double uni, Albright, and more.

But if you find putting the backing on the reel and tying it a hassle, you can have your backing and fly line loaded with the help of professional anglers or your local fly shop. So, that’s all for how you should put backing onto the reel and tie it.

Frequently Asked Questions:

01. Does The Color Of My Backing Matter?

No, backing color doesn’t matter when it comes to fly fishing, and what really matters is how much line you have on the reel before you head out on the water. You have nothing to worry about while fishing if you have adequate backing.

02. Can I Use A Substitute For Fly Line Backing?

If you are left with no option, you can use other lines such as monofilament, braided, and more as substitutes for fly line backing. They will work perfectly well, but you shouldn’t always use them.

03. How Much Backing Do I Need For A 3 Weight Fly Reel?

A 3-weight fly reel is one of the most miniature fly reels that can accommodate 25 to 50 yards of backing to assist you in catching panfish and other small trout.

04. How Much Backing Do I Need For A 10 Weight Fly Reel?

Anglers tend to put 20 to 30 pounds of backing on their 9 or 10-weight fly reels. So, you can also follow them to avoid mistakes and stay on safe margins.

05. Which End Of Fly Line Goes To Backing?

FYI, all fly lines have two ends: front and back. The front is also known as the head, and many anglers call the back end the running line. And this running line goes to the backing, not the head.

Final Words

No anglers want to lose their hooked fish due to having an insufficient amount of fishing lines. So, as for backup, they put on fly line backing on their reels. But the problem is that not every angler knows the correct amount of backing line they should use for fishing.

Fortunately, you won’t fall into their group because now you know almost everything about fly line backing through this content. We hope you will utilize this information in your next fishing adventure. That’s all for this content; stay connected with us on Pinterest, Facebook & Twitter for more updates about fishing.