Fly fishing is one of the most rewarding types of fishing for those anglers who really like to feel their catch and have complete control over the way that they land it. There’s something special about how a fly setup connects you to your catch in a different way, and that is part of why it has been so popular for so long! Most fly fishing setups are pretty simple, but a lot of newer anglers don’t consider just how important it is to get a good fly line backing to ensure that you aren’t going to lose any big catches that try to run out your line. Today, we’ll be sharing the top five favorites we found among the best fly line backing options. Then, read our guide on choosing the best option so that you can figure out which line backing makes the most sense for you.
Best Fly Line Backing Reviews
1. Piscifun Braided Fly Line Backing
The first backing that we are going to introduce today is the Piscifun Braided Fly Line Backing. Piscifun is a fairly well-known brand in the fishing industry, and this backing is popular as well.
This is a very efficient braided line that balances thinness with strength. The line has a very little stretch, and it is abrasion-resistant. What’s more, this backing does not create a lot of friction, so it should not damage your guides either. The option is available in 20-pound and 30-pound strengths, as well as 100-yard or 300-yard lengths, so you can choose the right fit for any occasion.
What To Like
The thinness, balanced with the stability of this line, is really notable. It’s very easy to make different kinds of knots because it is thin yet tight enough to even accomplish a blind splice loop. The line can hold multiple knots very well.
What Not To Like
Some anglers found that this line frays a bit when cut, but it depends on how it is cut. Most didn’t find this fraying to make it impossible to use, but it can be frustrating for some.
- Holds knots well
- Multiple color, strength, and length options
- Abrasion-resistant finish
- Good customer service
- Frays at times
- Slightly loose braid
2. Rio Fly Fishing Backing Dacron, 20Lb
Next up, we’ll be looking at a Dacron line that offers a lot of strength, but is it right for you? Let’s find out more about the Rio Fly Fishing Backing Dacron, 20Lb.
This Dacron line from RIO has very similar features to the Piscifun line outlined above. This 20-pound backing line offers 100 extra yards of backing to help you run out any overzealous fish. This is a braided Dacron line, and it is thin enough to do more complex knots without any issue. It is a smooth line with low abrasion ratings.
What To Like
The best thing about this backing is its quality. Because it is created by a well-known brand, it proves itself worthy time and time again. It can stand up to a lot of different situations, and the line itself is very strong thanks to the proper braid texture.
What Not To Like
For some, the fact that this is a braided line won’t be very appealing. Braided lines are good for splicing, but some anglers find that they break easier at times.
- Great quality
- Reliable brand name and warranty
- Good contrast color options
- Easy-to-use diameter
3. SF Braided Fly Fishing Backing
The SF Braided Fly Fishing Backing is another strong, sturdy Dacron-based backing that is worth your consideration. Let’s take a closer look at what it can offer.
This is a Dacron-based line that is resistant to UV, rot, and abrasion because of its construction. It is an eight-strand hollow line that does not fray easily. This line backing curls easily, which means that it is easy to knot without causing damage to any fly guides. It is available in two weights and five different colors.
What To Like
This line does not fray or split easily. Even when you get into your backing and get caught in some snags during your fights, you will see that the line can stand up to the experience quite well thanks to its high durability construction.
What Not To Like
At this time, SF isn’t offering the 30-pound weight line in a 300-yard option. This means that those who need a lot of backing and those who want to buy in bulk will have to stick to the 100-yard package for the time being.
- Good value
- Colors don’t fade
- Easy to tie
- Thin and pliable
- Value purchase
- Can tangle when unspooled
4. Color Scissor Fishing Line
Let’s find out how another great value option, the Color Scissor Fishing Line, compares to the SF Braided Fly Fishing Backing that we just finished reviewing.
This is a value backing that can save you a lot of money while still providing quality assurance. It’s a great choice for those who don’t use backing often, but like the guarantee it provides. This option is a high-density nylon monofilament line available in just one strength that is not clearly related by the manufacturer, so its best used for small targets.
What To Like
The best thing about this backing line is the value price point. The line does a great job of filling the reel and working as a backup without you needing to spend much at all. It offers the stability of backing without the price point of a name brand.
What Not To Like
This line is a very hit-or-miss option because of the value quality. As it is unrated for strength and only available in one length, it is hard to customize your experience to ensure that you get the right type of backing for your next trip.
- Easy to tie
- Not braided
- Value line
- No specific weight ratings
- Limited customer support
5. Maxcatch Braided Fly Line Backing for Fly Fishing
Finally, let’s review one more Dacron-based backing line. The Maxcatch Braided Fly Line Backing for Fly Fishing is a high-visibility, low-stretch option that just might impress you.
This is a Dacron-based line made by MaximumCatch. The backing is available in two different weights and lengths, so you have the option to choose exactly what you need to get a good setup in order. The material is quite thin, so a lot fits on the reel. The thinness also makes it easy to knot. This line does not cause a lot of friction, and it is abrasion-resistant.
What To Like
The best thing about this backing is that it is truly an affordable alternative to the more well-known brand name backing lines. If you are a mid-level angler who is looking for a mid-level price solution to replacing your backing, this is a great option. It provides a lot of the same quality as other brands at a slightly lower price point.
What Not To Like
The packaging is hit-or-miss on this item. You may receive your line with some tangles and need to do an exchange, but this is unlikely and easily remedied as long as you have the time to do so.
- Great quality
- Affordable price
- Comparable to more expensive backing options
- Nice color choices
- Easy to tie onto a reel
- Tangles somewhat easily
Choosing the best fly line backing doesn’t need to be a difficult affair. Like fly lines, there are many good options. The only thing that matters when you are deciding which one to tie up is what your goals are for that particular day or setup. To be able to match the line backing to your goals, there are a few areas that you need to keep in mind while selecting your favorite. These are the features that matter the most when making your choice!
The first thing that you will want to decide is what strength of line backing is appropriate for your needs. The strength is determined by the weight, diameter, and the material used on the backing line. You can decide what strength you need by thinking about how much pressure could be put on the backing. Just like a fly line, you want to be sure that it will not snap. Most of the time, a 20-pound line is going to be enough. These are ideal for lightweight saltwater fishing as well as nearly all freshwater fishing. If you’re going to be doing heavyweight sea fishing, get a 30-pound line. You can, of course, mix and match backing lines. If you don’t typically need a lot of backing whenever you are fishing for a particular type of fish, such as trout, you might be able to use a 30-pound backing so that your reel is filled up more quickly than it would be with a 20-pound backing line.
While some people think that the brand name doesn’t matter, we feel a little bit differently. Brand names represent experience. Brands that you have heard of before and have been around for many years still exist because they are doing something right! If there is a particular brand of fly line that you like, choose the same brand for your backing. At the very least, try out different backing options from brands that you have enjoyed using before. While you might like other brands, too, choosing from companies that you are familiar with is a great place to start your search for the best backing for your particular needs. In most cases, high-quality brands will also offer money-back guarantees or warranties on their products. If you want to have this type of assurance when you make a purchase, be sure to find out if the brand has any such offerings before you buy.
Like fly lines, backing lines are made from different materials, and each material has its own pros and cons. While some are more popular than others, the only one who can to decide which material is best for you is you! Dacron is probably the most well-known type of backing. It has very high strength levels and doesn’t stretch easily. Plus, the material is abrasion-resistant, so it’s less likely to wear away on your reel. The most popular applications for Dacron include small water fishing and trout fishing. Micron is a similar material, but it has a unique coating that helps it knot a little bit different than Dacron does, but Micron is made from the same types of fibers as Dacron. Another type of backing is PE backing. PE stands for polyethylene. This is a type of plastic that is very small in diameter, and it is very resistant to abrasion as well as UV rays. Saltwater anglers tend to use PE backing because of the high resistance levels and the small diameter—they can fit a lot more backing on the reel this way! Gel Spun and Sepctrar are two different versions of PE backing. Gel Spun is a braided variety that is even small in diameter. All PE backing options are less stretchy than Dacron.
The next thing that you will need to consider is the length that you need to fill up your reel. The length that you need will depend on where you are fishing and how far you expect a fish to be able to swim away to try to get loose. In deep-sea or saltwater fishing, the fish have a lot more area they could cover, so you will likely need to find a backing line with a small diameter and long length. For freshwater fishing, you will just need enough to fill up your reel and account for some distance. You can always cut a backing to be shorter, but you cannot make it longer with putting in knots that could get tangled, so you will want to be sure that you buy a line backing that comes in amounts longer than what you need to use if possible.
Further reading: The Best Copolymer Fishing Line? – Gear Lobo
Finally, it is important to consider the color of your line backing. Being able to see the color of the backing when the line changes over from fly line to backing is a good way to keep tabs on how far things have moved, and the color will also help you be able to pick out the line from the environment when it is cast out.
Fly Line Backing FAQs
1. What is fly line backing?
Have you ever heard an angler say “it’s into my backing” when reeling in a fish? If so, you’ve probably wondered what backing is. Fly line backing, more commonly referred to as backing, is a type of line that is used as a buffer between your standard fly line and the reel. Most fly line is around 100-foot long, but sometimes a big fish will run farther than that. If you don’t have enough extra line on your reel as a buffer, you might not be able to reel it in. This is where backing comes in. Backing attaches your fly line to the reel’s arbor. Usually, the fly line is attached in lengths of 100 or 200 yards. When you catch a big fish that runs a lot, this backing ensures that you have a better chance of landing the fish.
2. Is fly line backing required?
When it really comes down to it, fly line backing is not required, but using it makes enough of a difference in the fishing experience that it is highly recommended that you do so while fly fishing. Sure, you won’t need it if you are going after small trout or panfish on a standard 100-foot line, but the backing could help you if you accidentally hook something bigger. Some fish will pull a surprising amount of line while they swim away, so it’s good to be on the safe side with some backing.
2. Why should I use fly line backing?
There are more reasons to use fly line backing than there are to not use fly line backing. First, fly line backing helps to give you extra line length to use when pulling in a strong fish that takes off. This is particularly helpful in deep waters of fast-flowing streams because the fish can travel far if they want to try to escape! Another reason to use fly backing is to make it easier to reel in quickly. If you were to wrap your fly line directly around your reel, you’re going to have to reel it in many times to pull in just a little bit of line because of the small diameter. When the inner parts of the reel are filled with backing, each wind of your reel will bring in more of the fly line. The main reason we think backing is important for everyone is because of this: backing fills up your fly reel. In turn, that makes a huge difference when you’re trying to land a fish efficiently!
3. How much fly line backing do I need?
The amount of backing needed on your specific fly setup is going to depend on what you are fishing for and what type of reel you have. Generally speaking, however, you can choose your backing based on the fish you plan to target:
- Small trout, panfish: 40 to 50 yards
- Normal trout: 75 to 100 yards
- Salmon: 250 yards
- Big trout: Minimum 150 yards
- Large carp, bonefish: 250 yards
- Tarpon and bigger: Minimum 300 yards
4. How do I attach the backing to the fly line and reel?
The backing needs to be connected to two other parts of your setup. First, it needs to be attached to the fly line with some type of fly line knot. To attach the backing to the reel, you need to do an arbor knot to keep the line in place. As you know, there are always many different ways that things can be done when fly fishing! While the basic setup remains the same (reel to backing to line to leader to tippet), the types of knots used are going to differ from angler to angler. This video presents a great example of how to get the backing onto the spool:
Once the backing is on the spool, you’ll want to attach the backing line to the fly line. This video gives a great example of how to do that with an Albright knot:
As mentioned, there are a lot of different techniques that can be used when attaching these pieces. Checking out more video content is a great way to learn different ways to tie these pieces together and find your favorite method.
Today, we’ve introduced five different options for some of the top fly line backing options. Whether you regularly get into the backing on your line or not, having a high-quality backing set up with your reel is a good way to ensure that you will be able to take on any unexpected large catches that you make. Among these options, we find that the Rio Fly Fishing Backing Dacron is the best one. While it isn’t the most affordable, the quality and brand-backing that come with it at this price point are worth it. The line will last for a long time because of the high durability rates, and you are likely to be satisfied with it! If you are looking for a budget option to try using line backing for the first time, the SF Braided Fly Fishing Backing is a decent choice that doesn’t cost as much as the Rio. Using a backing line like this to learn more about what you need from good backing is a great way to start your learning progression in the fly setup world! Regardless of which setup you decide is right for you, remember that the most important things to consider are how strong and how long you need your backing to be. Even if you don’t expect to be in the backing very often, being prepared for an unexpected fish fight is always worth it. No one wants to lose a dream catch because they run out of line!