Backing Line on your Baitcasting Reels

I recently fished a weekend tournament with some guys that I duck hunt with, but have not fished with at all.  It is always neat to see how other people from other states rig their gear.  This is when I noticed that none of them used any backing line on their baitcasting reels.

Ok, if you don’t know what I refer to as “backing” line, it is the line at the base of the spool for about ¼” of the spool with line that you will never fish with.
My backing line is usually older mono or some left over end piece from a spool of line that is not long enough to spool up a reel.  I typically tie a “J” knot on my backing to my fishing line on the top.  I try and fill my reels fairly close to the edge of the spool, as you will lose line quickly from tying on baits.

Why is backing line important or necessary?  It is fairly simple IMO.  The line at the base of the spool will be wound very tight and in very small windings.

This line would lay on the water like a slinky and be very hard to manage.  The bottom 1/4 of the line on my reels, is simply there to take up space to make sure I fill up the business end of my reel.

Using backing line will keep your gear ratio where it should be.  Ok, the more line on the spool, the more line that is took up per turn of the handle.  So, if you are fishing with a spool that is only half full with no backing and are fishing with the line all the way at the base of your spool, you are taking up much less line per turn of the handle.  Does that make sense?

Now, let’s about castability.  Yes, I know that is not a real word….but you will see what I am talking about.  If you are trying to cast a lure that weighs 3/8 oz, it will be much easier to cast it with a ¾ full spool than with a ½ full spool.  It is simple physics.

Your reel will cast further with less effort with a full to ¾ full spool.  The line will have less twists and less memory than the bottom half of the line on your spool.
If you are a deep cranker, line capacity is an absolute necessity for you.  Keeping your spool full or at least ¾ full will ensure you can cast out your favorite mega billed deep diving crankbait as far as possible to keep it in the strike zone.

YES, there will be times it will be inconvenient to have to respool due to the fact you are hitting your backing line.  But, in the long run it will save you a lot of line and make your casts easier and further keeping the spool full.

If you are spooling your lines from top to bottom and not using any backing line, give this a try when you get near the bottom of the spool, and I bet you will start backing the rest.

G’Luck and Tight Lines Texas Nation

Story by Shane Smith

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