Q and A

Q. Do you prefer gelspun or dacron for backing?

A: I prefer dacron. I realize that more gelspun can fit on a reel, but the stuff can slice fingers way too easily. This is especially risky for tarpon - a quick surge while I have a finger on the backing while winding it onto the reel, and I have a potentially deep slice in my finger. I don't have nearly as much of a problem with dacron. Plus, I don't think that the extra amount of backing on the reel is really needed. I often hear bonefish anglers talk about the need for 200 yards of backing, or how a bonefish ran for more than 100 yards. These statements are just not valid. I've never had a bonefish run 100 yards - do you realize how far that is? Go to a football field one day and put a beverage can at one end (to represent a bonefish) and walk to the other end. You'll have a tough time seeing the can. I once had a false albacore make an amazing run before slowing to a stop. When I began to reel in line, a small loop formed in the backing. I kept reeling, eventually landing the fish. That evening after I got home, I pulled the fly line and backing off the reel to get to the loop. I stretched the line across a field near the house, and measured the distance once I had reached the loop in the backing. It was 75 yards, and was much farther than any bonefish had run. In other words, the extra yards of gelspun backing isn't necessary, and the cuts it can cause are bad news.