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I have noticed that when talking about backing on two-handed outfits, many, if not most, posts refer to 30 lb. test backing. Is 30 lb. the norm? If it is, is it the norm because many of you fish for Wset Coast salmon which require heavy tippets, which you would rather have break before your backing? On a 7-weight two-handed outfit to be used for Atlantic Salmon and possibly GL steelhead using 10 lb. tippets is there a good reason not to use 20 lb. Micron?
 

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Coast2coast Flyfishaholic
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My preference, and most likely others too, is thickness rather than strength. In fact for most applications 20 is plenty but it's very thin in the fingers. You can get gelspun at 50# that is very thin, but it's too thin.

Steelhead, salmon and coastal SW species take the line out deep into the backing so you spend a good percentage dealing with it and not just the fly line. I like something thick to follow my flyline out thru the guides.

Another variable is spool capacity. If the spool could hold the backing, I think I would prefer to have 40 or 50 pound braided dacron just cause it's nice and beefy. I don't care about the breaking strength as long as it's over 20#.

I feel comfortable with 200 yds of backing, so for most reels and flylines 30# provides the right combination of strength, thickness, and capacity for steelhead, salmon, striped bass, etc.
 

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Losing the Line

Another reason for the heavier backing is a better chance of getting the line back if a fish wraps the line around a rock or a limb with backing out.
 
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