There are many, many huge advantages to having good fly line backing on your fly fishing reel. Fly line backing is usually constructed with dacron backing or braided polyester, and it should be the very first layer of line you put on your fly fishing reel. Fly line backing can be purchase in 20 to 300 yard spools. For your general fly fishing for trout and small freshwater species 20 meters of fly line backing with a breaking strength of 20lb is ample. When you are spooling up for saltwater species especially pelagics you should aim for 250 to 300 meters of fly line backing depending on the size of your reel. While dacron backing with a breakiing strength of 20lb is fine for smaller species like trout I would suggest a quality thin backing of about 30lb breaking strength for saltwater fly fishing. The finer your fly line backing the more you will fit on your reel. Now lets talk Fly Lines. Fly Lines taper is one of those mysterious subjects that something few understand despite being quite simple. So, lets' begin with a very simple question...what the heck is a fly line taper and how does it effect your fly fishing? A fly line tapers is a small adjustment made by the manufacturer to the fly line itself. This generally involves making parts of the line thicker in spots, heavier in spots, thinner in other spots, lighter in other spots. These adjustments to the line are done to give the angler better control of the line which, in theory, means improved casting. Ultimately, whenever someone mentions taper - think adjustments to fly line." Because an adjustment to the fly line is all a taper is. So, why is line taper important? The taper of fly line plays an important role in how accurate an angler casts. This is rather important, obviously, in determining whether you catch any fish.The Types of Line Taper Well, now that you know what a fly line taper is, the next step is to understand the different types of line tapers available. There is quite a few of them, and more seem to be invented everyday, or at least every year. Yet, the general angler who is fly fishing for trout, panfish and bass need only concern themselves with the following four types of line tapers. WF - The Weight-Forward Taper This is the "standard" taper for trout fishing. A Weight Forward Taper (abbreviation of WF on fly line boxes) is a fly line that has additional weight and thickness added to it in the first 10 yards of fly line. The remainder of the line is then of uniform thickness and weight. The purpose of the weight-forward taper is to provide additional "heft" to the fly line. This additional "heft" allows the angler to make casting easier, especially when fly fishing on windy days. Since additional weight is on the front of the fly line, longer casts can also be made too. Finally, the extra weight on the end of the line helps larger flies turn over properly, thus landing on the water with proper presentation. DT - The Double Taper The Double Taper (abbreviation DT) is a fine line taper for trout fishing, unless you need to make long casts or it's windy. On a DT fly line the first fifteen feet of the line gradually widen in diameter. The next 60 feet of the fly line remains a constant weight and width. The final 15 feet of the line then gradually loses width and weight at exactly the same rate as was gained on the front of the line. One benefit of this type of taper is that it can be reversed as both ends of the fly line are equal. So, why would a angler want to use double-taper fly line? Simple, the lighter front-end weight of the fly line allows for a "lighter touch" when casting and presenting the fly when fly fishing. However, the trade off is that it is more difficult to cast in windy conditions and shorter casts are more difficult to control. In short, both the DT and WF tapers are perfect for trout fishing. Choose the taper, at the end of the day, that works well for the type of fishing you will do. The Shooting-Taper (ST) fly line is essentially a Weight-Forward fly line on steroids. The first 20 feet of the fly line is heavily weighted - far more so than a WF fly line. The remaining fly line is then of uniform width and weight, but is especially narrow. The purpose of a ST fly line is simple - tournament casting - where anglers try to cast the fly as far as possible. Few anglers ever use this type of line while fly fishing since the hassles of the line outweigh its long casting benefits. Unless you are an expert angler, there is no reason to use, or even own, a ST fly line. That is, unless you plan on tournament casting or just want to see how it works. Understanding Fly line density is a very simple term to grasp, actually. All fly line density means is whether the line float, sinks, or just partially sinks. Simple. A floating fly line is by far the most popular and versatile fly line used when fly fishing. A floating fly line, as the name suggests, floats completely. It does not sink unless the line is weighed down. If an angler can own only one fly line, make triply sure that it is a floating one. Through the addition of weights an angler can always make a floating line a "sink-tip" line. By contrast, a sinking line sinks - completely. How fast it sinks (known as it sink rate) is variable - depending on the sink rate of the line. Some lines sink very fast, others very slow. The point, though, is the the entire fly line will sink - and will sink at a uniform rate. As a sidenote, the "sink rate" of a fly line will be noted somewhere on the fly box, measured in "fps" - feet per second. Sinking fly lines are great for big water fly fishing, particularly lakes and saltwater. They have limited utility in an average river and are rarely used. Since sinking lines have limited utility for trout fly fishing, but because floating fly lines don't always do the job of pulling down nymphs into the depths of the river quick enough, a hybrid was designed - the "Sink-Tip" fly line. On a sink-tip fly line, only the first 10 to 30 feet of the fly line sinks. The remainder of the line floats. The purpose of this line is to allow for fly fishing of nymphs and streamers in the depths of rivers where the current is moderately fast. The heavy line, especially if used with some additional weights, can bring a nymph down to depth quickly and keep it there. For trout fishing, the angler will want to first get a floating line. Later, money and desire found, a sink-tip line can also be purchased for those "special situations" where the line really is needed.
1. Gel spun has a much smaller diameter and increases the capacity of a given reel to hold backing; you can put more than double the amount of backing on the reel and at the same time double the strength of the backing.
2. There are lots of issues surrounding tying knots in gel spun. In general, a given knot will weaken gel spun to a much greater extent than it will weaken mono or braided dacron. Gel spun tends to twist while tying and because of its low stretch, knots like the bimini twist are difficult to tie perfectly.
3. Abrasion resistance: gel spun is very thin, very slick, very strong material, so abrasion is rarely an issue, although it stands to reason that the higher modulus would make it more susceptible to weakening if it were nicked.
5. Backing-to-flyline connections are still being perfected, and thinner, stronger gel spun is more likely to cut through a fly line (and a finger) than braided dacron backing. See the recommendations below for appropriate connection methods.
6. Because of its smaller diameter, gel spun creates less water drag — something that is especially important in big game fly fishing.
Attach the backing to the fly line using a coaxial splice (basically using braided mono as a sleeve and a CA glue as a bond). Retie your connection knots in the gel spun every so often to avoid knot fatigue issues. Because of knot strength issues, if you are replacing 20# dacron backing, use at least 50# gel spun. If you are replacing #30 dacron backing, use 65# gel spun or higher.
In summary, with due diligence used in attaching it to a fly line, there are some advantages of using gel spun. The foremost, in my opinion, is getting an effectively larger arbor on the retrieve (and giving a normal-arbored reel some of the advertised advantages of a large arbor reel) after a fish has run off a large amount of backing. This same characteristic means that you can use a smaller (and less expensive, and lighter) reel to the same advantage as its larger cousin, assuming the drag system is adequate.
The nail knot is a very significant fishing knot that is widely used to connect the fly line to the leader. The nail knot is good for joining two lines of different diameters allowing you to attach backing to the fly line and the fly line to the leader, or the tippet. The nail knot derives its name from the use of a nail that originally acted as a guide for making the nail knot. However, replacing the nail or a needle with a thin hollow tube or straw, as described below makes the tying easier.
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