Backing: How Much is Enough? - Spey Pages
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-14-2002, 12:05 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
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Originator: Nooksack MacDate: 1/13/2002 8:05 PM
   Another weekend with the rivers in near-flood.  But if we can't do it, we can continue to talk about it.
   One of the oldest, unquestioned precepts of our sport is that a reel for steelhead or salmon should have 150-200 yards of backing line.  Really?  Let's take a look at that.
   George M. Kelson, a great popularizer of British salmon fishing, wrote in 1895 that his 4-1/4-inch "winch" was filled with his usual 42-yard fly line, a leader butt of about 7' and braided silk running line for a total of 150 yards.  That would be about 106 yards of backing.  Result:  "I have never yet experienced a fish running out the whole of this length."
   With the rare exception of king salmon in the Kenai River or a tongue-hooked berserker determined to run back to the Pacific Ocean, I suspect that we could go through our angling careers with 50 yards or so of backing.  This is not just nit-picking.  We spey anglers spend a lot of money for big-capacity reels  - perhaps unnecessarily? 
   I'd like to hear your relevant experiences.  (A)  Have you ever successfully landed a steelhead or salmon after it has taken out 150 yards or more of your backing?  (B)  Has a salmon or steelhead ever taken out all of your backing (150 yards or more) and broken off against your tight line?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-14-2002, 01:44 AM Thread Starter
 
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Originator: F&FDate: 1/13/2002 9:44 PM
I have seen a guy get spooled on the Thompson once.He had a single hand rod with a 9wt line and 150 yards of backing.The scarry thing was the fish didn't seem to be in fast water.Not sure how good your chances are with that kind of line out but I'd rather have too much than not enough.At least you have a chance to chase the fish.Most anglers I've talked to seem to think that 200 yards is about right and considered the minimum on big waters like the Thompson.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-14-2002, 01:47 AM Thread Starter
 
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Originator: F&FDate: 1/13/2002 9:47 PM
Forgot to mention,he lost all of his line and backing too.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-14-2002, 07:02 AM Thread Starter
 
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Originator: J.R. SPEYDate: 1/14/2002 3:02 AM
Answer to A is yes. B is no, but only because we had a canoe to chase the fish.

The Restigouche has Atlantic salmon that are just not like other salmon and steelhead I've caught. If you are wading and hook a fish, you have probably less than one minute to get into your canoe so that the fish can be chased. I fish it with a very large reel with my speyrod and for single-handed fishing I use a small spey reel with a single-handed line. I have over 250yds of 30# on each!

I won't even tell you how much line these fish take because I wouldn't be believed, but it is unlike anywhere else I've been. I lost 150yds+ in about 45 seconds on a 12 lb fish, and a lot more than that after I got into the canoe. The scary thing is that 30lb+ fish are not that uncommon up there. And it's not all current, because the current isn't abnormally strong. It's genetics.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-15-2002, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
 
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Originator: texasspeyDate: 1/15/2002 5:19 PM
in answer to your last ?s. all the time!!!! have over 200 ydson my reels.2 yrs ago had a 35 chinook fresh from salt take 150 4 xs. last summer had 30 # steelhead take all backing 2xs. had one about 20 #s take to where i showwed a lot of aluminum and i had to break him after 4-6 jumps and one blisteringrun. a little more backing and i could have let go to next quiet water and gotten a boat ride to the other side.summer before last big chinook was at end of backing when i hopped in a boat. landed ittwwo more pools below me ( maybe 1000yd s).  if a guy is fishing big rivers like the thompson or skeena etc a hot fish can easily burn a lot of line with no ability to follow quickly enough. i once hooked a 14 # Chum right above tidewater pool.  wihin 6 seconds he did 6 full summersaults ran off close to 300 yds of line.  i did not even have time to do nothing let alone move. had a voodoo buck steelhead on skagit go down and across with no way to follow. by the time Dec got the boat i had prcious little amont of line left. i have fish frquently take more than 50 yds.  
beau
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-16-2002, 06:19 AM Thread Starter
 
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Originator: loco_altoDate: 1/16/2002 2:19 AM
Last season a "B" run on the Deschutes decided to leave the scene, and left me gawking at an increasingly grey area located towards the center of my CFO VI.  The spindle.  Not wanting to lose my line I clamped down and lost only the fish and fly, but spent quite a bit of time reeling in ca. 200 yards of backing plus a DT9F.  That's the only time in freshwater, but mention the words "false albacore"...
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-16-2002, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
 
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Originator: Fred EvansDate: 1/16/2002 5:42 AM
Guys, those are the "exceptional fish" that you don't want to land, memories are more than enough.. Repeating myself, I think, but do you really remember a fish you put on the BBQ? Well, probably some, but the memory 'stickers' are the ones that got a way or were turned back. Thank God, they need to be in the Gene Pool.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-08-2002, 10:31 PM Thread Starter
 
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Originator: flyfisher231Date: 2/8/2002 6:31 PM
I have to agree.  If a fish gets that much line on me, he will most likely wrap around something and come off any way.  I will usuall drop my rod tip down, take off the pressure and hope he comes back.  Then you just pray he doesn't come off from the slack. 
Most of the time I start running the minute the fish gets any line at all. 
Of course if I ever get a wind fall I will get a bigger better real.
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