How to Determine the Amount of Fly Line Backing

How to Determine the Amount of Fly Line Backing
With age comes experience, so the saying goes. What this really means is that with age comes the knowledge of all the cool little tricks that you can use to help make your fishing easier. One of these little bits of "experience" involves fly line backing. How much backing do you need for your reel? You can guess and estimate or you can find out for sure. There's a little trick you can use to determine the amount of fly line backing you need to spool on your fly reel.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Masking tape
  • Permanent marker
Step 1
Attach the end of your fly line to the spool of the fly reel with a small piece of masking tape. Do not tie the line to the spool as you will be removing it later on.
Step 2
Wind all of the fly line onto the fly reel. Apply a small amount of tension to the line as it is wound onto the spool. Make sure the line is even and flat across the face of the spool.
Step 3
Make a small mark on the end of the fly line, using a permanent marker. The mark will designate that this is the front of the fly line. This is important as many fly lines are weight-forward or have a taper toward the front.
Step 4
Hold the end of the fly line in place with your finger. Lay the fly line backing next to the end of the fly line and place a small piece of masking tape over both line ends to hold them in place. Do not tie the lines together as they will be removed later on.
Step 5
Wind the fly line backing onto the fly reel. Make sure the backing is even and flat across the face of the reel. When the backing is just below the edge of the reel, you will have the correct amount of backing.

Tips & Warnings

Remove the backing and wind it onto an old spool or extra reel to avoid tangles and knots.
Remove the fly line and wind it back onto the original spool to avoid tangles and knots.
Attach the backing to your fly reel spool with an Arbor knot. Connect the fly line backing to the fly line with an Albright knot.

Article Written By Keith Dooley

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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