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What backing...dacron or braid ?

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Fishaholic Ivan

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I had a lot of Gudebrod Dacron from I when was doing a lot of offshore trolling and had a couple of Penn Internationals to fill.  I used the 20# for my 5 and 6 wgt reels and the 50# as the backing on my 8 wgt reels.  I also have what's left of a large spool of 30# Orvis Dacron, the fly shop I frequented gave me.

My one concern about braid which I do use for my spinning reels, I have two spools, one with fluorocarbon and one with braid for each of them, and a light fresh water trolling reel is that everything  I've read about braid recommends not putting braid directly on the reel but have some sort of backing so as not to risk damage to the spool from the .  I have fluorocarbon under the braid on my spinning reels spools and the 30# Orvis Dacron on the light trolling reel.  Based on that I would not use braid as backing on my fly reels.

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35 mins ago, surfrat59 said:

Braid can be tough on the fingers if you've got a fish on the reel capable of taking line. What are you targeting that you think you need the extra yards. Personally I'd go up in reel size and stick with my preferred backing...Cortland 30lb Micron.

Steelhead on 6wt rod...Abel 6/7 balanced nicely...just like to have some extra backing...on smaller river like Oak Orchard is ok,but bigger river like in Pulaski I like to put some extra yrds...


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I have used braid on a lot of reels, both level wind and for fly backing.  Now, NONE of my fly reels has braid on it. The problem is.....the strength to diameter ratio....which is the primary selling point of braid, besides the lack of stretch......creates the problem of the very high tension you can put on it, through the drag OR your thumb, causes the very thin diameter stuff to dig in and bury itself in the bed of, relatively speaking, less tensely wound braid.  Suddenly, when you try and stop a run, your line is jammed and you have less than a second (NO STRETCH) to fix it before breakoff.


Bottom line, it takes an immense, obsessive effort to maintain the winding of the less used bed as tight and taut to resist the digging in.


I have lost 5-6 big sturgeon......which I don't care about....to the problem, and I still use braid in that setting.  But I have also lost a big tarpon, when after the 6th jump it took off on a blistering run......and since I have not landed a tarpon over 40#,  I damn well DID care about that one.  I replaced the braid on all my big-game fly reels.


ALL backing is not immune from problems.  And the biggest problem is that too often it is wound on for backing and then not touched for 20 years or so until that special moment when you have an exceptional fish, and that damn deep stuff not touched for years, is NOT PASSIVE and has expanded and contracted innumerable times with wetting/drying cycles and/or heat/cold changes, and it has creeped around all by itself under there....until your fish of a lifetime exposes it.


Dacron is not perfect, but it is WAY less likely to cause problems than braid.  I have also noticed that the bass/level-wind crowd has also acknowledged the problem......and recommends the higher strength braids (as opposed to the very light stuff) since they are larger diameter in relation to the potential stress.


If you are going to care about losing the biggest fish that exposes backing  not diligently maintained......don't use braid.


Edited by Peter Patricelli
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 I have Cortland C16 or power pro hollow ace on all my reels. It's easy to splice, never digs, and it's super smooth (for those still under the delusion that people grab their backing on running fish). I'd never put 8 carrier GSP on one of my fly reels.

"Talent does what it can, genius does what it has to"
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I have been using braid forever.  I have had no problems what so ever.  It is on all our clients rods and personal rods.  All our billfish tackle  has 50 pound power pro.  Our albie tackle has several brands all 50 or 55 pound --Dawia Saltiga is my favorite, Some have Western Filament and Power Pro.  I just purchased a bulk spool of RIO 65 pound braid --as we add new reels.  

Brian Horsley

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